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Shows to Watch Online While You Slowly Freeze to Death

13 Feb

Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by my second snowpocalypse edition of Media to Put in your Eye Holes While You’re Snowed In. If you’re like me, you have fashioned a sort of nest of blankets, pillows, scarfs and hoodies; you have invited your canine companion onto your couch; and you are taking full advantage of the way the South does winter, y’all. Though in all reality, I have been slaving away at a Spanish paper on contemporary poetry and its imagery, and I could really use the catharsis of writing in English about some garbage. So let’s hop to it!

I have recently gained access to Amazon Prime Instant Video via super secret spy methods involving hidden cameras in Sochi showers. And boy have I been taking advantage of this quality programming:

1. The Layover w/ Anthony Bourdain (Amazon Prime)

tony with a bone

Used to be the background on my computer

I love every single thing about Anthony Bourdain and I will follow him to the end of the earth in whatever pursuit he may choose. So how did I fail to notice that he had a new show? For all I know, it has been cancelled by now. But if it’s as new to you as it is to me, you can catch the entire first season (series?) on Amazon Prime. The premise here is not much unlike his No Reservations series, only this time he is in each city for a very limited time (like 24 hours). He schleps around with some fellow-cook friends, and tries out local foods and activities. So enjoy another series where you watch the episodes of the places that you have been to first so you can revel in the fact that Tony has been there, too.

2. Alpha House (Amazon Prime)

I love John Goodman and I already feel bad enough for betting on him to be the next  to die in my high school celebrity death poll. In Alpha House, he acts as the ex-NC-basketball-coach-turned-politician that you could learn to love. Also must be taking some of his character acting tips from his part in Todd Solondz’s Storytelling.

Workaholics-blake-anderson-adam-devine-anders-holm-600x4603. Workaholics (Amazon Prime)

The fine folks at Netflix took it away, but you can still get your share of Ders, Blake, and Adam (and don’t forget Jillian!) on Amazon Prime. Fantastic mindless comedic viewing to zone out and burn to (IF you live in Colorado or Washington ONLY!)

4. Inside Amy Schumer (Amazon Prime) inside-amy-schumer2

I am always happy to see a righteous chick catch a little spotlight in the world of standup and sketch comedy. She is just as crass as I often feel, so this show makes me happy to feel that I am not alone. Even you dudes will like it, seriously.

5. Key and Peele (Amazon Prime)

If the online stylings of such videos as “Substitute Teacher” tickled your fancy, how do you feel about a full show of Key and Peele antics? Sketch comedy at it’s finest, and I love any show that can tackle race, (albeit no one has come forward with the fire that is Dave Chapelle, but I’m holding out).

6. David Chang: Mind of a Chef (Netflix)mind-of-a-chef-pbs-anthony-bourdain

Did I mention I love Anthony Bourdain? He narrates this show, for some reason, which is what drew me to it in the first place. I must admit, I kind of hate the way the show is organized. In one episode, David Chang, famous chef of Momofuku, will be in various countries speaking with famous chefs about, say, the egg. In the next episode, he will be at several of the same international places, but this time discussing the merits of freeze-dried foods. But all-in-all, it’s a good show that will make you hungry. The icing on the cake was the day I watched an episode in which David Chang goes golfing with Dan the Automator. Go figure!

louis-ck7. Louie (Netflix)

Louis CK is, hands down, my favorite standup comedian. And I love him as much for his masturbation jokes as the bigol’ thinkin’ brain those jokes come out of. Those who only like him for his crass antics, however, beware. The show that he writes, produces, edits, and stars in, is a little bit more off the beaten path. He tackles some intense issues regarding mental health, fatherhood, community, work, life, everything. But it’s not as heartwarming as that sounds, either, it can get quite twisted.

