The Master

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  1. The solicitations sounded fun but maybe too one-note for my liking, so I'm glad to hear otherwise.
  2. Maniac Cop: This was my first ever viewing, and it was alright. Disjointed as hell, but all right. Does anyone know the behind-the-scenes history, by chance? Though it was released in May 1988, it seems as if it was filmed over a considerable period of time. I base this on the fact that it continuously changes what kind of movie it is, and what movies it seems to be taking influence from. For instance: It starts off as a typical Halloween (1978) / Friday the 13th (1980) clone with a slow-moving, overpowered killer in a very distinctive costume. Suddenly, the movie swings away from Tom Atkins to introduce Bruce Campbell, who had just gained genre cred with Evil Dead 2 (1987). Then it briefly leans into a Jason Lives (1986) angle, where the killer appears to be undead. And by the end it becomes a Terminator (1984) clone with the police station slaughter and car chase to a factory / warehouse. If it had stuck with being a clone of one, I think it might have been better off. But by constantly shifting gears, Maniac Cop never finds its own identity. Worse, it comes off like an obvious patchwork of then-popular genre movies. Despite that, I enjoyed the film and can see me revisiting it down the line if only for the powerhouse that is Tom Atkins. Whenever he was on screen, I found my enjoyment increasing tenfold. Two things Maniac Cop has going for it are: The grimy 1980s New York streets. Movies set in New York at this time are so raw. They're like some of the best Westerns, in that there's an authentic outlawness to them. You never know who's over the next hill, or, in this case, around the next corner. So even when the movie shifts focus, it always has the city as its background. Robert Z'Dar is a true presence. Without ever speaking a word, he brings real power to the role. Especially during the flashback sequence. Having heard the first sequel is a much better film, I'm greatly looking forward to watching it on Shudder tonight.
  3. Regarding Born, how can a movie from 2007 look like every Fox TV movie / pilot from 1995-1998?
  4. Just the other day I caught their match from WXW's 2017 16 Carat Gold Tournament, and it was brutal. I cannot imagine it getting more violent.
  5. That scene was also in the one I watched for this episode. However, I think it was added for home media, as I do not recall it being in the theatrical release.
  6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: There's a reason this was the second movie to win all top five Academy Awards. Despite having seen Cuckoo's Nest ten-plus times -- and having read the novel at least three times -- there's always something new to enjoy. This time around it really shocked me that Nurse Ratched doesn't become antagonistic until the literal halfway point of the movie; it takes over one full hour for her to do something downright manipulative. Before that point, yes, she's cold and in control, but she's this way to provide the men stability. Even in the face of McMurphy openly challenging her authority, she keeps it together; she never does anything to actively hurt the men in her care. That all changes, however, after McMurphy steals the boat. She is given the chance to send this thorn in her side back to prison, but she can't let him go because then he'll have won. So she handily convinces the committee of doctors to allow McMurphy to stay in their care. It's here that she has decided to absolutely break McMurphy in half. And when McMurphy finds out he's in there until she says he can go, she thinks she's won. Her quiet glee when McMurphy confronts the other men for not telling him this is palpable. But even still, she does nothing wrong. Nurse Ratched is often seen as the villain of the movie, but she's not. McMurphy is. He upends all their lives because he's playing a game. These are deeply troubled human beings and Nurse Ratched, though firm, is providing them the help they desperately need. There's no intent to keep them institutionalized forever. The only truly diabolical thing Nurse Ratched does is twist Billy around her little finger in the end. After he had sex with Candy and subsequently had the confidence to control his stutter, Nurse Ratched threatens to inform Billy's mother of what he's done -- knowing full well this will break him down again. And it does. His stutter instantly returns as her grovels at her feet. This moment, though, was not about Billy. It was about McMurphy; she threatens Billy to take away McMurphy's power. By helping Billy, McMurphy symbolically stole her power. To reassert herself, Nurse Ratched had to do something quick and harsh. Thus, the threat to inform Billy's mother of his sin, so to speak. Moments later, when her actions have dire consequences, she realizes she's damned herself. When she tells everyone to calm down and go about like normal, there's a slight crack in her voice. It's subtle, but a superb bit of acting. She's barely holding it together, and, in fact, is only doing so for the sake of the men. Louise Fletcher brings so much life to Nurse Ratched, and she plays the role so purposely distant that it's easy to see why Nurse Ratched is on "best villain" lists. Thing is, she's just not a villain. She' makes two regrettable power grabs, resulting in two deaths, her own injury, and an escape. I'm long overdue a reread of the novel, and watching the movie once more pushed me in that direction.
