Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Car

The Car:
The Hot Rod Lincoln From Hell... literally.

We've talked before about "Drive In Classics", mostly those movies aimed at the more rural folk of the united states, and much like Vanishing Point, this film fits into what we call "carsploitation", meaning a film aimed to showcase either one distinct car, or a large group of them, movies like Vanishing Point, Smokey and The Bandit, and to a lesser extent Bullitt, aim to showcase just one single car, where as others like the original Gone In 60 Seconds, or the Cannonball Run films, or even to an extent the modern Fast And The Furious series of films, showcase a large variety of cars all customized and modified beyond one's wildest desire, because that really is the whole point of carspoilation in the first place, to give those car lovers some drive in theater ready eye candy that'll make them all wanna go make their own car just like it. And though there are many films, and even television shows from the time period that fit the term Carsploitation, no movie or television series of the grindhouse era best personifies this subgenre better then this film, attempting to making Jaws out of a 1977 Lincoln Mark III Custom, simply known then, now and forever as "The Car". A long, sleek, black on black with dark tinted windows large scale land shark with a grill that looked like it was ready to open wide and bite you in half, long before Christine, long before Maximum Overdrive, long before Killdozer! or The Hearse, there was The Car, and though to amny this film is seen as insanely bad, or dismissed as "Jaws with a car", I happen to find this gem to be among my favorites when talking Grindhouse, simply because, come on, take a look at that road beast, how can you not wanna see it run ruckshot across an entire Utah town while pissing off James Brolin? Its to good of an idea to let pass you by.

The film starts off in a fictional town in Utah called Santa Ynez, as these random bikers are just minding their own business, apparently The Car feels the need to kill them, as he forces them off the bridge they pass him on, into the creek below. We're left to assume its because The Car just doesn't like hippies and saw a chance to decrease the surplus population, because there is no other reason given for this action, though to be fair, movies of this nature don't really need reasons for the violence, we just wanna see bad stuff go down. As the bodies are found, this brings the local police into the fray, Sheriff Everett and his loyal second in command, Captain Wade Parent are on the case! By on the case i mean they have no idea why or how these bikers got to the bottom of the creek, as they look at every possible way of how it could have happened, The Car strikes again! This time mowing down an uppity Hitchhiker who travels with a french horn, this actually is a funny scene as The Car actually toys with him abit before mowing him down like the uppity prick that he is, and is ended to much hilarity with The Car also running over the hitchhiker's french horn which he never seemed to shut up about, which when added to the fact the next scene is a marching band walking down the street, one can't help but say "hey you know what that band needs? A French Horn..", regardless of that, The car enters town and begins running down the citizens, first attacking a marching band and terrorizing people at a carnival. It eventually chases a group of people into a graveyard, (among them Lauren, Wade's girlfriend), but curiously enough, the machine will not pass onto the consecrated ground and Lauren taunts it. The car then destroys a wall supporting a cross and leaves. The police officers chase the automobile down highways throughout the desert, but it destroys several squad cars before injuring Wade and then mysteriously disappears. The hunt for the car becomes a personal vendetta for Wade when the automobile stalks and then eliminates Lauren by driving straight through her house. Wade concocts a plan to stop the horsepower-laden menace, but after discovering it waiting for him in his own garage, he is forced to carry out his plans post haste. He lures the car into a mountainous canyon area where his fellow officers have set a trap for the machine. There, a final confrontation settles the score, and a demonic shape appears in the driver's seat in the smoke and fire of the explosion.

Now sure, this is by no means a cinematic masterwork, and to most it'll just be laughable, but you see, as I've said time and time again with Grindhouse films, alot of the time, the fact they're so bad they're funny is the whole reason to love them. The Car is a great example of that fact, there are so many things that are just out and out confusing or slopppy film making about it, like how there is no explanation given how The Car drives through Lauren's kitchen window which is a good 5 FEET OFF THE GROUND and there is clearly no ramp leading up to it, or how when she finally turns around to see The Car coming at her home, why she doesn't either simply duck down, or step just afew inches to the side, instead of screaming in frozen fear as the car's bumper and undercarriage plow over her as the car FLIES clean through her house. And ofcourse one is left wondering why all of these people feel this almost unending desire to out and out taunt The Car, why anyone would wish to piss off a pissed off Lincoln death machine, I have no idea, it doesn't really sound like a smart idea at all honestly. And ofcourse there are many production and editing and directing errors too, mostly during the scene outside of town where The Car decimates the local law enforcement and leaves only James Brolin standing, the most obvious is when The Car takes out two charging squad cars by going into a t-bone barrel roll which leaves the two cars a fireball of pain and death, in the entire scene, the seemingly invincible Lincoln of Doom not only loses its front and rear bumpers before it actually hits the two cars, but you can clearly see its windows and roof crumple as it impacts the two cop cars at once, and yet, as The Car drives out of the fireball on its wheels, its seemingly untouched and in perfect condition again. There are many little oddities like these in the film, but again, they are what makes it so great and fun to watch, its the kind of film you wanna get a group of friends together, get some Kentucky Fried Chicken and just laugh and poke fun at, after all bad movies are great too.

To add to the awesomely retro feeling, here is the trailer to this classic...



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baby Love

Baby Love:
Jailbait Sexploitation, British Style.

As most of you know, I have abit of an admiration for grindhouse goddess Linda Hayden, one of the most daring and brave women to ever step into the realm that would later be blanket termed as "Grindhouse", for she started earlier then anyone else, and the world didn't seem to make a big deal, I would assume because they just looked on in awe at her and all that she was. My love affair with Linda's work started in a film thats well known but never really admitted too being known in most circles, a daring sexploitation film by the name of "Baby Love". A film that marked the beginning of Linda's career, and the start to the end of the career of Diana Dors, the British answer to Jayne Mansfield. The film is always sighted, among those who admit to seeing the film, as one of the more hushed and forgotten gems of the almost 25 years of brilliant and brave film making in the UK, which lasted from the early 1960s, to the mid 1980s when Hammer Pictures started to fall out of style. Though for all those who love Baby Love for all that it is, there are still that many who hate and revile the film based on its plot and themes. Obviously not everyone is going to be alright with a 15 year old girl playing a 15 year old girl who uses her sexuality as Linda does in this film, there will naturally be those who see this and its themes as underage pornographic material, and wish it be banned forever from everything, and though I can see their points on the matter, I also know this film is just too brilliant to be left to dust and fall into the void of forgotten and never to be seen again films, far to many a good film from the same time period suffered that fate. I'll be damned if this one does too.

