Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino’s been raring to shoot a Western since probably birth, though it was most evident during Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2 which were essentially spaghetti-westerns disguised as kung-fu splatter fests. Each of the one-on-one fights (Elle vs. Bea is still my favorite), when boiled down to their base ingredients, were intense drawn out Sergio Leone-style showdowns with 14th century samurai swords substituted for 19th century pistols.

Interesting note: Jonah Hill just got hired today for a role in Django Unchained, which is weird because there’s already a theatrical trailer for the film and it’s premiering this Christmas. That post-production period is gonna be like 2 seconds long. I’m curious to find out how it will turn out, especially since Tarantino’s editor Sally Menke died two years ago on that hottest day ever in SoCal, September 27th, 2010, which was incidentally the absolute worst day to decide to go hiking.

-Sully

Moonrise Kingdom

Trailer for the new Wes Anderson movie. Looks like we’re all gonna die of quirkiness suffocation, but in a good way. By the looks of things, this is easily going to be the most Wes Anderson-y movie yet: intentional awkwardness, Bill Murray, widest angle lens ever, Jason Schwartzman, the color yellow, poetic souls and inane dialogue… yup we’ve hit just about everything on the Wes Anderson movie checklist.

-Sully

Cinema 2011 compilation

Movies, man.

-Sully

The Hobbit Trailer

Looks like it’s nerd movie trailer release week over here at Spitchtown.

Nerds are raging across the country right now. It’s 11:29pm on a Tuesday night and even now I can still hear faint awkward, breathy cackling outside. I’ve sporadically overheard the words, “Bilbo,” “Catwoman” “Gollum,” and “Joseph Gordon-Levitt” upwards of 200 times each. The nerds get a little too rowdy so you can’t blame me for breaking out the hose every 45 minutes or so. The water makes them choke and wheeze, rendering them from talking about The Dark Knight Rises and The Hobbit Part 1 for about 5 minutes on average. Which is better than nothing, I guess.

All bets are off if the next Spider-Man movie’s trailer drops tomorrow.

-Sully

The Kafkaesque Existences of Dil Pickles & Pluto

Kafkaesque-(adj.)- an eponym used to describe concepts, situations, and ideas which are reminiscent of the literary work of the Austro-Hungarian writer Franz Kafka. The term, which is quite fluid in definition, has also been described as ‘marked by a senseless, disorienting, often menacing complexity.’ It has transcended the literary realm to apply to real-life occurrences and situations that are incomprehensibly complex, bizarre, or illogical.

There’s a great scene in The Squid and the Whale where the protagonist kid played by Michael Cera Jr. (Jesse Eisenberg) is trying to impress this girl. He haughtily describes The Metamorphosis as ‘Kafkaesque.’ She immediately sees past the veneer of his pseudo-intellectualism: “Yeah no sh*t it’s Kafkaesque. That book was written by Franz Kafka.” Eisenberg’s ego is put through a meat grinder. His expression melts into that  of an immigrant who forgot his papers on the boat. It was like Joan of Arc getting tied to the stake, emotionally, but slightly more indie-drama in tone.

That has nothing to do with the rest of this post. Watch that movie though, it’s good.

Anyway, I bring up the term ‘Kafkaesque’ because it so accurately describes the following image, an image that pains me to even paste here:

Incidentally, this was drawn by Franz Kafka.

Let me break it down real quick:

a) Dil Pickles is a baby.

b) Tommy Pickles is a baby.

c) Chuckie, Phil and Lil. Babies.

d) Dil can’t talk because he’s too young or some bullsh*t.

Hey incompetent Rugrats writers: The whole premise of your cartoon is the fact that a gang of infants can talk amongst themselves and go on dangerous adventures while the negligent adults just hear gibberish. All of a sudden this new baby Dil pops out the womb and inexplicably possesses all the traits of an actual real-life baby. Can’t walk, can’t talk. Smart as a doorknob.

It’s always bugged me, occasionally to tears, how hypocritical Dil’s existence to the Rugrats canon is. Tommy is literally one years old and has an impeccable grasp of the English language, save for a few coy slang terms the writers loved to throw in as bones for the parents watching with their kids. But what am I supposed to make of Dil? Is he retarded?  When you look at him, he does resemble a slightly deformed/malnutritioned version of Tommy.