  7. While I think it's too soon for Cody to lose the belt, having just won it back, I do think Darby needs it much more than Cody. He also needs a big win to push him up the midcard.
  8. He needs to somehow* win the AEW title then immediately turn heel. Let him have a good 9-month reign before someone like Hangman knocks him down a peg. *I saw "somehow" because they'll have to get around that "never challenge for the title again" stip.
  9. Agreed. It's hard to tell if kayfabe Cody doesn't realize this, or if real Cody doesn't see it.
  10. Am I the only AEW viewer that's just not into Cody? That's not to say I dislike him. He's a solid worker with great promos, but he just feels out of place on the show. In fact, I was all-in (HA HA) on Cody, up until he lost to MJF. His character has seemed aimless since then, and taking time off to film that game show hasn't helped. Honestly, it feels like the company has moved on without him. And if / when Omega takes the title from Moxley, he's gonna be the new face of it all.
  11. And that's the third and final issue done. What was the point of all this? It sets up a mystery -- that being, the idea that there are three Jokers -- only to piss it away by the end. Without spoiling the last few pages, it seems like Johns had the ending in mind and worked toward that single moment / reveal. Which, dear lord, no. Just like he couldn't keep his hands off of The Killing Joke, someone down the line is going to pick up this new idea and run it into the ground. When Batman grabs Jason, I could swear that dialog is lifted almost wholesale from Batman: Under the Red Hood. What is Barbara even doing here? Yeah, she has an emotional tie to The Joker, but she just stands there doing fuck all except giving Jason someone to pine over. If you can get this as a secondhand trade down the line, give it a go, otherwise there's literally no point to this besides the "shocking" revelation at the end.
  12. Though I've heard of that video, I've never seen it.
  13. As I've mentioned before, from about age seven my mom gave me carte blanche to walk to the video store to rent whatever I wanted. Including R-rated movies. The only movie she ever denied me was Honeymoon Horror, and I was pretty sure she also wouldn't let me rent The Slumber Party Massacre. Because, you know, boobs. That said, I finally watched The Slumber Party Massacre last night. Going in I knew two things: it was written and directed by women, and the killer had some sort of drill. I also expected it to be bad, because, well, it's an early 80s ripoff of an already tired genre. To that last point, I could not be more wrong. What I particularly enjoyed about this one is that there's no plot for 75% of the movie. The girls are going to have a slumber party, two of the boys plan to crash it, and the girls just sit around having fun. That's it until they realize a killer is on the loose. There's no forced drama or A must happen so B can happen. They just aimlessly chat, order pizza, make drinks, pick up the trash. And while that doesn't make for the most compelling movie-watching experience, it does make for a more realistic tone/ When the trash cans fall over and a weird noise can be heard, Valerie doesn't snoop around her yard and act all tough. She books it the hell out of there, back to the safety of her own home. It's quite real, because it's something we've all done whether it be running up the stairs from a darkened basement or an unsettlingly quiet garden. These characters aren't quite lived-in, but they do have very human elements. In most other movies, when Diane tells the girls she's going back to her boyfriend's house for some sexy time, they're disappointed she's leaving the party, but there's no lame bickering. They get it; Diane has been pressured into going by her boyfriend and they can't stop her. And this all comes from the writing by Rita Mae Brown and direction of Amy Holden Jones. The female perspective brought to the slasher genre was a much-needed booster. Reading up on the movie, I see it was originally written to be a parody of the genre. Though the movie took a more serious / conventional path, you can still see hints of it throughout. The purposely overly long drill would be a joke if it wasn't used so gruesomely. Additionally, the way said drill is slashed in half is also a statement that needs absolutely no explanation. The only scene I cringed at was Jackie pulling the pizza box out from under the murdered deliveryman and eating it with a quip. That betrayed the tone to an unsettling degree. Russ Thorn might be one of my new favorite slashers. His quiet presence is felt throughout, thanks to his quick movements and dead-faced glances. You get the sense that this guy has seen some serious shit. And with it being set in 1982, it would not at all be hard to assume Thorn had spent some time in Nam. (His movements are very deliberate, like he's been trained to hunt in silence.) If I were to rank this against Halloween, I wouldn't put it too far behind the 1978 classic. It takes what that movie and Friday the 13th setup, and built upon that with some original scares, some good gags, and a few tender sisterly moments. Random question: Were there lesbian overtones to the glance shared between Valerie and Trish in the shower / locker room sequence? Because the look they shared over the stalls -- to me at least -- spoke volumes.
