Saturday, September 26, 2020

Not So Serious Movie Review: Sandlot 2 (2005)



Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Sandlot 2 (2005). This is a movie about a bunch of kids who play baseball and lose something important over a fence. James Earl Jones reprises his role as Mr Myrtle, the old man with a big dog the kids are afraid of.

During their summer of playing baseball, the kids also go to a fair, go swimming, watch fireworks, and one has a memorable kiss that almost gets them all in trouble.
Does it sound like I described The Sandlot 1? Yup. Because this is basically the same movie. Even many of the same lines of dialogue are used. There are only two differences: one) girls on the team and two) a neighborhood kid who is really into model rockets.
I wanted to try to review this movie independent of the first. Had the plot been different, that might have been possible. But as it is, this is a bad, bad, bad remake. I blame Canada.
And I hear there is a third Sandlot.

Grade 1 lazy star out of 5.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Not So Serious Movie Review: Cry Blood Apache (1971)



Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Cry Blood, Apache (1970). This is one of the lowest rated Westerns ever and for good reason. It is super low budget, with bad acting, and horrible camera work.

A group of shitty white dudes kill a family of Spanish-speaking Apaches. They kidnap the daughter and attempt to find gold. The son of the family returns from a ride to find his family dead. He hunts down the shitty white guys and kills most of them until the stupid ending. Did I mention that the daughter suffers from Stockholm Syndrome and falls in love with one of the shitty white guys who murdered her family? Because a shitty white guy probably wrote the movie.
This would have been much better if it was a grindhouse horror posing as a Western. Tarantino before Tarantino.

As it is, it sucked.

Grade 1 Native American star out of 5.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Verbosely Voluptuous or Voluptuously Verbose



Originally posted in 2010, I decided to repost it and give it a look over for editing. Enjoy.

When I was in high school, before the dark times, and before the Empire, I was a bit awkward. Although most people would say that is true of everyone at that age, I was teenage awkward beyond teenage awkward. I was 6'0-plus and rail thin, with a surfer haircut and a White Sox hat. I could quote Ol' Dirty Bastard lyrics and Star Wars trivia, and then tell you what former Mets third baseman Howard Johnson's batting average was in 1989 (.287).

(Nowadays many of these traits are admirable and add to a person's charm, but back then they were just geeky. Except for the surfer cut and the Sox hat, those are still bad choices.)

Adding to my many high school era personality quirks and fashion fas pauxs were a few unfortunate flubs. In ninth grade, for example, I got in a fight and was hit in the mouth with a t-square drafting tool. I needed ten stitches after spitting blood all over my teacher's desk. That was not fun.

On the more humorous side, my proclivity for gaffs was raised to another level during a 12th grade English class. One day, for a reason I do not remember, the student sitting in front of me in English class was perusing a dictionary and looking up words that start with "V".

To this day, I am not sure why he was reading the dictionary, but this kid was one of the smartest in the school and now, according to his Facebook page, has his Ph.D, so who am I to question early academic inquiry.

After asking the young genius what he was doing, we started comparing our knowledge of multi-syllabic "v-words", to include the word "voluptuous" - meaning, among other things, "suggesting sensual pleasure by fullness and beauty of form". A few minutes later, as we continued talking "V"s, he dared me to call our sometimes long-winded teacher "verbose" - meaning "given to wordiness". Probably not the smartest thing to call a teacher, but I took up the dare.

Unfortunately, when I finally did get the teacher's attention, the synapses and neurons I had misfiring in my teenage brain that day didn't quite get the words right. Instead of telling the teacher he was very verbose, I told him he was very voluptuous.

Oops.

I'll never forget his response. Without missing a beat, he looked at me, put his hands on his hips, struck a faux Marilyn Monroe pose, and said "Thank you."

Realizing my blunder, I stuttered, "I-I-I meant verbose."

"Are you saying I talk too much?", he asked.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, I tried to explain the whole dictionary, smart kid, and letter "V" situation. I'm not quite sure I succeeded before the bell rang to change classrooms. Saved by the bell.

Although I was initially embarrassed, I was able to laugh off my "voluptuous" blunder. I was even bold enough to give the same teacher the same pseudo-compliment on my final day as a high school student. On graduation day, as I was walking across the graduation stage, high school diploma in hand, I saw my English teacher waiting at the bottom of the stage steps congratulating every student for their effort. When it came my turn, I shook his hand and without missing a beat, said "Looking very voluptuous today. Oops, I mean verbose."