I never watched an episode of the Rugrats spinoff show All Grown Up because the idea of all those babies going on dates and playing school sports and stuff like that sickened me. So I never knew how Dil turned out.

Judging by this image, Dil turned out to be, in fact, retarded.

This situation reminds me of another Kafkaesque issue of one fictional character being incapable of speaking when they have every reason in the world to speak. I realize I’m beating a dead horse because people have been asking the same question for like three generations.

WHY DOES GOOFY TALK, WEAR CLOTHES AND WALK UPRIGHT WHILE PLUTO DISPLAYS ALL THE NORMAL MANNERISMS OF A REAL WORLD DOG??? THEY’RE BOTH DOGS LAST TIME WE CHECKED, WALT.

At least they’re both allowed to wear bandanas?

Again, it comes down to assuming Pluto’s retarded. It’s the only explanation.

But wait… Goofy’s always struck me as a bit retarded himself. His IQ likely hovers in the 50-60 range. Is Pluto just mega-retarded like those retards in Catfish who punched themselves in the face because they were so retarded? Is the intelligence gap between Goofy and Pluto a social commentary on the varying degrees of retardation? DISCLAIMER: This post throws around the word “retard” and its derivatives very generously. Retards should steer clear at all costs.

While we’re at it, how does Goofy even have a son? I’ve watched A Goofy Movie upwards of 7 times, and that’s accounting for just this week alone, and there isn’t a mother figure within a 200-foot radius of that thing. Was Goofy raped? Did Max just materialize out of thin air? Was Max adopted? If Roxanne ditches Max for Pluto, is that considered a taboo in this unholy land of dogs driving cars and sh*t?

It’s like running through an endless corn maze. Kafkaesque, indeed.

-Sully

Stuff that Currently Rules: My Dentist, FlyLo, Lucky Charms

Let’s just put going to the dentist in the top 5 worst, yet necessary, things to do with your time. I can’t speak on your dentist, but my old one in MA was a recurring character in my nightmares. Dude just scrapes your sh*t up with his freezing cold metal instruments and looks away half the time, like he’s always expecting something cooler to be going on elsewhere in the room.

My gums are infant-rabbit sensitive and they bleed all over the place, pretty much as soon as he shows me the tools he’ll be using. Five minutes into each appointment/scrapefest, my mouth morphs into that guy who gets blown in half at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan. It’s atrocious. The morphing process, I mean. The special effects are like mid-90s grade at best.

Since I’ve only had that one dentist my whole life, I didn’t have high expectations for my new one. Incidentally, his name was Dr. Payne. That’s not a terrible joke, he literally could have been a comic book villain with that name/occupation combo.

Bicuspids beware… it’s Dr. Payyyyyyyne. (Hunchback of Sigma?)

Anyway, I walk into the office— immediately skeptical. Guy’s got coke bottle glasses and a goofy Southern accent. Doesn’t seem particularly intelligent. Then again, neither do I, so we’re at a dead stalemate. Plus I have a goofy covered-up South Shore accent so we’re at a doubly intense stalemate. 

I sit in that awkward dentist chair thing as he fastens all the typical dentist accoutrement to me. He asks what I’m studying at college, I tell him screenwriting, then BAM. We discuss Stanley Kubrick’s filmography for an hour. Didn’t even notice he was working on my teeth. It was like when you’re little and you’re getting a shot and the doctor tells you to cough at the same time and the cough magically blankets the pain of the shot. Straight up David Blaine’d me. I was like, “No seriously, clean my teeth,” when he told me I was all set.

This dentist was a pop-culture savant. We played pseudo-intellectual tennis like pros, trading knowledge on trivia ranging from Kurt Vonnegut, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Woody Allen, Johannes Brahms and the Lewis and Clark expedition.

There wasn’t a proposed topic one of us would introduce that the other didn’t have 5 minutes of information to regurgitate. After I left the dentist’s office, I figured this dude must spend every waking moment he’s not scraping people’s teeth by huddling in a corner of the library and learning a little bit about every topic on earth so he would never be stumped by one of his patients.