Baby Love is the story of a young girl named Luci Thompson, Luci is an emotionally and mentally unsettled young girl, she lives in northern england and is the daughter of a well known local prostitute and cancer victim, Liz Thompson, Liz is played by the great Diana Dors and is infact the last role she would ever play of any real note, she appears in the first two minutes of the film, as she kills herself in their home's bathtub, leaving a note for Luci that she just couldn't take all of what was wrong with her life anymore and decided to end it all. Luci comes home from school where she's teased, taunted and tourmented for the fact her mother is a well known and well traveled local prostitute, only to find her mother dead in the bathtub with the note next to her. Just more trauma for Luci, the poor girl just can't catch a break it seems. Luci ends up moving in with the only man her mother ever really loved Robert Quayle, who has gone on to make a well to do life for himself as a doctor, with a family of his own who share in his upscale and lavish life that he leads. A life that the inception of Luci causes to become in a state of flux and confusion, after all, chaotic life breeds chaotic life as they say.

As I'm sure many of you can guess, things don't go exactly smoothly, Luci seems to lose her mind given all the trauma she's been through as of late, and as she slowly drifts between trying to regain her sanity and what seems like the same traps her mother fell into, her mother even appearing in a hallucination at one point to Luci, it sends everyone around her spiraling into a state of chaos, one second she is seducing Robert, or attempting a lesbian relationship with his wife Amy, who seems rather willing, or seducing and then teasingly torchuring his son Nick by making him watch as a creepy old man starts to grope her in a movie theater, or she's completely doing the opposite and rejecting the advances of every one of them, its almost as if Luci is having an inner struggle with what she knows to be right and wrong, and is somehow developing a persona that acts alot like her mother had before her death. In a sense, an angel and a succubus fighting it out inside Luci's head, with each side winning control at various times. The movie though blatant sexploitation is truly the story of Luci's fight between sanity and madness created by all the trauma she's suffered, and in true to the time and style of film, it leaves you with an open to your own personal belief and idea of what just happened ending, leaving you to decide which side actually wins in the end.

Some might say that Baby Love is really just a forgettable borderline sexploitation film that blurs the line just slightly between art house and underage pornography, and as I said before, I do see the points they make on the matter, but no. Its blunt in your face mind manipulating cinema with just enough of a late 1960s acid trip to leave you feeling high out of your mind when the film is done. Thats common of the films of its age and nationality though, most of the late 1960s britfilms seeked to insight not only the wonder that only the cinema can bring, but to make you open your eyes to things you would normally dismiss as not your problem or or worth your attention, to make you discuss things and think what would happen if you were in that situation, as well as make you feel like you are coming down from the apex of some powerful European hippie drug cocktail, and Baby Love does that brilliantly. I guess on the idea of viewing comes down to personal beliefs, if you have no issue with a 15 year old girl, playing a 15 year old girl who jumps between scared and terrified timid girl, and insane bisexual seductress as her mind slowly twists till it reaches its breaking point, then by all means, if you haven't seen the film, please do, you will enjoy it, but if you're easily offended or put off by overt sexuality and blatant in your face harsh reality of mental instability, then this isn't for you.

Its just not the right kind of film for some, and thats honestly fine, alot of films in the golden age of grindhouse were that way, and thats part of the art and joy of the whole blanket genre really, so many varied stories being told in their own special way. I should also note, finding imagery of this film, even finding references to fill in my small gaps of memory on it, was insanely hard to do, so i'm sorry for just having afew of the lobby card promotional stills from the film as images, but its all I could find.



Monday, February 22, 2010

Vanishing Point

Vanishing Point:
A drive in theater classic if ever there was one

Back in the years before the 1990s, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth freely and hadn't yet been wiped out by their natural enemy the boy band, there were these places that people would go to see a movie, they were like a movie theater, but outdoors, normally in a field out in the woods somewhere, normally near a small town where they were a long distance from a movie theater. These places were called Drive In Theaters, and though they have had a somewhat revival in recent years, it just isn't the same, see, back in the old days, drive in theaters didn't really show what you'd consider A-list movies, they were in a sense, The Grindhouse for the rural folk of the united states, they would show movies that though seen as grindhouse today, fell into categories like "hixploitation" and "carploitation", and various other forms of exploitation that was aimed directly at those of the non--city ilk. In a sense, doing for the country folk, what The Grindhouse and blaxploitation were doing in the inner cities, a cheap double or sometimes triple feature of movies aimed at them, starring actors and actresses and musicians they liked, except instead of it being Richard Roundtree or Pam Grier, or Issac Hayes up on screen, it was the likes of Burt Reynolds, Dom Delouise, and Dolly Parton and the like, because it was what the salt of the earth people wanted at the time, complete douchebags, their fat sidekicks, and big hair large breasted women who show off the goods and everyone acts like she's not, even though you can clearly see everyone in the scene looking. Country folk were simple back then.

Among the many movies that came out of The Drive In Theater section of Grindhouse films, was, what I consider to be, one of the greatest movies of all time, I speak of 1971's Vanishing Point, a film thats main star is a beautiful fully customized white 1970 Dodge Challenger, which many would simply call "The Vanishing Point", and would lead to more custom restorations and emulation then Steve McQueen's Bullitt, and would be listed as just as iconic in the annuls of movie car history. Its a beautiful machine that just leaves you in awe of how beautiful it really is, even if you aren't a car person, you have to just stop in stare at it.