8. Twin Peaks (Netflix)Twin-peaks

While the ending leaves much to be desired, it is still worth getting into this cult David Lynch classic. Pretty much a prerequisite to being my BFF, Twin Peaks has quirk and style and mystery and a certain man in a denim outfit who haunts my waking and sleeping nightmares. If you have been watching True Detective on HBO (see #9), I prescribe you this show to watch while you’re biting your nails between episodes. The owls are not what they seem, and you can always get an, excuse me, DAMN fine cup of coffee in Twin Peaks.

true detective9. True Detective (HBO, hbogo.com)

True Detective reminds me a bit of Twin Peaks, maybe mixed with Breaking Bad. That’s really enough for me. A mysterious cultish murder rocks a small Lousiana town, and who do we have around to solve it? An emaciated Matthew McConaughey and a machista Woody Harrelson (whose character I loathe more than any other of his). It’s just getting really juicy, and watching this on hbogo.com makes me remember what it’s like to have to wait for the next episode of a show again.

10. Girls (HBO, hbogo.com)Girls-HBO-image-girls-hbo-36197318-647-960

Duh. I love it, I love Lena Dunham and in my dreams we are best friends. Watching this show is how we catch up. As buds.

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No Guts No Glory: Some Horra For Ya

8 Oct

October is upon us and as we near Halloween I feel it is appropriate to make another list, this time with the theme of all that is gory and ghastly in film. This potentially could overflow with my last entry, I mean, Cannibal Holocaust would be a great Halloween-time flick for the guts and gore that it contains. Some of these movies are appropriate for October viewing because they are disturbing as well, just not to the level of Antichrist and Irreversible.

For the purposes of this entry, I will steer clear of the classics and most well-known Halloween series (i.e. Friday the 13th, Halloween, etc.) because you already know about those, right? They’re been a Halloween staple at your local Blockbuster since first grade. They’ll be on TV ‘n’ shit, you don’t need me reminding you that they exist this time of year. Instead, here are some still pretty well-known, but maybe not as classically Halloween, eerie hits for your viewing pleasure, in no particular order…

1. House of 1000 Corpses (2003) and 2. The Devil’s Rejects (2005)
Of course these two Rob Zombie horror flicks go hand-in-hand, and you definitely must catch them both, in order. This would be a good little Grindhouse night for you. They’re dirty, they’re gritty, they’re saucy, a little funny and profane as all get out. Somehow despite the fact that the murderous main characters of these films are completely heinous, you kind of end up rooting for them. (Or is that just me?) Maybe an end-of-the-movie getaway chase to “Freebird” helps drive that sentiment home. The victims of House of 1000 Corpses are generally so whiny and generally unlikable, that you don’t really find yourself feeling too sorry for them. Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute from The Office) is one of the victims in that one, so that’s a bonus. And The Devil’s Rejects has one of my favorite disturbing lines from a film, “I think I can still smell your wife’s pussy stink on my gun.” So good. They are both pretty scary, but the latter is a bit more disturbing because of increased sexual content and  lines such as the aforementioned one. You can count on Rob Zombie to do it right in these original films, and his wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, plays a completely unsettling combination of psychotic yet still totally sexy Baby Firefly in both.

3. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
To begin, please note that I am endorsing the original George A. Romero version here. I have yet to see the newer Zack Snyder version, which I hear is good, and I like Ving Rhames and Mekhai Phifer and all, but when the classic is spot-on, you gotta stick with it. It’s like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; sure you might have superior technologies and fresh ideas, but don’t mess with a good thing. I can only assume that the graphic nature of this movie was way ahead of its time in ’78 because it still gets to me on the gross-out factor. First of all, they shoot children in this movie… KIDS, man! That had to be seriously pissing off some people back in the day. But I mean, they’re zombies! If some zombie kids were after my brains you better believe that i would have no problem blowing them away with the most extreme of prejudice. The second reason this might be the greatest zombie movie of all time is that it takes place in a shopping mall for the majority of the film. What kind of statement Romero was trying to make on consumer culture or capitalism is up for analysis, but it makes for a hell of an apocalyptic setting. Who wouldn’t want free range over a shopping mall in their last moments of life? Plus, this mall has a gun store, so obviously it is the best place for a stakeout during the zombie Armageddon.