  14. Been seeing this one get some traction online this past year-plus, so I gave it a go as my insomnia movie last night. And it was a good, silly way to spend 80 minutes. Had I been drunk or high last night, I'm sure I would have loved this. And had I seen this when I was 10 or 11, I can tell you it would have been in the repeat rental rotation. Tonally it's all over the place. What starts out as a pervert comedy with three college-age guys trying to sneak a peek at some T&A turns into a bumbling heist movie. Once Uncle Impie shows up, the movie takes its final form: a template for Leprechaun. Somehow I was both expecting that puppet and was also like, "Yeahbuhwhat?!" (I must have watched a Red Letter Media or Dead Meat video on this movie, but I can't seem to find any videos to confirm this.) Each set of actors seem to be in their own movies. Lisa and Keith are still in the teen pervert comedy with a lot of full frontal nudity, Spider and Calvin are in a then contemporary horror movie, post-transformation Rhonda and Frankie are in a 1950s B-grade horror, Babs is in a sorority house / women-in-prison T&A movie, and they each play it that way. It's shockingly adept at keeping these tones going as long as they can. Robin Rochelle (Babs) is basically playing Kim Cattrall's Samantha 10 years prior to Sex and the City, and it's great. Carla Baron (Frankie) is hamming it up as The Bride. Had Shana not been sleeping next to me as I watched this movie, I would have straight-up laughed my ass off (in a good way) as she ran around hissing at everyone. And Linnea Quigley's Spider is perfect as the hard-edge punk with a heart of gold. It wasn't until after the movie finished that I realized Quigley played Trash in The Return of the Living Dead. Which I should have realized sooner because, well, without being creepy about it, Trash's dance scene in Return was eye-opening for a young Mike. They guys are mostly inconsequential, but Calvin looks like he could be Matt Bomer's older brother. Will I revisit this? Maybe if I'm high and want a laugh. Should you see it? Sure! Grab some beers and some friends and have a great laugh at the puppet.
  15. Agreed on all things Black Widow. At the time it was coming out, I read it monthly, and each issue took maybe five to seven minutes. As a complete package, I could think of worse ways to spend 60-90 minutes, though. It's such a stunning book.
  16. Thank you for suffering (?) through that. It sounds like we can wait the two years until it's $15 on Amazon.
  17. I really want to read those books, but never have I heard a good word about Hannibal. If you can set aside the retroactive disliking of the series, are Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs good books?
  18. The Silence of the Lambs: Jodie Foster deserves every accolade she received from her performance here. That's all I really have to say. It's a well-crafted film and I see why it was huge back in the day -- and why people still love it -- but it's never quite landed with me. Can't say why. Interestingly, it seems Tom Hiddleston took some inspiration from Anthony Hopkins for his Loki. There are moments, especially early on, where you can draw a direct line between the two. And that's not exclusively to the scenes where Lecter taunts Starling and Loki does the same to Black Widow; there are little things Hiddleston absorbed into his performance, and that's quite fascinating to see. The handling of Buffalo Bill's sexual identity is coldly clinical and exceptionally wrongheaded. Maybe by 1991 standards it was considered acceptable to question Bill's sexual identity and gender, but that does not fly nowadays.
  19. How about TekWar? This William Shatner-created series had four TV movies as a "first season," then an 18-episode proper season. With something that long, you'd probably have to use The Persuaders method of skipping episodes. I'd be willing to contribute.
  20. Shit, I forgot to send feedback in! Have you guys recorded yet?