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…

Lake Placid: Legacy

I told you so. The Final Chapter is never, EVER, the final chapter. There’s always another chapter. And sometimes, even another chapter after that!

The film starts in Las Vegas, with some kind of break-in, but not to steal something. They were hanging a banner. Whooooooa, what a bunch of badasses. I think they are supposed to be a group of environmental activists? In any case, the whole crew is dared to go explore a secret facility…full of giant fucking killer crocodiles.

I don’t know what the fuck was even going on the rest of the movie – it was so fuck-all boring! At one point, Joey Pants showed up, tied to a chair. No toupee, which was really weird. That just goes to show how low-budget this shitty film was – they couldn’t afford a toupee for Joe Pantoliano.

Were these even the same crocodiles from the other 5 movies? I found no relationship at all between this movie and the other five. No game wardens, no hillbillies, no mean old crocodile-feeding ladies – just a bunch of kids getting eaten, one by one. Holy fuck, were they trying to reboot the franchise? What assholes! Much like the horrible Leprechaun reboot, they left out everything good about the franchise. Assholes!

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

Why did Sharknado 4 have to open with a Star Wars-esque opening crawl? Was it because they gave Tara Reid a Light Saber hand?

First there was a shark sandnado in Vegas, then a shark bouldernado in the Grand Canyon, followed by a shark oilnado/firenado in Texas. A shark lightningnado heads toward Kansas. Cue Wizard of Oz references…and a cownado. The lightningnado heads towards a nuclear power plant in Ohio…and becomes a shark nuclearnado. The grand finale takes place all the way in Niagara Falls…Wait, how did that baleen whale get into the Sharknado? And the baby shark nipple defibrillators…uhhhh…the end? At least they set it up for a sequel…Sharknado in France.

Adding Gary Busey to the mix was a stroke of genius. I didn’t think there was any more crazy that could be added to the mux, but I was wrong.

I was disappointed that Tara Reid wasn’t killed off in the last one, but I technically, I guess she DID die. Grumble, grumble…

The cameos came fast and furious: Carrot Top, Vince Neil, Wayne Newton, Adrian Zmed, Dr. Drew, Xfinity Cable Remote Controls, Al Roker, Bud Bundy, Jillian Barberie, Gilbert Gottfried, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Dan Yeager (Leatherface) and Caroline Williams (Stretch), Stacey Dash, Christine (the car), Steve Guttenberg (his character crossover from Lavalantula), Comic Con, Paul Shaffer, the biggest ball of yarn in the world, Lloyd Kaufman!!! (one of my idols), Gena Lee Nolin and some other Baywatch skank…did I miss any?

The whole family agreed that this one was better than the third one, which was previously the best one. Although it was mostly ridiculously predictable, there were a few WTF moments that had a tiny spark of genius, like the Christine cameo. I didn’t catch any other Stephen King references, it just seemed out of place, which made me love it all the more. Just a total, “fuck you, we’re going for it” moment. But isn’t Sharknado itself a whole spectacle of “fuck you, we’re going for it”?

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?

  

Blast Vegas

Poor Frankie Muniz…it’s come to this.

Has anyone else noticed that the cute child stars that are able to play kids well into young adulthood, appear to skip young adulthood? One day, they don’t look a day over 15…then overnight…BAM…45 years old. Think of Edward Furlong, who is already playing “dad” roles. That’s what happened to Frankie Muniz. On the bright side, at least he didn’t “Corey Haim” and go straight from cute teen to middle aged lesbian.

Frankie plays a balding college student on a Vegas Spring Break trip. Of all the shenanigans possible in Vegas, his douchey friends manage to unleash an ancient Egyptian curse, which results in feeble special effects lifted directly from The Mummy…so the the sand-snake-face thing special effects were cutting edge back in the 90s. Oh…and they also stole the CGI tiger from Life of Pi. Or was it a nod to The Hangover? It would have been funnier if it was one if Siegfried & Roy’s white tigers…

I almost forgot – the other “name” star in Blast Vegas is Barry Bostwick. Yes, THAT Barry Bostwick. Dammit, Janet. He didn’t even sing.

Boring as fuck and all the casino scenes were obviously filmed in the same casino with the same carpet and wooden Indian. Don’t bother watching this one.

The Other Guys

A few years ago, we went to Vegas for our anniversary. We stayed at The Flamingo. One morning, as we were leaving for breakfast, the front of the hotel was blocked off – they were filming a movie! All I could see was a battered red Prius on the back of a flatbed truck. The security guard told us that they were filming a scene about a guys in a car that got shipped across country and that The Rock was in the movie. We milled around for a while, waiting to see if there was gonna be any action, but the nickel slots were calling to me, so we wandered off. I had totally forgotten about the incident…until I was watching The Other Guys!