He looked at me and laughed.

He probably thought I was a little weird.

Glad I outgrew that perception.


Thursday, August 20, 2020

Not So Serious Movie Review: Death of a Prophet



Tonight's cinematic adventure was Death of a Prophet (1981) starring Morgan Freeman as Malcolm X. Years before Morgan Freeman's Hollywood stardom, he played Malcolm X during his last day alive.

Freeman plays a very different Malcolm X than Denzel Washington, much more stiff and professorial. Interesting to watch because of that.

As for the movie itself, it feels like a low budget college art film. Almost like a cheap documentary and recreation. Good thing it is only 70 minutes long.

Recommended if you are Malcolm X collector or a Morgan Freeman collector, otherwise just watch the Denzel Washington version.

Grade: 3 stars out of 5.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Not So Serious Movie Review: Brotherhood of Justice



Tonight's cinematic misadventure was Brotherhood of Justice (1986) starring Keanu Reeves, Kiefer Sutherland, Billy Zane, and Lori Loughlin.

Prep star Keanu Reeves and his racist friends form a vigilante group to rid their high school of bad elements such as drug dealers, theives, and Mexicans (really?). The group takes justice into their own hands once too often and things go wrong. Ironically, Lori Loughlin is one of the few main characters who doesnt go to jail. And accusing people of stealing because of their ethnicity was and is never ok.

If you ever want to know why John Wick works alone, this is why.

Grade: 2 vigilante stars out of 5.

Monday, August 10, 2020

A Journey to Hatchet City Part 7: Mutilation Mix



It has been a while, but once again I am brave enough to venture into the long and illustrious catalog of Psychopathic Records, home of the Insane Clown Posse and other associated acts.

Today's listen will be Mutilation Mix: Greatest Hits (That Never Were Hits) released in 1997. The back of the CD says there is 75 minutes of music and 2 new tracks, so I am expecting many songs I've heard over the first 6 albums I listened to. I wonder if this album has a theme, or are the hits that never were haphazardly arranged. Will these mostly be remixes of the socio-economic revolution songs or of tales of redneck-hunting and other murder and mayhem?

Unfortunately, the CD liner notes do not have the track list, so I had to copy it from Wikipedia. I hope it's right.

Request #1 (Nate the Mack)

The album starts with a phone call to Violent J. Nate the Mack asks about their greatest hits, which he claims they never had. Unless it was Cemetery Girl, which is a segue into the next song.

Cemetery Girl

This song is from Riddle Box. I dig this new beat. This might be better than the original, which I called "skippable" when I reviewed Riddle Box.

Hey Vato

This is the first time I have heard this song. It starts with Shaggy 2 Dope yelling at someone named Richie. Then it goes into a Violent J verse about gang banging. I still don't understand ICP's fascination with gangs. The song repeats how it is "all about clown love" - which is great marketing for their community theme. While the beat is interesting, and the chorus is good,  the verses are forgettable.

Wagon Wagon

This song was originally on the Ringmaster album. My original review was that this was the most mainstream of ICP's early work in regards to beat and structure. This beat sounds similar to a DJ Muggs-type beat from early Cypress Hill albums. 

Request #2 (Esham)

This track is another phone call. This time from Esham, asking that a song he was on be included in the greatest hits, which of course rolls into the song.

Psychopathic

This song was originally on the Carnival of Carnage album. My original review said this song was like Funkadelic meets Halloween, with the ICP style of lyrical braggadocio - murder, mayhem, and sex. This version is shortened, about half as long and does not include the Esham verse. I wonder if that is on purpose.

Southwest Strangla (2 Dope solo)

I haven't heard this song before. This is a story from a murderer's perspective. While the lyrics aren't that deep, it is classic horrorcore. Still not a big fan of Shaggy 2 Dope's flow.

Never Had It Made

This song was originally on Carnival of Carnage. I like the intro. I still don't understand the ICP fascination with jail and incarceration. Do they have experience in the pen? Were they clowns in prison? 

Chicken Huntin' (Slaughter House Mix)

This is remix of Chicken Huntin' that was on the Riddle Box album. 

