Archive for the ‘Blog Post (short for weblog)’ Category

The Shape of Evil: confronting darkness through the ‘Halloween’ series

Friday, October 26th, 2018

A new publication called Drugstore Culture recruited me to write some stuff for them, so over the past month or so I rewatched the entire HALLOWEEN series (including the two Rob Zombie ones) and wrote about it as a whole.

This is pretty different from my usual approach. I tried to dig non-judgmentally into the symbols of each chapter (even RESURRECTION!) to find deeper meaning we can apply to our current world or to things I’ve been going through in my life. I was surprised how much I found in III and 6, actually. It’s kind of a weird piece I think but perhaps obsessive in an unusual way, and hopefully some of you will like it.

By the way, I filed this before seeing the new one, so the bad news is I should’ve added a few lines about it, the good news is there are no spoilers for that particular one. Just ten other movies.



Summer of ’98: The Thrilling Conclusion

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

Usually my idea of a good movie summer is one with a bunch of really high quality big budget action/sci-fi type movies. Popular entertainment that we can get excited about and enjoy together and talk about as a collective cultural experience – summer blockbusters, popcorn movies, the sons of JAWS. For example a famously great movie summer was 1982, which gave us CONAN THE BARBARIAN, ROCKY III, POLTERGEIST, STAR TREK II, E.T., BLADE RUNNER and THE THING, among others. Or what about 1990, which gave us TOTAL RECALL, DICK TRACY, GREMLINS 2, DIE HARD 2, DARKMAN and THE WITCHES. There have been some good ones before.

1998 wasn’t really one of those good ones. Two of the big event movies, GODZILLA and LOST IN SPACE, were widely hated garbage. Another one, ARMAGEDDON, is highly influential garbage. Its rival space debris epic, DEEP IMPACT, is kinda dull. Most people despised THE AVENGERS. Even in the animation category it’s a shitty summer, with Disney’s mediocre MULAN and Warner Brothers’ embarrassingly bad QUEST FOR CAMELOT.

I think the best traditional summer movie of the year is MASK OF ZORRO, a hit at the time that’s not discussed much anymore. In the R-rated world the best and most influential was obviously BLADE, a surprise smash released in the supposed dumping ground of August. I also think LETHAL WEAPON 4 is a pretty impressive if messy and offensive action sequel. But that’s about it for those types of movies. (read the rest of this shit…)

A long road

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Friends, I need to write something very personal and sad right now. Some of it will include things about my family and my age that I usually try to be vague about, but fuck it. I’m really only writing this to get it out of my system, so if you didn’t come here to be bummed out or to read my fuckin diaries, that’s perfectly all right. I recommend instead this review from last year of STEELE JUSTICE starring Martin Kove.

But the thing is my mom died Monday morning. It wasn’t sudden, and yet, of course, it kinda seemed like it was. This has been a trying half decade for me. After my dad’s Alzheimer’s was severe enough that he had to be moved into a facility, but before he passed away, Mom tripped and hit her head. Just a normal clumsy accident, didn’t think much of it, but the raccoon eyes that developed the next day helped convince her she should get checked for a concussion. The damage from the fall wasn’t severe, but there was something else they noticed: a brain tumor. A huge one. The surgeon who would soon remove it described it as “the mother of all tumors” and “the size of a grapefruit.” (read the rest of this shit…)

I did another podcast: Zebras in America

Wednesday, August 8th, 2018

Hey everybody, it’s another chance to destroy my carefully cultivated aura of mysteriousness! The podcast Zebras in America invited me to be on their new episode, so I did, and it was fun. I’m afraid to listen to it, but I remember questions we addressed included what is Jean Claude Van Damme’s best movie, was Dave Bautista a good wrestler, is Bruce Willis phoning it in, should The Rock make better movies, who are my favorite rappers, and how do I know about Ram El Zee. I like these guys alot because they knew most of the DTV action movies I dropped but also are way more knowledgeable than me about art movies. From what I can gather, two of Marcus’s biggest interests are pro-wrestling and the films of Claire Denis, and obviously I respect that kind of range.

Note: when listing favorite West Coast rappers I forgot Digital Underground, Xzibit, and I think even Snoop.

ZEBRAS IN AMERICA EPISODE 66 is on iTunes and stuff or you can check it out HERE.

P.S. I just now figured out that the title is a reference to FREDDY GOT FINGERED.