Vanishing Point is more then just the story of a beautiful classic car though, in truth the car is just a secondary player in the story, Vanishing Point is really the story of how even when some people are at the bottom, the very bottom with no signs or chances of things becoming better for them, when its all that they know, they still fight for what they believe in, and never give up on their own personal cause. Vanishing Point is the story of a man known simply as Kowalski, a hard luck case thats been around the world in back and looks battered and beaten enough to make you believe that he's really done it all and seen it all. As the film progresses, you discover his past, Kowalski fought in Veitnam, then he was a cop that was framed for a drug bust by his partner after stopping him from raping an underage girl, he then was a stock car driver, and later a motorcycle racer, and now, he lives in Denver Colorado, working for a car delivery service, no one really knows if he lost everything and simply ended up here, doing this job, or is just an adrenaline junkie at heart, its never really explained. All we do know is, for whatever reason, this job is all that Kowalski has in the world, and that he is the best in the world at what he does... bub.

The film starts two minutes before the ending, on the pacific coast highway outside of San Francisco, where Kowalski is barricaded by the California highway patrol and the national guard who are blocking the road with bulldozers and cars and watching him from above with helicopters, there are also news copters flying around, and you wonder how it got to this point as you see the stopped Challenger sitting in the road as Kowalski decides his fate. He then drops the hammer and the car roars to life as it speeds forward, you free frame as the Challenger passes a black late model Chrysler Imperial, thats on the other side of the road, as the movie on freezes, the Challenger has vanished, and you follow the Imperial back into the past, as you discover how this all began, its Sunday morning 10:02am.

Its now two days before, Friday, its 11:30pm and Kowalski has just returned from San Francisco with a black Chrysler Imperial, just like the one that passes him on the highway. He checks in with his boss who orders him to get some rest, stating he's been driving to long and needs too rest for his health. Kowalski for some reason argues with him claiming he can do another run to San Fran that night before he needs rest, his boss yells some more, and eventually gives in, giving him the task of delivering the film's iconic car, the white 1970 Dodge Challenger, stating it needs to be in San Fran by monday morning. Kowalski then heads to a biker bar, where he meets up with a friend who also sells him drugs, stating he needs some Benzedrine pills (in a sense, the illegal drug known as Speed), claiming he has to have the car in California by 3pm the next day (Sunday sense the clock has passed midnight) as a lie to get the pills, his friend claims its impossible, and they make a bet for the cost of the pills on if he can do it or not. After being given the pills Kowalski leaves Denver at high speed to make it to his destination.

Later on Saturday morning, two motorcycle cops appear in Kowalski's rearview mirror, flashing their lights and wanting him to pull over for speeding, knowing he can't do that given his high state of mind and his drugs that are on him, Kowalski decides to run for it, he forces one cop into a ditch, and after making sure he's unhurt, Kowalski shakes the other cop by jumping a ditch in the Challenger, and from there the chase that will span three states and over 24 hours begins, all because he didn't want to pull over for a speeding ticket, its kind of ironic in the end really. The two motorcycle officers radio for backup just outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and soon after there is a fleet of local and state police from Colorado, Nevada, and California, all chasing the man in the white Dodge Challenger, who seems to be just afew steps ahead of them the whole way.

Along the journey, you flashback through Kowalski's life, all he's done, all the places he's been, all of his loss, and you start to understand this job, and how he does it, is all that keeps him alive, for he has nothing else left in the world. Its implied that the scene with his girlfriend's death is not long before the film's start, and that living as he does, is wht reminds him he's alive, and that he can feel pain and other feelings as well. Outside of Goldfield Nevada, Kowalski picks up the radio broadcast of station KOW, who's main DJ, a blind black man called "Super Soul" spends his time listening to his police scanner while playing music for the masses, and though they never meet, there seems to be an almost symbiotic bond between the two men. Super Soul makes Kowalski a folk hero, with many people cheering him on, many making it down the radio station Super Soul works at and rallying in the parking lot, this leads to a police officer and a band of thugs to force their way in and beat Super Soul on the air while shouting racist remarks at him, though this doesn't stop him in his carrying on in instilling the listeners with admiration and love for the man in the white dodge challenger, if anything it solidifies it and what he's preaching by means of Kowalski's story. As this happens, Kowalski meets a young hippie biker and his nude girlfriend, who surprisingly recognizes Kowalski, its strongly implied that she is infact the young girl that he stopped his old police partner from raping, and he became a personal hero to her given that act.

In the full cut of the film, there is a scene where Kowalski picks up a beautiful hitchhiker, who offers him some weed, and unlike all the other times in the film when he refuses anything but speed, Kowalski smokes the weed with her, He stops the car when he starts feeling stoned. She says she has been, "waiting for him, everywhere and since forever." When he awakens the next morning, she is gone, without a trace. According to interviews with Barry Newman and commentary from the director, the hitchhiker was a representation of death finally catching up with Kowalski. After this scene, comes the final act of the film, and what many see is the most debated ending in movie history, the scene taht takes us back to that sunday morning at 10:02am, outside of San Fran as Kowalski barrels into a roadblock, and ultimately, his death in a fireball explosion, where you are left wondering why exactly he did it, why he did it all really, and as when you arrived in the life of this seemingly otherworldly man, at his end, you are left believing that you are no more informed on his world and his life then when you started out. And yet, with all of that, you feel alright, like you've seen something amazing, but you aren't able to process what that was just yet. But all you do know, is that you've watched an incredible film that just leaves you wanting more. And honestly, no one can ever want more then that when it comes to a film. Atleast I wouldn't think so.

and as an added bonus, here is the original trailer... gotta love that grindhouse style...



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Love the hell outa this...

The Ballad Of Harry Wardan by John McDermitt (from My Bloody Valentine; 1981)

Just love this theme.... dunno way... just do... I love it like i love Dare from Transformers: The Movie... and thats alot right thar....