I Stuck Her With My Wang

This is the first time I've heard this song as I don't have the Terror Wheel EP. Shaggy 2 Dope opens the song with a verse on mutual sexual violence. At least I assume this is consensual. Horrorcore meets sex rhymes. 

The Loons

This song is off the Ringmaster album. Still creepy, but this time without the verse about socio-economic revenge.

Red Neck Hoe

This song was originally on Carnival of Carnage. Shaggy 2 Dope's flow is not good. So simplistic. This version does not have the Violent J verse. 

I am noticing a pattern with this album, that is it just samples of the songs. Which is really weird. Why would ICP do shortened versions of their own songs? This album would be better if it flowed like a real mixtape.

Request #3 (Charm Farm)

A third phone call recording to ICP. Dennis and Steve from Charm Farm request I'm Coming Home.

I'm Coming Home

This song was originally on Riddle Box. I didn't like it then. Does ICP know that many people who have returned from prison? Have they ever returned from prison themselves? This song admits a comfortability with negative conditions. It also doesn't have much to do with Carnival of Carnage/Ringmaster/Riddle Box storyline. Very confused.

Superballs

This song was originally on the Tunnel of Love EP. I dug this song on the EP. The beat is fantastic. Tunnel of Love is probably my favorite album of the ICP albums I have listened to so far. 

The Stalker

This song was originally on Beverly Kills 50187. When I first heard this song, I was confused. Still creepy. 

Wizard of The Hood

This was on the Carnival of Carnage album. This was favorite song of the Carnival of Carnage CD. This track is only 1 minute long. Starting to think this whole album is a mixtape without any blending. Just samples of ICP's first 7 albums (6 I have reviewed, and the Terror Wheel album.)

Skitsofrantic

Another one from the Terror Wheel album. Which means this song is new to me. Very West Coast funky beat. All about being paranoid. This is a cool song. Sorta a Mind's Playing Tricks on Me vibe. 

3 Rings

From the Riddle Box album and Shaggy 2 Dope's solo joint. Another song about the carnival. Violent J has an Ice Cube flow on this song. 

Request #4 (Harm's Way)

Not sure who Harm's Way is, but they are on this phone message. 

Murder Go Round

From the Ringmaster album. Still not a fan of this song. 

Request #5 (Daddy X of the Kottonmouth Kings)

The fifth call of the album. 

Southwest Song

From the Ringmaster album. This has a funky beat. Shaggy 2 Dope sounds pretty good here. Not sure why ICP fantasizes about the southwest. Is it Southwest Detroit? Or the southwest US?

Fuck Off!

Another Shaggy 2 Dope song. I bit uptempo for Shaggy, but he sounds good on this. This would be a fun song in concert. I wonder why some of the songs on this album are over 3 minutes and others are less than 2 minutes.

Dead Body Man

From the Riddle Box album. I didn't understand the songs placement on the Riddle Box story, but here it fits.

Cotton Candy

This is from the Tunnel of Love album. I dug this song the first time I heard it. All about sexual innuendo. 

17 Dead

From Beverly Kills 50187. I like when ICP goes social-economic. But the message gets lost often among the horrorcore filler, anti-redneck screeds, and sexual innuendo songs. Very confusing.

Request #6 [(2 dog)]

2 Dog drops a message on ICP's answering machine.

The Neden Game (Album Version)

This is a new song to me. ICP is on a gameshow answering a girl's questions, a la The Dating Game. I think this was a preview of the next album. "I would order you a drink, a stir it with my dick" is a great line. I like when ICP gets randomly creative. But again, their blending of several messages throws me off. Maybe that's why I like the EPs better than the joker card's albums thus far.

House of Wonders + Mike Clark Bitchin'

This is another new song that I haven't heard before. Violent J raps about how he doesn't like a preppy dude. Then the chorus goes into a carnival chant. Shaggy 2 Dope rhymes about turning a woman who did him wrong into a member of the freak show.

The song and album closes with their producer Mike Clark yelling at ICP for not paying him for this album and their previous albums.

Overall, this was interesting. I am not sure the point of a "greatest hits" album after only being around for a few years. This was definitely more of a mixtape than a greatest hits. I think if it was a mixtape in the traditional hip-hop sense, it would have flowed better. Here, it was just a bunch of clips of songs. I can't think this is a must-have for ICP fans, but real ICP fans need it in their collection.