Will Ferrell is funny again…why didn’t anyone tell me? I was sure that he had “Eddie Murpheyed” himself after Land of the Lost and Megamind, but Ferrell’s role as a pimpin’ accountant cop was second only to Frank the Tank.

Was Marky Mark wearing a wig? Because he totally looked like a Sabotage-era Beastie Boy. He was HILARIOUS, but he is hit or miss with me. Except for Boogie Nights, he’s pretty blah. I probably need to see The Fighter before I write him off.

Even though they were only in the film about 10 minutes, The Rock and Samuel L. Jackson were easily the best thing about the film. In fact, I’ve totally forgiven The Rock for Tooth Fairy. I can’t think of anything Samuel L. Jackson needs forgiveness for…although I haven’t seen Black Snake Moan, so I reserve the right to change my mind.

I’ve been wondering where Michael Keaton has been the last 10 years or so. According to IMDb, Toy Story 3, Herbie Fully Loaded and a bunch of shit I’ve never heard of. He was great as Captain Mauch – I’m glad he (and TLC) are back on my radar.

I vomited a little when I saw Anne Heche. Same thing happened when she showed up in Nip/Tuck. Blech.

How was this rated PG-13?

So, I’m thinking about trading my bad ass, gas guzzling Challenger in for a Prius….yeah, fuck a bunch of that.

 

Rango

Drugs. Watching Rango made me feel like I was on a large quantity of psychedelic drugs.

I’m not just saying that because Raoul Duke and the Great Red Shark made a cameo…although it helped. The whole film had a dark and trippy feel. It’s like the plot was a peyote fever dream left over after Burning Man. I can’t remember the last time I saw a “kid” movie that was so dark…The Last Unicorn maybe? It’s been a while since I’ve seen characters actually die in a “kid” movie. Even odder were the scenes in which Rango is suicidally depressed. Depression isn’t something you often see presented to kids, although I assume most kids just interpret it as being sad. I don’t actually mind my kids seeing dark films. In fact, I get kind of paranoid that they’ll end up kind of retarded if I keep letting them watch stuff like The Squeakquel and G-Force. It’s not that I’m worried about them watching stupid shit, because I watched stupid shit as a kid and it didn’t make me retarded – it’s that they watch so much lowest common denominator stupid shit. I really am concerned that all those happy fucking rodents will turn them into Mouthbreathers…or even worse, Teabaggers.

As I write this – in my air-conditioned fortress – Texas is experiencing its most severe drought in recorded history, so I can commiserate with Rango and the townspeople of Dirt. In fact, my yard would look like Dirt, if it wasn’t for the sprinkler system. Like Dirt, the mayor of my backyard is a turtle. Also like the townspeople of Dirt, we live in constant fear of snake attacks. (No Rattlesnakes yet, but plenty of Copperheads and Water Moccasins.) We have also been visited by an unkillable armadillo, a bald eagle and an unidentified pooping bandit. I guess the one thing we’re missing is a quixotic chameleon?

Rango does get overly friendly with a naked Barbie torso. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…Rango also does a bit of Ed Wood-esque cross dressing. No pirates, chocolate or barbering, though. I’ll have watch again to look for any references I may have missed.

Obviously, little ones aren’t going to get the references to Hunter S. Thompson or Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns or High Noon…come to think of it, I don’t know if my kids have ever even seen a western? I may need to rectify that soon…I remember being traumatized by The Searchers at about my son’s age…anyway, there’s a lot of stuff for adults to enjoy that will fly right over the kids’ heads. This is the kind of film that is so un-annoying that you actually buy it and hide the rest of the DVDs, just to get a break…but it’s not quite so good that you won’t get sick of it after 500 or so viewings.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Isn’t it sad that I enjoyed Percy Jackson more than Clash of the Titans?

Yeah, Percy Jackson was a silly, glossy film for kids, while Clash was a serious action/adventure film, but at least Percy Jackson wasn’t completely joyless. Sam Worthington didn’t look like he was enjoying his epic adventure AT ALL, while Logan Lerman seemed to be having a fucking blast…maybe because he got to eat lotus flowers and trip balls in a casino? What teenager wouldn’t love that?