He even knew about that black dude York who singlehandedly made the Lewis and Clark expedition possible. The indigenous Native-American tribes avoided confrontation with the group because they thought the hulking slave York was some kind of god. York doesn’t get his due in the history books because nobody wanted to give a slave that much credit. I’m not 100% sure where I first learned about York. I’m a *Crackedhead so that might explain it.

According to popular folklore, York is the genetically pristine amalgam of Jimi Hendrix, John Henry and Jules Winfield.

To top it off, my new dentist straight up gives me his stray copy of Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Couldn’t have been happier with the whole ordeal.

Sans-segue, I’ve been listening to a ton of Flying Lotus lately. He’s a beatmaker similar to J Dilla but much more skilled, if you ask me. Odds are you won’t, but still.

Flying Lotus is on the shortlist for Coolest Person Alive.

FlyLo’s probably most known for his Adult Swim beats and the fact that he’s Alice Coltrane’s nephew or something like that. Really, really talented DJ; his stuff is a mixture of jazz, hip-hop and dubstep. His albums, 2008’s Los Angeles and last year’s Cosmogramma, are classics. And not just for potheads.

He has a song on one of his demos called “Luckiest Charm,” which while listening to made me ponder what exactly defines the ‘luckiest charm.’ It would almost have to be the last marshmallow you save to the very end in a bowl right?

One of these is going to be the luckiest. Likely a rainbow one.

*Crackedhead (n): An individual who spends so much time reading Cracked articles that they frequently spew half-remembered nuggets of trivia and can’t even recall where or when they first picked up said nuggets.

-Sully

Teddy vs. Brutus

I very rarely get bored. If I do, I just dwell on something interesting and the boredom instantly vanishes. Like, how the heck do people constantly get bored when there’s things like quantum theory and the box score of Space Jam to ponder on for hours at a time? Are people’s brains really that inattentive that they lack the ability to amuse it for even a few minutes merely by thinking about anything?

As a last ditch effort to cure boredom, I’ve recently taken to making my dog Teddy feel very uncomfortable by physically placing him on top of tables, chairs and mechanical toy ponies. Mostly because it looks funny.

This is what my summer has succumbed to.

Teddy has the strength of a popsicle stick house, the intellect of a toddler with Down’s Syndrome, and resembles a fluffy Oreo. Not to mention his name is ‘Teddy,’ a tough-luck trait that certainly isn’t helping his case. You think a dog named ‘Brutus’ would allow himself to be subjected to the top of a toy pony just for the sheer visual comedy of it? Yeah right.

I don’t know a ton about psychology, but I’m sure there’s some theory floating around about conforming to the perceptions society has of your name. I’m not going to look it up, but I’m just going to force Cooley’s “Looking Glass Theory” to work with what I’m talking about. If Teddy’s name was Brutus, not only would he disallow me from throwing him around like a stuffed animal, I’d be spotting him at the gym and he’d be bringing home human girls like Brian on Family Guy.

While ‘Teddy’ bites at and playfully jumps around flashlight beams in vain, ‘Brutus’ would quit the games and simply catch that light once and for all.

Here’s a little social experiment for the spitches out there to do for homework:

1. Knock up the nearest girl, preferably unrelated to you. Name your kid, “Wolfgang.” If it’s a girl, start over.

2. Wash, rinse and repeat. Name this one, “Lesley.”

Come back to me in 25 years. 9 times out of 10, Wolfgang will have 18 inch biceps while Lesley is a co-admin of a Jane Austen fan page on Facebook.

Name psychology is one of those things everyone ignores but should be talked about for at least 2 hours a day. When I first got wind of all the crazy principles and theories in my psychology class at UMass, I realized how malleable and impressionable the human mind is. Needless to say, my eyes were opened and I was more freaked out than Simba when he received his first Circle of Life talk.

http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090727165949/disney/images/archive/5/5e/20100525234458%21Mufasa.jpg

"…after we eat the antelope, we sh*t it out into the grass. Then the other antelope eat the grass. Then they sh*t right back in the grass…"

-Sully

Muppet Treasure Island: An Honest Review

(Editor’s note: I’ve been meaning to review this film for some time. Before I knew it, 15 years snuck by. I finally have 20 minutes to kill, so we’re good to go.)