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Forgotten Goddesses Of The Grindhouse: Tina Aumont

Obscure and somewhat forgotten given her brief 10 years or so in the spotlight, I have always found myself fascinated with Tina Aumont, the half french beauty that so many overlook as just another pretty face doing Italian exploitation films in the Grindhouse Era, but there is just something about her, I don't really know what it is, but she just captivates me, I can never pin down what exactly, She's kind of got this 1960s version of Zooey Drechenel thing going on, which could account for alot of it. Sadly though, Tina died in 2006, which makes these images both beautiful and kind of tragic....

So here we are, one of the forgotten Goddesses of The Grindhouse, the late Tina Aumont






















And thats about all there is thats not non-all ages friendly... so this is where we're going to stop... i hope you enjoy...


The Reality Shock 2/09/10

The Reality Shock:
Of Endings, Of Rebirth, and a united hate of Uwe Boll

Welcome once again my loyal readers, I bid you good tidings and I hope that you're all having an excellent 2010, and I hope that nothing but good comes your way in the coming year, for that is really what this time of year is about, wishing each other well and doing as best we can to make our lives and the lives of those around us better, it is the human condition after all, and we are powerless to stop it with in ourselves. With that said, there is a small bit of business we must attend to here in the opening. For those of you who read The Reality Shock in print, this will be your last edition, for you see, I have decided to end what has been an almost seven year game of who can bully who more, and I am resigning my post and dissolving my horde of loyal minions to allow them the same choice, to stay till we close or doors in march, and be split up then, or to leave of their own free will, they are all intelligent people with bright futures in this business ahead of them, and whatever each of them chooses, I want them to know, it has been an honor to work with them, and I look forward to becoming each and every one of them's number one fan where ever it is they are when the dust settles. As for why I am doing this, which I am sure many of you are wondering is simple, boardroom politics. I will not name names, or give detailed accounts of what has gone on over the years, but I will say this, I have had to fight for all I've brought to bare in this business, all of my innovations, all of my concepts and ethical behaviors, all of it, all of it has been hard fought against a boardroom of out of date, out of mind, out of touch with the common person old men who care nothing more then lining their pockets and being hypocritical, so much so, they would rather see our publication die and be dismantled then evolve with the times and put us on the path to the future. My ideas and plans to save us has fallen on ears that are not deaf, but choose not to hear, and have gotten me the honor of becoming the only senior staff member here who is not to be reassigned somewhere else once our doors close. Once again I am the odd man out, and I guess thats how its going to always be. So to you who read me in print, it has been an honor to touch your lives and your minds, and to open your eyes to new concepts, new ideas, and the truth of life in the entertainment business for these many years, and I thank you for your time and support. As for those of you who read me online, fret not, for I have decided to keep the online edition for I reach so many more people that way, so do not worry one bit, for your version shall be safe, and maybe, just maybe it'll be a lot less all ages friendly, and I won't have to pull my punches out of fear of a lawsuit. Its a new dawn here in the valley, and a new sun is just starting to peak over the horizon, and I gotta tell you, from here, its beautiful.

Now with that said, lets get down to business shall we? There is a fairly good amount of stuff to get into this with out any farther delay... a'room'a'zoom'zoom and awaaaaaaaaay we go!

Ok first off its time for the most emailed question of the week, I have gotten more emails on this matter then I have for most famous people's deaths combined over the years or even more then the combined hate mail from over the years of doing this, which is amazing because I get a lot of hate mail. I am speaking ofcourse of, what i'm calling “The Late Night Wars 2: Electric Boogaloo”. For those of you aren't aware of this story, be it out of the USA or just living under a rock, there is, 17 years after the first one, a war for the chair of the iconic Tonight Show, former host Jay Leno has decided to steal back the chair and the show from 7 months in replacement, and by far better comedian, Conan O'Brien, for reason that we can only state to be Jay Leno's ego. History is repeating itself, and once again, NBC has chosen the wrong person to back in all of this, for you see, all of this happened before, yes it did, 17 years ago, and back then, NBC made the same horrible choice, which means they haven't learned a thing in all of these years, and honestly that is just sad.

For those of you who weren't aware, or didn't care, or weren't alive 17 years ago, let me give you a short history lesson, in 1992 the great Johnny Carson decided after 30 years of ruling late night television, it was time for him to retire, there was, lets say some, unpleasantness, between fill in Tonight Show host Jay Leno and the man who most saw as the rightful heir to the chair of Carson, the man that hosted the show that followed his, I mean ofcourse at the time Late Night host David Letterman, the man who Johnny Carson had originally picked to take his job, feeling he was the future of the genre that is late night comedy, and told the board of directors at NBC this, fill in Tonight Show host and failed comedian and actor Jay Leno heard this and took a fit, and decided through sneaky backroom deals and politics, he would make a play for the seat at the desk of the most successful late night show in history, and even though Carson explained to Leno that Dave was the future and that the torch needed to be pasted to the very best, he still continued, smashing Dave in the press and on tv. Jay eventually got his way through shady dealings and backstabbing, and Letterman left to go to CBS where his Late Show would mostly dominate in the ratings for the next 17 years, and NBC plucked former head writer for the simpsons Conan O'Brien as Letterman's replacement. But that was 17 years ago, and please, keep that in mind.