4. Shaun of the Dead (2004)
It’s bloody and gory enough to hold its own with the classics and the greats, yet it’s funny and original enough to offer something completely different from the usual zombie flick. And despite the fact that is it full of humor, you can still somehow take it seriously. These are main characters you can relate to, although just like every zombie movie I think they take to the challenge of making it out of zombie annihilation with relative ease and quick scheming. Nevertheless, the relatability of these characters makes you root for them all the much more. And when you watch a zombie movie, you must admit that in the back of your mind you’re taking notes, wondering whether or not you would think of the same things or make the same mistakes. So to be able to relate to the characters makes this all the more fun. Shaun of the Dead makes fun of the genre while still somehow taking itself seriously as a zombie film, which has to be a tough feat. It creates a perfect combination of horror and comedy, plus a little bit of a love story that you just might be able to associate with, yourself.

5. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Guillermo del Toro has managed to relate many things I love and cherish in this fanciful yet frightening tale of a little girl, Ofelia, living in Spain during Franco’s fascist rule. The movie touches upon historic accounts of post-civil-war Spain, which I quite enjoy after briefly studying the time period in school. The pro-Franco antagonists are despicable and the guerrilla rebels are lovably brave heroes, and this is only the side/background story. The Alice in Wonderland feel of the film had me from the very beginning, as I have always loved that story. It is one of the most visually-striking movies I can think of, with what I am going to go ahead and say is the most disturbing creature I have ever seen in a movie (pictured here, but this photo doesn’t even do it justice). And to top it all off, it is in Spanish which I love, but it also might take away from your enjoyment of all of the stunning visuals of the film if you are reading the subtitles the whole time. Although perhaps it is more fantasy than horror, Pan’s Labyrinth definitely spans multiple genres to bring viewers who might otherwise stray away from the fantasy genre something truly unique and captivating.

6. The Shining (1980)
The only film on the list other than Dawn of the Dead not to come out of the new millennium, The Shining, while a well-known “horror” movie,  is still underrated in my opinion. I know, I know, it is the quintessential psychological thriller, but first of all, I don’t think that many people actually make it through the whole film, capturing its nuances and its messages. “Hhhhheeeeeere’s Johnny!” has become a parody of itself, and a cliche…a pop culture reference that is even in Rocko’s Modern Life, for godsake… But Stanley Kubrick’s classic should not be reduced to these little vignettes that the movie has become. Yeah, those twins are creepy, and the elevators full of blood are disturbing, but there is a lot more to the movie than those scenes and shots that the movie has become famous for. There is a psychological element we can all relate to, and if you sit still long enough to become captivated by this movie, you become just as much of a prisoner to the psychological horror of it as Jack Torrence. I believe that of every movie of this list, The Shining is the one that you should definitely consider reconsidering this Halloween season. Watch it again with a fresh set of eyes. Invest the time and the energy to let this movie take you away into a dark corner of your mind that you may not even know you have.

To round out this entry, might I recommend you also watch A Clockwork Orange, so you can get your Alex costume right, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video, because heaven knows you won’t get enough of that song come October 31st. Boo!

These Movies Will Disturb You…

25 Sep

…which is often why I recommend them.

This list goes from extreme to insane. An asterisk denotes that I enjoy the movie enough to own it. I am kind of a sadist when it comes to making others squirm to awkward films. Here is a smattering of some of my favorite disturbing movies. Viewer discretion is advised.

1. Happiness*
Why you won’t like it: Pedophilia, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s ingenious way of sticking post cards to the wall. The last line of the movie is “I came,” and it is said by a child.
Why I do like it: So many characters with fascinating and intertwining stories. I love Phillip Seymour hoffman. It is a pretty realistic take on people, their problems, and the mundane details of their lives. Todd Solondz is the man. You will see another selection from him later on that is even crazier.