I rewatched Muppet Treasure Island for the first time in 10 years yesterday.

What? You can’t blame me for letting my brain melt. It’s summer and I haven’t had real human interaction in years. I’m like Tom Hanks in Castaway— I have a 3 foot beard and my best friend is a volleyball. I’ve yet to stoop to the level of whoring myself out on SpitchTown, but give it a few more days and who knows?

Anyway, I had a life-changing epiphany: Muppet Treasure Island is the most fantastic piece of art ever put on celluloid. It makes The Tree of Life, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and La Dolce Vita look like somebody smeared dog turds on strips of Kodak filmstock, forced the mess into a projector, and called it a day.

I mean, we’re talking about a film where puppets and humans cohabitate on and cooperatively maintain a seafaring vessel and no one ever once addresses the fact that the former needs other humans’ arms inserted far up into their body cavities to even speak, let alone hoist the main sail.

Talk about living in a world free of prejudice. You’d think one of the more loose-tongued boatswains would’ve let fly a stray comment about Fozzy Bear’s wire, felt and glue substituting for a circulatory system. But no.

Muppet Treasure Island doesn’t see race. It doesn’t see a lot of things.

Simply put, it very well may be the best movie of all time.

Or at least the best movie starring Kevin Bishop (2nd from right)

I was legitimately caught off guard over how funny the movie still is. It was amusing when I was 7, but I realize now that the majority of the jokes went over my head at the time. One need look no further than the roll call scene for an example of the film’s deadpan sense of humor. Seriously, watch it.

If you were a fan of The Muppets as a kid, you’re aware of those two sarcastic old curmudgeons who hurl insults from the balcony. They make appearances as gargoyles on the front of the ship in this film. Their humor is (and always has been) extremely self-referential and self-deprecating, going so far as to make fun of Muppet Treasure Island itself 2-3 times.

Statler: “‘Take a cruise,’ you said. ‘See the world,’ you said. Now here we are, stuck on the front of this stupid ship.”
Waldorf: “Well, it could be worse. We could be stuck in the audience.”

Rizzo and Gonzo might be the best characters in the whole thing, though. I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island twice and I totally forgot they were major characters. At one point, Rizzo invites 15-20 rats decked out with cameras and Hawaiian shirts onto the ship, telling them it’s a pirate cruise voyage (to make a quick buck in case the treasure map turns out to be phony). For the rest of the film, these tourist rats sit idly by and witness the dramatic events of the main narrative, vaguely amused and taking pictures, as if it’s all just part of their vacation.

The cinematography is superb. The acting is perfect, especially Tim Curry as Long John Silver and Kermit the Frog as Abraham Smollett. Every moment in the script feels genuine, especially Silver (masquerading as a lowly cook) overtaking the ship by having his men detain the ‘good’ crew while they’re at their weakest.

A schizophrenic teddy bear and two gay doctors somehow couldn’t withstand a dozen pirates, half of them muppets, half of them 200lb+ humans.

As soon as the credits began to roll, I raced to the nearest computer to look up how many Oscars it was awarded in 1996.

Not surprisingly, IMDB tells me Muppet Treasure Island raked in 11 Academy Awards, including Best Song for “My Heart Will Go On,” by Celine Dion.

Long story short, just go get a tattoo of this movie’s poster on your lower back as soon as possible.

Final Grade: WHOA.

-Sully

DiCaprio Could Play Villain in Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’

From A.V. Club:

by Sean O’Neal June 8, 2011 

Like Martin Scorsese and many thirtysomething women, Quentin Tarantino has a thing for Leonardo DiCaprio, a torch he’s carried since attempting to scuff up the actor’s likable rogue image by giving him the Hans Landa role in Inglourious Basterds (which eventually went to Christoph Waltz). But Tarantino may soon get his wish to work with DiCaprio on Django Unchained, as the two are once again in talks about his playing a villainous role, that of Calvin Candie, the “charming but ruthless proprietor of Candyland, a despicable club in Mississippi where female slaves are exploited as sex objects and males are pitted against each other in ‘mandingo’ style death matches.” Terrible things happen in the shadow of the Gumdrop Mountains.