Now, its 2010, and almost 10 months ago, Jay Leno retired from The Tonight Show, leaving the chair to Late Night host Conan O'Brien, the man who many believe, just like Letterman, is infact the future of late night comedy. But, now this is where history starts to repeat itself, somewhere along the way, Leno decided he didn't want to retire, and after begging and crying and whining to the network, but they said they couldn't do anything about it, the contracts had all been signed and what was done was done. Leno, being the jerk that he is, decides to instead politic and whine and cry his way into the regular NBC line up, somehow making the board of directors think it was a good idea to give him 10pm every single night to do exact what he was doing on The Tonight Show, but earlier, and with more suck and fail added. Some idiot at the board agrees with him and thus, we have to sit through the horrible comedy that is The Jay Leno Show, which is infact basically The Tonight Show, but on earlier, and with out the funny. The Jay Leno Show becomes a controversial and costly mistake for NBC, in its 4 months on the air, it manages to sink very low in the ratings compared to normal NBC 10pm fodder, as well as many lawsuits of jokes being stolen, many by nationally and world famous comedians, and in early January, amid all of this, NBC finally decides its time to put the show out of its misery, and cancels it. Now, if this was the end of the story, that'd be fitting, Jay Leno is a jackass who isn't funny, who does nothing but hold people down, has a diva like attitude, it would be most fitting if he was canceled and finally put down like the tired old hack that he is. But no, thats not how life works at NBC, someone, I'm assuming the person that greenlit his show in the first place, thought it would be a good idea to push his show to 11:30pm and air The Tonight Show at Midnight for an hour, once again, pushing back someone else, so Jay can stay in the spotlight. Newly appointed Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien becomes furious at this, stating that there is no reason for this switch and that it does nothing but ruin his rightly deserved timeslot, and the two fight over this for most of January, both publicly and in their monologs and on their shows in general, with most of the public, as well as every other late night talkshow host firmly backing Conan O'Brien in this fight, with former Leno victim David Letterman saying “Boy when this is over and Conan's left NBC, I wanna have him on the show, him and I have a lot to talk about...” and Jimmy Kimmel coming out and doing his show one night as Jay Leno complete with fake chin, white wig, and very bad unfunny jokes, Jimmy would later, when on Jay's show two days after this, insult Leno to his face on the matter repeatedly, to which Jay seemed visibly upset during his show's live broadcast. So that is were we are, Jay Leno retired, then decided he didn't want to retire, and through backstabbing and politics, once again, just like 17 years before, screwed over a younger, funnier, more creative comedian just so he can have the spotlight. Jay Leno is an ass and really should be put down like the old broken legged horse he is, and Conan, the rightful host of The Tonight Show, deserves his time to shine. Sure NBC claims its over all ratings, but honestly, how could Conan and people get their ratings as high as they should be when Leno was doing the same show but with out the funny 90 minutes earlier? It just doesn't make sense. And in the end, NBC has once again made a giant mistake, and will once again lose another fresh talent to another network, all because of the ego of Jay Leno. Honestly, I hate that, I hate it a lot, and so should all of you. So very unfair.

Wanna know the best part of it all? Conan is doing what every other person that the failed heads of NBC has always wanted to do, he's racking up a huge bill on their expense, simply to stick it to them that extra bit that only he can, see, he's in a unique place, he is in the seat of power in all this, once he officially leaves, there is going to be a maelstrom of offers, and he will take one, and he will go on to greater fame and fortune, while NBC wallows in its down filth and mistakes, kind of like they always do. All I know is, if I could buy a brand new fully loaded Bugatti off my soon to be former employer, I'd be all up in that the way my friend Ben is up in anything that involves Mark Harmon. Best part though? Seriously can't wait for Conan to do David Letterman and watch the two of them rip on NBC and Jay and finally bring the stuff only us on the inside know of the two late night wars. The truth is coming out soon... very soon, and I don't think it will bode well for NBC or Jay Leno. Get ready for the oncoming storm.

In more idiotic news from NBC, it seems das wunderkin incharage over there have watched, enjoyed, but not greenlit the series that would bring former Doctor Who star, and personal favorite of mine, David Tennant to the states. The pilot is yet another law show, but this is best described as Monk meets House meets CSI minus the 1980s power pop soundtrack or David Crusoe sucking at acting.... yeeeeaah! Now I don't understand exactly what the problem is, NBC is hurting REAL bad, like so bad its barely even a network these days, and here they are handed a pilot starring a man who is arguably right now the hottest free agent in all of television, who is adored the world over, guys wanna be him, women want to be seen on his arm, he is humble as the day is long, and will lend a hand to any cause he sees fitting, this man is a superstar in every sense of the word, and if nothing else, NBC needs someone who can be the face of their network right now, plus the show itself is rather entertaining, having read the script and recently obtained the pilot via a friend out in the wild wild west that is hollywood who has been known to procure such properties, its still not Tennant running about in a blue police box from the 1950s waving a sonic screwdriver hither and fro while saving hot british chicks who get caught up in alien plots of doom or alter history with out fear of butterfly effect, but it'll do nicely. This is a real no brainer, the network needs a new show that'll stand on its own with out having the words “law and order” in its title, with Heroes hurting really bad, and new and old shows floundering, its reality programs falling so flat, and this whole late night war thing, its just a horrible state over there, they need some new blood, they need a reboot, and if they're not idiots, they'll use David Tennant to do it, otherwise you risk losing a commodity thats got that much heat to someone else, and once again, it will lead to a loss. Seriously, get on that.

In related news, just the other day, while using a sonic screwdriver of my own, I saved the human race and my friend Rose, the plucky young girl who assists me, from doom at the hands of giant salt and pepper shakers with plungers and egg beaters for hands. And yet with all of my saving of the world, and the joy that brings, I can't help but think of one thing, which weighs heavy on my mind. And that is this, now that Casey Jurgens, heir to the Jurgens lotion billions and same sex future wife(?) of internet whore, turned horrible singer, turned reality show whore, turned Anna Nicole Smith but with out being attractive, Tila Tequila is dead from some coma thing, it means only one thing, we, as a united populous of the world, have to endure another season of “A Shot At Love With Tila Tequila”, and honestly, that just makes me wonder if saving the world, with the help of the plucky young girl who assists me, was really worth it or not. Because honestly, I just don't know anymore. I just don't know.

