Army of the Dead

 

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I never thought – as a parent – that I’d have to warn my children of the dangers of “road head” over dinner, but here we are in 2021 and Zack Snyder just made me have that conversation!

Sure, there are plotholes you could drive a hummer through…but Army of the Dead is a load of fun, from beginning to end! I am absolutely a Vegas aficionado and thoroughly enjoyed the work they did to make fallen Vegas feel real. The credits were absolutely the best part of the whole film. I giggled like a madman as soon as I heard Richard Cheese – welcome back from Dawn of the Dead! All of the music was on point. Not only was my favorite Elvis song, Suspicious Minds, featured prominently, but there were some spicy covers I’d never heard before. Excuse me while I pause and make an Amazon Music  playlist for this movie…

No spoilers, but it was a TREAT to see Garret Dillahunt play against type in a genre he’s so known for. He became the absolute heart and soul of Fear the Walking Dead and the show just won’t be the same without him. I also never knew how much I needed to see a zombie tiger, a definite Walking Dead missed opportunity. In fact, there were a few other nods to The Walking Dead: Easy Peazy Lemon Squeezy, Dieter’s bat. I also loved that Army of the Dead brought us an entirely new type of zombies – smart, fucking zombies! That comma was intentional, because these zombies are smart and HAVE SEX. Although we don’t get to see it…trust me, they are totally doing it. (I just remembered the zombie sex in Dead Alive! Oops!)

Let’s talk about the late addition of Tig Notaro to the cast…her character was one of the funniest and I really cannot imagine Chris D’Elia in her place. The technology was so seamless that we wouldn’t have known she was added in later…can we please digitally replace all sexual predators with Tig Notaro? Let’s make #tigtoo happen!

I’m looking forward to the inevitable sequel, but also the other pieces of this universe. I’ve read that Zack Snyder is building a whole “Dead” universe for Netflix, including an Anime prequel about the fall of Vegas and a prequel about Dieter’s safecracking career. One can hope that James Gunn finds some time in his busy schedule to collaborate…

The Frighteners

 

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I love introducing the kids to my favorite horror films. I love introducing the kids to my favorite directors. The Frighteners is a horror film by one of my favorite directors – Peter Jackson. What’s not to love?

I’m fairly certain that I saw The Frighteners in the theater. Or maybe I didn’t? I’ve seen it so many times since then though, it’s kind of blurry. At the time though, the special effects were cutting edge. Unlike lots of 90s films, the effects still hold up. Bless you, Peter Jackson.

There’s so much to love about The Frighteners. Michael J. Fox in his last major film role. Jeffrey Combs being creepy as fuck. Jake Busey, also being creepy as fuck. John Astin, father of the future Hobbit. R. Lee Ermey as…R. Lee Ermey. My daughter was excited about Dee Wallace Stone, who is apparently starring in some Disney Chanbel Show she watches. Whatever happened to Trini Alvarado, AKA young Andi McDowell?

I also think that this film continued my obsession with ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper.’ For sure, it started with the miniseries of The Stand, but then this film ended with it…and wasn’t it in Scream? And then ‘More Cowbell’ and then Six Feet Under…that song can do no wrong.

I love the contours of Peter Jackson’s career. From his start with Feebles, through the camp horror of Bad Taste and Dead Alive and then the ethereal beauty of Heavenly Creatures, Jackson makes a pit stop here in big budget horror before his forays into the Tolkien universe. I’m really intrigued by his newest project, a 3D documentary of WWI.

Viva Las Vegas

What better way to prepare my kids for their first Las Vegas vacation than forcing them to watch Viva Las Vegas?Actually, Fear and Loathing or The Hangover would be a better way, but I can’t in good conscience have an eight and five year old watch either of those films…or can I? Hmmmmm…

I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen Viva Las Vegas before…I knew it would be cheesy, but I wasn’t prepared for Velveeta Nagasaki level of total cheese meltdown.

It was fun seeing old Las Vegas exteriors. As a frequent Vegas visitor, I recognized more signs from the Neon Boneyard than what’s actually still lit in Vegas. I was delighted to see The Stratosphere in the background of many of the shots. The Strat was one of the hotels we stayed in when we got married in Vegas.

Ann-Margret dances like she’s having a seizure. Maybe it was a bad case of the “Elvis Fever”? My five year old daughter spontaneously got up and started dancing during the Roulette Wheel dance scene. She has the “Elvis Fever” too!

I forgot that all movies from the 50s and 60s end with a wedding. Where there’s sexual tension, there must be wedding bells…was it fear that film audiences would riot if they couldn’t go home fantasizing about Elvis and Ann-Margret consummating their lust in a marital bed?

  

Lilo & Stitch

That blue thing is EVIL.

Pure, unadulterated evil. I went to see Episode II a couple of weeks ago, and as I was walking down the hallway of the lobby, I swear that little bastard tried to jump out of the poster and get me. All sweet and innocent as you walk by, but then just as you pass…HOLY SHIT…here come the claws!

At first look, it may seem as if Disney has gone off the deep end. Elvis, surfing, Hawaii and aliens – which one of these things is not like the other? But after you watch it, you realize that Disney is finally going back to it’s roots. Not only is Lilo & Stitch nothing like the last decade or so of Disney crap (the last Disney cartoon I saw in the theater was Aladdin!) – it’s actually an original story. I can’t remember the last time Disney animated an original story! (The Lion King, maybe – was it original? Don’t know, don’t care.) Also gone is most of the adult humor found in the last several Disney toons. I love Robin Williams’ genie just as much as the next guy, but Disney proved they can still captivate young and old alike without resorting to Woody Allen impressions.

Not only was the story original, but the animation was beautiful to boot. I couldn’t detect a kilobyte of computer animation – if it was there, it was well hidden. The watercolor backgrounds were unique, although they started to remind me of touristy hawaiian shirt by the end. I read somewhere that Dumbo was the last Disney film to use watercolor backgrounds…

Of course, I am NOT an Elvis fan, but I have to admit he’s growing on me. I am still not sure why Elvis was picked as Lilo’s favorite singer…but really, who else could it have been? No one wants to see a NSYNC alien. Now all I have to do is convince Russ to let me hire a midget Elvis impersonator for the wedding.

Last Friday, before seeing the movie on Monday, I got a Happy Meal…yes, just to get a Stitch toy…I was disappointed to get what appeared to be a Marcellus Wallace action figure. No shit. “I’m prepared to scour the the Earth for that motherfucker. If Stitch goes to Indochina, I want a nigger waiting in a bowl of rice ready to pop a cap in his ass.” Turns out it was ‘Cobra Bubbles’ – the child welfare guy…voiced by Ving Rhames…I could tell he wanted to get medeival on Stitch’s ass!

I should add an extra star to the rating for including one of the Kids in the Hall…but I promised that The Wizard of Oz would be the only five star film. I’ll let you guess which Kid it is.

For the record, that little blue thing is still evil. EVIL!