If he takes the part—and so far he’s just in early talks—DiCaprio would face off against the freed slave Django, who’s working his bloody way to Candie in order to rescue his wife with the help of a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter, most likely played by Christoph Waltz, just to bring things full circle. And while previous reports suggested that Will Smith was in the lead to take on the role of Django, Deadline now believes that’s a “long shot,” which should certainly help the film save on its trailer budget. Other contenders reportedly include Idris Elba, Jamie Foxx, and even Chris Tucker, whose small part in Jackie Brown proved that he was capable of doing things other than shrieking at Jackie Chan. Anyway, all of this is still very tentative, and so far only Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson seem like locks, the latter as Candie’s valet who “keeps the slaves in line.” Yes, this could end up being a film where Leonardo DiCaprio bosses around Samuel L. Jackson and squares off against Chris Tucker. And somehow it will still be pretty good.



Oh snap.

See, rumors like this, I just eat up.

I’m an above-average Tarantino fan. I have nothing but love in my heart for Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction. I thought the Kill Bill films could have been edited down into one 2.5 hour movie, instead of two movies with 4 drawn-out, overstuffed hours of total content. But so far everything I’ve heard about Django Unchained—Tarantino’s next project—is downright mouthwatering.

From the shortlist of actors who are in talks to play the lead of Django, Idris Elba jumps out at me. Dude is a bonafide B.A. He’s most known for playing Stringer Bell in the gritty HBO series The Wire, which is reason enough for me to treat the guy like a minor deity. If Tarantino’s a casual fan, or has so much as even sniffed The Wire, Elba has to be the frontrunner for Django. He should also play The Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 3 if Uma Thurman isn’t available.

The best 60 hours you can possibly waste.

-Sully

The Hangover….or was it The Hangover 2

I’m gonna warn you right now before you start reading this that this poorly written and grammatical error filled excuse for an article is absolutely riddled with spoilers for The Hangover 2. Wait, I take that back, I guess something can’t be a spoiler if everybody already knows it. And whether or not you’ve seen The Hangover 2, if you’ve seen The Hangover than you already know the entire story. Seriously, the plot is exactly the same, and amazingly, nothing original happens for the full 252 mins (that’s how long it is, I IMDB’d that ish so don’t second guess me).

Now, I’m a firm believer that humor can be broken down into a mathematical equation. If you don’t believe me, maybe you wanna double check with Bo Burnham, cuz his song “New Math” currently has 7,518,194 views on youtube (I didn’t look that one up, that was just a guess). Listen to the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obIGsb-IZMo . With that being said, I think The Hangover can be broken down into a formula to determine why it’s so funny, and this means that The Hangover 2 subsequently equals The Hangover. Aside for a couple of small variable changes, the two movies are worth the same value. As best as I can figure (and my math skills are on par with rain man your average retarded guy) here is the comedic equation for The Hangover=The Hangover 2

The Hangover=The Hangover 2 (+ Bangkok - Las Vegas + Mike Tyson Singing - Dan Finnerty Singing + Facial Tattoos - Missing Teeth + She Male Strippers - Regular Strippers + Monkey with Vest - Baby named Carlos)(Racism)(Increased Nudity)

That equation basically summarizes every difference between the two movies. Obviously there are very few, but in all honesty, I still liked The Hangover 2. Todd Phillips seems to really have captured the idea that “if it was funny once, why wouldn’t it be funny again?” He was right too, it was hilarious. It was undoubtedly raunchier than the first and arguably the least creative movie since 2 Fast 2 Furious (wait a minute, someone just informed me that they actually made 13 more identical Fast and Furious movies, so I guess The Hangover 2 is the least original film since Fast and Furious 15, whatever), but despite all this Zach Galifianakis was still hilarious, Bradley Cooper was still gorgeous, Ed Helms was still freakin out, and Justin Bartha was still……, well he was still in National Treasure, I’m not sure what he’s bringing to Wolf Pack, but oh well.

-Joshua