McQueen/Marvin/Bronson/Brown film series in New York

Friday, March 30th, 2018

If you’re in New York, the Quad (I say as if I know what that is) is running a great film series from today through April 12th, called “Action Figures: Prime Cuts From McQueen, Marvin, Bronson, and Brown.” I know this because the good people at the Village Voice thought of me to do the write-up on it. I must be doing something right in life, huh?

They’re showing DEATH WISH, THE DIRTY DOZEN, EL CONDOR, EMPEROR OF THE NORTH, THE GETAWAY, THE GREAT ESCAPE, HARD TIMES, HELL IS FOR HEROES, THE KILLERS, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, PRIME CUT, THE PROFESSIONALS, THE SAND PEBBLES, SLAUGHTER and THE STONE KILLER. Almost all of them are on 35mm. I watched a few of the ones I hadn’t seen before as preparation, so I’ll have reviews of those in the next week or two.

Unfortunately DEATH HUNT got cut from the lineup, so I had to lose a paragraph about Bronson getting into a bunch of shit to save a dog as an example of badass juxtaposition. But you can add that one in if you’re playing along at home.

Anyway, here is the Village Voice piece. Thanks!

Anonymity: The Crackdown (my appearance on the Pink Smoke podcast)

Monday, March 5th, 2018

I spent years trying to be mysterious and ambiguous in an age when everyone was anxious to expose their every pore and playlist online. It was mostly fun and mostly worked well to build an aura around me or something. It was a philosophy, but also a gimmick and a crutch. So I’m glad a few years ago I got an offer I couldn’t turn down that involved appearing in public. It was fun and flattering and inspired me to believe more in what I could accomplish. It changed my mind.

But I’m also conscious that it might be horrible for a long time reader to see or hear me and think “that’s not who I pictured writing all that.” It’s gotta be disorienting. So you don’t have to listen to me on this podcast if you don’t want to. I’m not gonna make you. But it’s there. You have the option.

I will have a review of the new DEATH WISH for you soon, but here you can hear me talk through it with John and Chris on the Pink Smoke podcast a few hours after I saw the movie on Saturday. I think I stepped on the intro and fumbled a few questions but I probly did okay ’cause these two carried me with their great knowledge and insights about the films discussed.

Thank you, Pink Smoke, I had a great time.


Oh, by the way, this is HEAVY SPOILERS, we did not hold anything back

Oscar Preview 2018

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

The Oscars are coming up Sunday. Yes, I know it doesn’t matter who wins, but I enjoy watching the awards and I think they’re a good reflection of the aspirations and values of the people in this business we follow because we love (some of) what they create.

For a few years now I’ve made it a tradition to watch all of the nominated best pictures. This year, mostly by accident, I also saw all of the best actor and best actress nominees, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. So I wanted to put together links to the ones I reviewed and thoughts on the ones that I didn’t. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern’s Favorite Movies of 2017

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

I don’t always do a BEST OF list, but as the rancid corpse of 2017 rots on the side of the street it seems like a good time to remind ourselves that good things still exist. I’m not in a ranking mood (I don’t always feel up to figuring out how to measure, say, THE FLORIDA PROJECT against BOYKA) so I’m gonna do some categories and just go through a bunch of the movies I enjoyed this year in hopes of encouraging other people to check them out or share their love for them or the ones that they were passionate about themselves.

Some of these I didn’t write about, and some of them I am working on reviews of (as marked). Most will of course link to my reviews for more in-depth thoughts. But I think you’ll find some surprises and many things not on other peoples’ lists.

(read the rest of this shit…)

Potpourri 2049

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

Mr. Majestyk suggested a new post that everyone can respond to with their random business while the RECENT COMMENTS sidebar is broken. Good idea, so here it is. Have at it!

Happy New Year, everybody. I’ll have some good new shit for you after the holiday, I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

I’m taking the holiday off but I wanted to say happy Thanksgiving and/or Thursday to everyone. I hope you know I am thankful for every single person who reads, comments, patreons, links, retweets, emails to say “what’s up,” sends generally positive vibes, etc. I love doing this and it means so much to me that anyone takes the time to be here. We’ll get through these dark times together and come out stronger, smarter and somehow better looking? Weird, but it will happen.

I am also extra thankful to Chris for setting up and maintaining it all these years, and don’t worry, he’s working on that recent comments problem! Something changed in the WordPress comments and he has to track it down. I like when you guys start new conversations on the old reviews, so hopefully we’ll get that working again soon.

Thanks again! Sweet potatoes 4 life.