Friday, August 7, 2020

The Ramen Noodle Museum



As a college freshman, broke and carefree, my diet usually consisted of Cap'n'Crunch in the morning, Pop Tarts for lunch, and some brand of cheap beer and even cheaper fast food for dinner. On those rare days that I couldn't afford to buy food from the local Taco Bell or Burger King, I hit up my pantry's supply of Ramen Noodles.

Thanks to Japundit.com (via Global Voices Online), I learned the birthplace of my delectable freshman dish. My new mecca: The Ramen Noodle Museum.

Unfortunately, the website is in Japanese, so I have no idea what it says. According to Japundit's description however,

"At the museum, you can see different varieties of Cup Ramen from around the world, like broccoli ramen from Germany or curry flavored noodles from India, which are made without the soup base so that the noodles can be eaten with the hands, as is the custom in that country. Cup Ramen in all Western countries have noodles that are shorter than in Japan, to make them easier to eat with a fork.

The museum sports a virtual reality room showing what happens as ramen is made, from the viewpoint of the raman itself, and afterwards you can mosey up to the Instant Ramen Bar and order some ramen with custom toppings that you can specify."


I'm sold. Eating Ramen Noodles in Osaka would be like drinking Olde English in England, eating pizza at the Leaning Tower, or chowing down on French Toast in France.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Not So Serious Movie Review: Carter's Army aka The Black Brigade (1970)



Tonight's cinematic adventure was Carter's Army aka The Black Brigade (1970). This made for TV movie stars an early Richard Pryor and a young Billy Dee Williams as well as an appearance by Paul Mooney and a guy who looks just like Robert DeNiro. It is also written by Aaron Spelling, the guy who brought us Charlie's Angels and 90210.

Despite that young talent, this is still a low budget made for tv movie about a white officer who takes a rag-tag group of neglected black soldiers to secure a bridge so US forces can cross before the Nazis blow it up.

If you are watching for a war movie, you will be disappointed. From that perspective, its really bad.

If you think it will be hilarious because it has Richard Pryor, you will also be disappointed. Its not that kind of role. But this is a good story about black soldiers fighting for respect and succeeding in spite of - not because of - their white leadership and the unchanging system.

Grade: 4 young stars out of 5.

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Universe is an Asshole

Here is a poem from many years ago. I think I wrote this for a poetry class.

Sometimes I wander the neighborhood
tickled
(or is it pickled?)

Drifting between actual and self reality
Oblivious

The world makes no attempt to reclaim me
Thoughts travel through my head
like driftwood

There
Goes
One
Now

GOT IT!

Examine this thought nugget
Fool’s gold

A fortune from a stale fortune cookie
This insight

What else besides our final frontier
contains dark emptiness,
gases,
solids?

THE UNIVERSE IS A GIANT ASSHOLE.

Monday, July 20, 2020

An Update on Transportation and My Prophetic Ways



(I wrote this in 2010, but it is still relevant, so I am reposting it.)

Way back when this blog was but a little tyke, before I settled into whatever groove I have going on, before the days of poetry, emotional psychoanalysis, and tales of yore, I wrote what I thought was a really interesting post on my thoughts on the future of public transportation.

Quick synopsis: I think the ideas behind transportation will change as people want to text and talk instead of drive. We will see more public transportation and less cultural emphasis on automobiles.

That was my theory in February, 2010.

Since then, we've seen a bit more movement in that direction.

In June of 2010, we found out that driving and texting is not just a teen issue, meaning the idea of steady conversation has permeated other demographics.

Then we learned Generation Y is not as car-enthused as previous generations. But they are definitely more communications-enthused.

In October of 2010, it was reported that Google is making an automatic car based on Google Maps. A car that drives itself. So people can talk, text, or surf the web while driving. Through Google, of course.

Then another survey was released that said 25% of all vehicle crashes are because of gadgets.

No law is going to stop that. It's funny that people compare driving and texting to drinking and driving. I think you could compare trying to regulate people's communication habits while driving to prohibition. The government can't stop it. No matter how many tickets, no matter how many signal-killing doodads they use, they will not prevent people from attempting to communicate on the roads.

The need to talk has replaced the need to travel.

Local governments should work with Google or maybe some soon-to-be-out-of-work military contract companies to develop people movers such as the Google car or the things that the overly obese people in Wall-E move around in.

That would be cool.