2. Gummo*
Why you won’t like it: Cat killing, stories of incest and murder, prostitution of the mentally handicapped, the bathtub scene. You might also be insulted if you live in Xenia, OH where the movie takes place.
Why I do like it: Until recently, I always touted this as my favorite movie. Now I might go with something a little more light-hearted. But Gummo has always fascinated me. I believe this is a realistic portrayal of how many struggling in poverty live. It may disturb you, but I think it is hard to deny that people and situations like those depicted in the movie exist in real life. I quite enjoy the kitchen furniture-wrangling scene, and the two kids that scam the neighborhood selling chocolate bars (look for this as a sample in Diplo’s song, “Money Power Respect” on his Florida album. Also Chloe Sevigny’s boobs and the profane little kids at the junkyard. Keep an open mind and give it a try.

3. The Brown Bunny*
Why you won’t like it: Gratutitous oral sex, slow, narcissistic Vincent Gallo.
Why I do like it: Gratuitous oral sex…with Chloe Sevigny and Vincent Gallo! By the end of it, the slowness of the rest of the film makes sense. You have to watch the whole thing or else the true meaning and message behind the film is lost. (As with all movies, I suppose, but especially if you struggle with why things happen the way they do in this film). I like the scenery, the cinematography, and did I mention Chloe Sevigny and Vincent Gallo?

4. Palindromes*
Why you won’t like it: Pedophilia (really, Solondz? Again?), the main character is portrayed by different actresses throughout the film which may bother some people, abortion talk, religious fervor, interesting child cast.
Why I do like it: Another Solondz film, so of course I’m on board. But this isn’t my favorite of his. Still, I think switching up the main actress is an interesting choice that I still don’t quite understand. And it is funny. In the darkest way possible.

5. Eraserhead*
Why you won’t like it: Slow, completely confusing and often seemingly senseless, black and white, awkward.
Why I do like it: Because of the above reasons, it’s David Lynch, what’s not to like? The Lady in the Radiator, I always want to discuss the motifs and the reasoning behind everything. Amon Tobin samples this movie in his track, Like Regular Chickens.

6. Irreversible
Why you won’t like it: Extremely violent, disturbing, misogynistic and arguably gratuitous anal rape scene. Other graphic depictions of violence. Nauseating camera angles and movement.
Why I do like it: If a movie can make you nauseous but isn’t completely tacky and cheap, then it is powerful and deserves recognition. It’s another movie with which you must watch until the end or else the message is lost. The camera angles and cinematography in general is exquisite and ground-breaking.

7. Antichrist
Why you won’t like it: Misogyny, genital mutilation, Willem Dafoe’s penis a lot (and later not-so-much), woodland masturbation?, animal fetus.
Why I do like it: That cute actress from the Science of Sleep does some ca-razy shit, yo! And a lot of it stems from her writing her thesis. I can relate! (I kid! I kid!) I don’t even know if I do like this movie yet. I can’t tell. I just want to discuss it all the time, which says something, right? And I love Lars von Trier’s other work (Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, Breaking the Waves). Maybe you should start with those and work your way to Antichrist.

Honorable Mentions: These films I do not like. I have only been able to view them once. Those are for the hardcore cinephiles who don’t cringe when I mention my love for Gummo. I probably wouldn’t watch them again, but I enjoy telling other people about them. Like I said, I can be kind of a sadist when it comes to film…

8. Cannibal Holocaust
I think a guest on the Rotten Tomatoes Show recommended this, for some godforsaken reason. It contains the worst animal abuse/torture footage I have ever seen. And for entertainment value, nonetheless. Gratuitous nudity and violence abound. Consider this page my confessional at this time, because I really don’t like to admit I have even seen this.

9. Tarnation
I don’t even really remember this movie, but I know that someone told me it reminded them of me, or that I would like it. I was highly insulted.

10. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom
Holy hell you can buy this movie on Amazon. And you really shouldn’t. I have never seen anything like this, and it holds the title of the Most Disturbing Film Melissa Has Ever Seen. It takes place in fascist Italy, based on a Marquis de Sade tale, it tells the story of tortured teens during 1940’s Nazi reign. The sexual, verbal and physical abuse they go through at the hands of the men and madams is atrocious as soldiers look on in neutral boredom. I, myself, could not finish this one. Director Pasolini “wanted to make a film without hope.” Spot on, Pasolini.

There you have it. Now go out and disturb yourselves with some of these little gems, then forever associate me with their disturbery.

Silencio. (Ponderings on David Lynch)

13 Apr

That is the final word of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. No hay banda. No hay orquesta. Silencio.

I sure love Agent Dale Cooper. Watch out for Mr. Lynch in this clip as well (at 00:36).

I will conclude with a list of some of my favorite films from my collection. A second installment will follow in a later entry. They are not listed in any particular order because their preference is so fluid in my mind. Please do check them out some day. Most of them are available at (insert university/academic institution here)’s library video collection. Expect a review of Antichrist by Lars von Trier in the near future. And if you have seen it, explain that shit to me! Is it intentionally misogynistic? Does the changed ending cheapen the meaning behind the original concept? So many questions! And if you have not seen it, you probably shouldn’t, haha.

1. Adaptationdir. Spike Jonze– The only Nicholas Cage portrayal I enjoy. Meryl Streep does drugs with a toothless Chris Cooper. All around lovely and witty. Favorite line: Chris Cooper (to Meryl Streep) You’re shinier than any ant, darlin’.

2. Amores Perrosdir. Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu. I love the whole multiple stories coming together thing. Soundtrack is awesome.

3. Blue Velvetdir. David Lynch. Kyle McLaughlin is clownin’, but Laura Dern still loves him anyway. Isabella Rossalini is nuts, unlike her current Green Porno project with the Sundance Channel, which is totally sane.

4. Buffalo 66dir. Vincent Gallo. I don’t know what to think of Vincent Gallo, or his gigolo ways. But I love this film so much. Angelica Huston is an awesomely selfish Buffalo Bills fan, and Christina Ricci is appropriately plump. If made to pick a favorite NFL team, it would be the Buffalo Bills strictly because of this film.

5. Clockwork Orangedir. Stanley Kubrick. It is disturbing, yet funny. It has a message and its own language, my little droogies.

6. Dancer in the Darkdir. Lars von Trier. It is heart-wrenching. Maybe moreso becaus the main character is Bjork. I was her character, Selma, from this film last year for Halloween. I can’t say much more about it. There are musical numbers, but that’s ok. 🙂

7. Gummodir./writ. Harmony Korrine. Because I openly love this movie, people seem to want to suggest horrific, disturbing movies to me. Many can’t stomach this film. It has been, and may always be, one of my favorite films of all time. Key words: Xenia, OH; culture of poverty, black gay Jewish little person; downs syndrome prostitution.

8. The Royal Tenenbaums dir. Wes Anderson. I still haven’t seen Mr. Anderson’s new film, Fantastic Mr. Fox, but as a general rule all of his films are winners. This one is my favorite because it was my first one of his. I love Royal Tenebaum’s “adopted daughter Margot,” another Halloween costume inspiration. I love dry humor. All around fantastic.

9. Happiness- dir. Todd Solondz. Another film that is hard to stomach. It deals with pedophilia and obsession. Phillip Seymour Hoffman at his mouth-breathingest. Last line of the movie (from the mouth of a child) “I came.”

10. Me and You and Everyone We Knowdir./writ. Miranda July. I want to meet Miranda July. Judging from her writing I think she is probably like her character in this movie. The characters are all lovable, even the guy who writes and posts sex notes to high school girls in his apartment window. I love that Cody Chestnutt is referenced. This is a great movie. You want to see it. Back and Forth, forever.