In news about the mentally challenged, it seems that Scott Biao has finally put that last nail in his career's coffin. I know, as hard as it is to believe, we may finally be done with the walking abortion formerly known as Chachi, the nephew of the Fonz on happy days that no one is really exactly sure where he came from. Apparently, not only is Scott a failure as an actor, and as a reality tv show star, he is also racist, shallow and a republican, but then those two things are kind of the same most of the time as it is. Scott, having nothing else to do with his life, decided to post a rather unflattering screen shot or new American first lady Michelle Obama, with the caption “Can you believe the president wakes up to this every morning? Better him then me, god damn.”. Now, I'm not going to start a debate on if Michelle Obama is attractive or not, honestly, I don't care or pay much attention, but honestly, Scott's comments are just completely out of order, he calls her names in response posts, and comments on how ugly she is, and I'm just left in awe, honestly, name calling? Really? This is what the republican party has become? Name calling and school yard tactics just to get at the president of the united states? Honestly? Scott you made your whole party look bad, and you made yourself look like an ass, you need to honestly stop being anywhere near anything that the public can see, because after knowing what I know of you now, I for one do not want Charles in Charge of my days and my nights... or even in charge of a ham sandwich for that matter. Oh well maybe once all this settles and Scott is in the poor house for the third time, maybe him and former broke cast mate turned christian, turned bibleman, turned broke loser turned reality tv “star”, turned Fianace Manager Willie Aames can do a show together about forgotten 1980s celebrities who ruined their careers by being uppity jackasses on set. It could be a show where the two of them, plus Kirk Kamron and the cast of Alf thats not in jail or crazy, could go around solving mysteries in a beat up old van.... or failing that, own a pizza place.

Speaking of people that the world forgot about, Martha Stewart and Rosie O'Donald have both put their names in the hat for next year's open seat on the American Idol judges panel. Both wish to replace the leaving Simon Cowel who will infact follow everyone's favorite drugged up muppet Paula Abdul in leaving the somewhat shaky freak show singing contest, to do an american version of his biritsh series X-Factor, which to my dismay was not based on the marvel comic of the same name, but is infact American Idol but different... I guess. I don't understand how exactly either Martha or that strappingly mighty lad Rosie would think they could fill Simon's unsettlingly tight black or gray teeshirt, though both can and do rock that 5 o'clock shadow of his, I mean honestly, I can't picture it, what is Martha gonna do? Tell them their room in the contestant's home looks nice and is well decorated? And whats Rosie gonna do? Open his giant mouth and expel enough hot air to start an F5 class hurricane? Honestly, I just don't get this whole deal, and i'm abit scared that we're looking at FOX having two shows possibly running one after the other in airing seasons, that are exactly alike, I really am not sure how this is gonna be a good thing. Its gonna be an over saturation of the market and people will reject it, they'll reject it hardcore stylely, I mean really, this s just a whole trainwreck in itself, and the idea that either of those uptight and more then slightly crazy women think they can fill Cowel's shoes in what is at best a ship that is slowly sinking, is just funny. The truth is, we don't need any more programs like American Idol, oh sure, X-Factor from what I have seen has a wider range of music, but I just don't see the point of flooding more and more of the music market with former contestants and winners when in truth, less then half of them actually ever become anything more then a one album or one, or in afew cases two single, act. It honestly is just a bad move all around. Plus also, shame on all of you washed up formerly famous people who are already vulturing for the seat, its not even open till next year and there are people already fighting for it, thats just sick really. The things some people will do just to get back in the spotlight after the world forgot they existed.... Wait, what? Rosie is a girl? Really? I had no idea.

In more American Idol related news, it seems that new judge Ellen Degeneris has been clashing with the aformented unsettlingly tight teeshirted Lothario Simon Cowell, she finds Simon rude and mean and spiteful to the contestants and feels he should be nicer, and wear clothing that isn't two sizes too small. Yeah ok Ellen, I love you to the full extent a man can love a lesbian with a happenin' Bruce Genner hairdo, but honestly, the lord of unsettlingly tight clothing is rude to the contestants for a reason, he's supposed to be the voice of reality and blunt honesty, and well, if they can't take him and what he says and does, then they shouldn't even be in the record business in the first place, he's not an ass for the sake of being an ass, he's an ass for the sake of saving them emotional shock and trauma years from now when someone doesn't feel they're good enough, it won't be sugar coated at all, it'll be hard blunt honesty, oh and he just likes to be an ass to people as well. Gotta love the British, because if we don't, Hollywood will start importing the french, and no one wants that. Ellen also stated she loves the girl that used to be on Barney and Friends, the one who showed up to auditions in a dominatrix outfit and whip, then sang Barney's “I love you, you love me” song, a moment I will forever have burned in my mind, and apparently so will Ellen. Which kind of unnerves me just a tad....

On an uplifting note, the great Nancy Ajram was on Oprah not long ago, that made me very happy... in the mind and in the pantaloons. Oh how I love Nancy ever so. Good ol'Oprah, not only is she destroying all you can eat places all over Chicago with her mighty hunger for fried chicken and things dipped in gravy, but she's also destroying culture walls... probably with the weight she gained... good on her, and excellent for Nancy. This is also really good news for me because well, I gotta tell you, I needed an uplifting bit of news after that boring as hell Avatar movie reigned supreme again at the box office... its like Titanic, but with out being masturbatory aid for would be cougars, women that look like Camilla Parker Bowles, or the Lifetime original movie crowd.

Speaking of Smurfs In Space... errr.. I mean Avatar, not only is it still reigning supreme at the box office, its recently over took Titanic as the highest grossing domestic film of all time. Which honestly boggles the mind, I don't understand how a lackluster story thats more just showing off the 300 million dollar visual effects, which by the way, are incredible, somehow could rake in this much money at all. It doesn't make sense on paper, I'm serious, it doesn't make any sense at all, by all logic Planet of The Smurfs.. err I mean Avatar, should have had a big first three weeks, then fade out, but it hasn't, its still going. How in the hell is it that this lackluster film can print cash, but a movie like District 9 which was so good it'd make you void your bowels in the theater just to not miss any of it, gets no love, or other much better films like The Lovely Bones barely made anything at all. It just doesn't make sense to me. Now the damn thing is up for best picture and a slew of other awards, I just do not get it.