In the same vein as Harry Potter, Percy Jackson is a popular series of young adult fiction. There are thematic similarities to Harry Potter – Percy has issues in the “real” world that are conveyed into strengths in the “mythical” world. His ADHD translates into fighting skills, while his Dyslexia enables him to read Ancient Greek. I can see how kids like that…all I had to read in Middle School was Nancy Drew and Sweet Valley High, is it any wonder I turned to Stephen King the summer after 6th grade? Kids are not likely to find the escapism they desire reading about perfect size 6 twins in a Fiat Spyder…however, I’m not so sure I’m on the “everybody’s special” bandwagon either, because face it – we’re NOT all special. To be continued…

It’s rated PG, so we let the kids watch it. I should have know that something in this film would make my six year old son totally lose his shit, but I was utterly surprised at what it was. Care to hazard a guess? It wasn’t the Harpies. It wasn’t the Minotaur or the Hydra. It wasn’t Cerberus or even the mild child abuse depicted. It was Medusa! He screamed at the TV every time Uma Thurman and her snake hair made an appearance. I admit, partially CGI Medusa Uma was much more fearsome than the entirely CGI Medusa in Clash of the Titans. He begged us to turn it off, but we believe in tough love, baby. He was fine after Percy cut her head off (please don’t tell me that’s a spoiler), although he did make unhappy noises every time her head made another appearance. For the record, no nightmares have been reported, so I don’t think he is permanently damaged.

A sequel is coming in 2012, so I’m guessing we’ll see it on cable sometime in 2013?

  

The Hangover

It had been sitting on my DVR since last May, I FINALLY got around to seeing The Hangover.

It’s everything I thought it would be…and more. Seriously, I couldn’t stop laughing. Even after hearing about it endlessly for almost 2 years, seeing all the press, hearing people quote it (“I am a one man wolf pack.”), all the spoofs, even a CSI: Miami rip-off episode…The Hangover exceeded my expectations of fuckedupedness. I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard since Old School. Coincidence? I think not…

The music was priceless. I was fucking shocked that the movie opened with Danzig…not that there’s anything wrong with that…I missed it while viewing, but there’s a Treat Her Right song on the soundtrack album. NOW THAT’S QUALITY MUSIC RIGHT THERE. I need to buy the soundtrack now. Oh yeah, The Dan Band was back again as well…

I just wanted to punch Bradley Cooper in the face. I don’t think it was just his douchey character Phil, either. I wanted to punch him in the face in Kitchen Confidential (yes, I am one of the eight people who actually watched that show) and I wanted to punch him in the face in Nip/Tuck (he played the TV star that broke his back trying to “Namaste” himself). I can’t think of anything else that I’ve seen him in, so maybe I only know his douchey side? I’ve got to admit though, if I was a widow, I’d totally fuck him in a Burger King bathroom and then deny it later.

I was a fan of Zach Galifianakis long before The Hangover…notwithstanding G-Force, of course. Since his second stint hosting SNL, he’s definitely proven himself as a comedy force…a force that is not afraid to show an unfortunate amount of skin. I wonder if he gets a lot of tail? For the record, I would not have sex with him, bathroom or otherwise.

I wouldn’t have sex with Ed Helms or Ken Jeong either. Justin Bartha…no way, he’s been tainted by an Olsen Twin, not sure which one. Mike Tyson…NO. Heather Graham…certainly, definitely yes. I’ll always have a soft spot for Annie.

Well…this review degenerated rather quickly. Let’s talk about the sequel…the boys go to Thailand…it seems like a money grab, but then again, I didn’t think Harold and Kumar could make the magic last, but they proved me wrong. Here’s to artistic integrity!

   

Vegas Vampires

Every once in a while, my husband will surprise me by DVRing horrible films for me to review. With a title like ‘Vegas Vampires,’ there’s no way he could pass this one up – it had to be total shit. In fact, it’s so shitty that I had to narrow it down to a top ten list.

10. The Title – how lazy can you get?

9. The Musical Cameo (K-Ci and Jo Jo) – they must have needed to fill screen time. There were a bunch of other rappers, too.

8. The Ugly Fat Baldwin Brother from Celebrity Rehab.

7. Only one scene with boobies – and it was 53 minutes into the fucking film.

6. The acting – so, so bad.

5. Blurring out all the logos on the cast’s clothes…and since they’re ALL rappers – that is every single article of clothing. Fucking irritating.

4. Zombies – why put zombies in a vampire movie? Or maybe they were vampire zombies – no, that doesn’t make any sense either.

3. The special effects – I think they used Photoshop.

2. The vampire hunting nun that rips off her habit to reveal a leather bustier – I am not making this up.

1. The Fred Williamson/Richard Roundtree vampire ass-kicking scene. (Actually, this scene was so cringeworthy that it was actually the best thing about the whole film.)

I could go on, but why?