Upcoming and current movies that people should go see in the next month; District 13: Ultimatum, Percy Jackson & The Olympians, The Crazies, The Wolfman, The Book of Eli, Cemetery Junction, Dear John, Crazy Heart, Legion, The Losers, The Lovely Bones, All My Friends Are Funeral Singers, Son Of Babylon, Frozen, My Name Is Khan, Shutter Island, A Prophet. Upcoming and current movies that people should avoid in the next month: From Paris With Love, Valentine's Day, The Ghost Writer, Cop Out, The Yellow Handkerchief, The Edge Of Darkness, When In Rome, Tooth Fairy, Its Complicated. And that should take you till first week of March when Alice In Wonderland comes along to own you all, in the pantaloons. And make no mistake, Alice In Wonderland WILL own you, in the pantaloons... and hard.

I would like very much if you all would send your best wishes and keep legendary singer and personal favorite of mine, the great Etta James in your thoughts and whatever it is your beliefs do, she was hospitalized recently and there is a half and half chance it might be fatal. Etta is an incredible singer, and a great person, and I personally wish for her recovery.

So apparently this has been a huge week or so for idiotic behavior among the famous, or well kind of at one time sort of famous. The newest member of the pantheon of forgotten fame to embarrass themselves, is character actor, who most will only remember for playing Zed in the Men In Black films, took it upon himself to break into a bank the other day. Yes, you read that right, he tried to break into a closed bank. When he was arrested, apparently the police not only discovered he was out of his mind drunk, but he was also so far gone he felt the need to expose himself to the officers, and to those in the police station and cells, because you know, if you're fall down drunk out of your mind while carrying a loaded handgun and you're trying to break into a bank at like midnight, you might as well go for broke when you get caught right? I guess K and J got you to let the worms through that intergalactic kegger after all didn't they Zed? Also, the “it looks like my house, I thought l locked myself out” defense? Classic. Good luck getting that one to work Rip, also, seriously man, get your 28 Days on before you become a bigger joke then you already are.

Not to be outdone however, former pop almost idol, Leif Garrett has decided to go back on all the stuff he said 10 years ago in his Behind The Music special, where he states how he's clean and sober and never going back to all the drugs that ruined his life and made him a shell of a man who can't get a job or hold a relationship or like 50 other things he had issues with before he went to meet up with a friend he crippled by accident who he hadn't seen in like 20 years, who then thanks him for crippling him, and welcomes him back into his life as his BBF (bestest bro forever, the moronic dude version of a BFF). Anyway, apparently here we are all those years later, and now that the world has once again forgotten Leif was alive, the dummy gets arrested, and this time, he has a good amount of high grade black tar heroin in his shoe. Yes, apparently the man who was the poster child for recovering addicts before Gary Busci sobered his ugly self up, has fallen off the wagon again! Seriously what the hell is it with guys like this, one second they're all preaching and judging you for your actions and beliefs and that you spend 8 hours a day of company time googling pictures of kittens in raincoats, and reminding you of the fact they're forgotten stars, or well almost stars in Leif's case, and the minute you turn your back on them, KABOOM!!! its back to the black tar heroin and whatever other drugs former stars that can't deal with the fact no one remembers them are all addicted too... crap what is that drug called again? I forgot... Willie Aames is like a huge addict, so is Kirk Camron.. OH YEAH!!! I remember now, religion. Honestly, I am so god damn sick of all of these people and their whoring themselves out even in their darkest moments just to cash in on that last few seconds of fame, its just completely sickening to me, accept what you can't change in yourself and that your career is over and go on to do something else, all crap like this does is make people hound and vulture and harass the many other former actors and actresses who have made it out of the business rather well, seriously total embarrassment.

And on a completely different note before I get to one final matter of business, I'd like to state my excitement that cult icon and all around hot nerd girl Zooey Deschanel, after spending a season on the series Weeds afew years back, and doing an excellent job in the under rated mini-series Tin Man, which retold the Wizard of Oz in a sort of Cyberpunk meets Steampunk kind of way, it seems that the cutest girl in Hollywood has decided to follow in the footsteps of her older sister Emily Deschanel, the star of the cult hit television series Bones, and get a steady gig on television, Zooey has filled a pilot and recently inked a deal for the pilot to be greenlit for a series, based on the book “I'm With The Band: Confessions Of A Groupie”, it tells the story of Pamela Des Barres, the world's most famous groupie, and the woman that Penny Lane, the character from the forgotten classic “Almost Famous” and the role that started Kate Hudson's career, is based on. There is no official title to the series just yet, but most are assuming it will be “I'm With The Band” or “Confessions Of A Groupie” to market it against Showtime's importing of UK's naughty hit “Secret Diary Of A Call Girl” , this is actually a smart move on HBO's part given that rumors are flying all over the entertainment business that both networks are in a bidding war for the massive Australian series, and personal favorite of mine, “Satisfaction” which is the story of the inner workings of a Melbourne Brothel and all the naughty there in. Rumor has it HBO is losing out in the bidding war, so it would make sense that they'd wanna make something similar but different enough to not make it look like an obvious ploy on rating from both. Plus adding critic and fan favorite Zooey in a role that takes her out of her cute nerdy goofy mixed up mentally girl next door persona that she seems to play almost everytime she's cast in anything, is just an amazing idea and super smart marketing given how hot her and her sister's stars are burning right now. So seriously give this a watch in the coming months to see what happens, after all, its better then watching The Life Of Tim or whatever the hell that horrible animated series they made last year was.

With me settling into the final bits of this installment of the reality shock, i'd like to revisit my opening statements for just abit before I get to my trademark random thought ending.

I would really like to thank all of you who have read my ramshackle ramblings about the ins and outs of Hollywood and the entertainment business the world over, thats right, from the Britney Spears head shaving, to Edison Chen's sex scandal that brought down the whole movie industry in Hong Kong for afew months, to Jessica Simpson getting boo'd of a stage and crying like a child, to every time that Russel Crowe tossed a phone at someone, and all things before and sense, from the best and worst of each year, to countless references to pop culture and to my friend Rose and many others, from “No not that kind of pudding!!” to the death of my dear and missed friend Maila Nurmi, and the hundreds of songs, musicians, movies and television shows that so many email me to say thanks for recommending to them. We have been through a lot together in the 5 years I have done this column, we've all grown together, expanding our horizons of entertainment and laughing and smiling as we disagree with each other and come together unified in other things, I have taught all of you things, as all of you have taught me as well, and I guess in the end thats really all we can hope for in this life right?

I never really expected much from this when I started the reality shock back in 2005, truth be told it started out as a conversation between me and a good friend over seas who I had laughing so hard she was coughing while I ripped on a variety of famous people which at the end of a 25 minute rant of hilarity, she said to me “You should write all this down. People would be laughing as hard as I am.”, and from there I pitched it to my boss, who at first refused it, stating that a “gossip” column by his most controversial critic sounded like a disaster waiting to happen, but after a read of my sample one, and laughing almost constantly as he read it, finally agreed to give me a shot, and after a really well received launch and a booming outpouring of support from the internet when I started to post it online, and others who started to email it around, and to make it even bigger then I could ever dream. And I guess thats really why its so hard for me to do this, because its really taken on such a life of its own, the reality shock isn't just another column by a film critic who's too blue collar to call himself a member of The Auteurs Society, its a column by a man who is a fan of entertainment in general, who just happens to have lucked his way into a job where he gets paid to show people how much he loves it, this truly is the greatest job in the world, and if not for the backstage politics and backstabbing plans of others who would see me fail for my inability to go with the flow and keep the old guard who have grown out of touch with their readers and those who they write for, and their backwards outdated ways of doing business in place simply because they are too blind to see how unhappy their workers are. I worked, and I slaved and I had to break bones and walls to get where I am today, the 83rd most influential person in my state and the 13th most influential in the contookett valley and 2005's New England Critic's Association's Best New Talent and Best Rising Star award winner, and the owner of a wall full of plaques from charities the state over, I got there by fighting for myself, for my place in a business that hasn't ever seen someone like me, and by diving head first into the trenches and leaving my huntsmen into battle by means of the frontlines, not sitting in an office barking out orders. And if this really is the end of my time in this business, then I know that is how I will be remembered, as a fighter who didn't let those who would plot and scheme against me, and forged his own path that others will follow as time goes on. But I'm not gonna let this all ruin my love of my dream job, I may be gone from here, but I will be back at some point in the near future, I will continue to do The Reality Shock on the internet for those who wish me to continue, and eventually I will find my way back into the business, I have plans but nothing close enough to mention yet. And it will come together with alittle energon, and a lot of luck.

So to all of you who will be staying with me on this journey via the internet, I thank you and hope that you continue to stay with me for years to come, the content won't be relegated to whatever we won't get sued for, after an almost law suit for me calling out another critic and the almost lawsuit over my dropping a scene for scene outline of Wolverine a month before even the workprint hit the net, sort of became a hindrance in the end, but no longer. So stick with us, we'll be in for some fun. And to all of you who are only reading me in print, I would also like to thank you for all your time and feedback, and ask you all, to please, please, do not give up on print media, printed media is dying slowly, and it needs your help it needs your support and it needs to have people remember that its a needed medium, do not give up on it, stay the course. I respect you.

So all of that said, I have just more statement before I get to my random thoughts ending, all of you, remember this statement, for it has kept me going for many years...

“Akhasmak, aah. Aseebak, la. Wi gowah ilroah hatifdhal habeebi illi ana bah-waah. Bahibbak, aah. Wa afarkak, la.”
Nancy Ajram, 2003.

And if you don't know what it means, google it.

And now its time to put this to bed with my lovely scatterbrained randomness.

British trash reality television is so much more interesting then American trash reality television. I still hate John Lithgow with the fury of a thousand suns. March is gonna be a great TV month with the return of The Boondocks and 10 Things I Hate About You. Cabin Fever 2? Really? The gods must hate me. I don't get the buzz over Avatar, seriously its Smurfs In Space. I am so tired of hearing Linsey Lohan's parents fighting publicly, seriously no one cares. I have no idea what the hell is going on in the video for “Video Phone” by Lady Gaga and Beyonce, though to be fair, I don't have a clue what that song is about either. T-Pain's obsession with working with country singers is unsettling. Sheryl Crow is gonna be a recurring character on Cougar Town? Really? Joe Jackson is suing over 300 media outlets the world over for using photos and video footage of Micheal Jackson on the day he died, and also for using video and images of the body being brought into the morgue, joe wants over 300,000,000 dollars, Joe Jackson is gonna burn in a special place in hell. Jessica Alba suing that Chinese woman who wants to become her through plastic surgery is idiotic. Carrie Underwood and Queen Latifa's duet of Pants On The Ground is unsettlingly hilarious. Mealticket Cyrus, please, stop acting, and stop singing, please. Kanye West is the world's angriest blogger. Posh Spice is still stalking me wishing for me to set her soul and body on fire. Still wondering if I should change the name of the column once I go officially online only, just haven't worked out a good title to change it too yet. The Tragically Hip get no love outside of Canada, well unless you're aware that a lot of their song titles and stuff are used in episodes of the now ended Trailer Park Boys. Melrose Place is finally canceled, score one for the godking of all media and his never ending campaign to remove horrible shows from tv, btw, Jersey Shore, you're on notice, you and your Snooki... and whatever the hell The Situation is. Carrie Prejean is getting married, and the world could care less. And finally.... to all of you who are no longer going to be traveling with us as the column goes internet only, I wish you all the best of luck in life and never, ever, stop searching for that rare and hidden gems of media, they make life worth while...

So with this chapter closing, I say to all once again, Blessid Be... and remember, Uwe Boll is a history's greatest monster.



Friday, February 5, 2010


seems last week's torrent picks got removed by blogger, no idea why... they removed something on surreal soundz from two years ago as well... really odd...

oh well. Life gones on.