Rick Rubin Is So Not Stay Puft

Wow! Found Ghostbusters the good one…the original 84 on a movie channel (almost right at the start!!).

And I just noticed that the comedy/vibe of this movie mirrors the Beastie Boys Sabotage video with a dash of Intergalactic’s uniforms.

The vibe/style overlap:

Mike D is Bill Murray/Venkman

Ad-Rock is Dan Aykroyd/Stantz

Adam Yauch is Harold Ramis/Spengler.

Right?!

If you wanna toss in Kate Schellenbach you got Sigourney Weaver. (I am not in any way suggesting Rick Rubin is Stay Puft though he has been a giant in music.)

It’s the same humour; same sarcasm, same foolishness…Ghostbusters is a 2 hour Beastie Boys video. Yo! Think about this and get back to me.


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Metrocenter Faces The Music

Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix, Arizona is closing as another coronavirus casualty. (Kinda…the mall was already dying.

This is one of the few shopping malls we’ve all visited: it’s where Bill and Ted took all the historical figures for an Excellent Adventure.

?No word if the Circle K is still there or not (hopefully it is…strange things will be happening again when Bill and Ted 3 opens in August.)

After 47 years in business the mall closes on June 30. That’s not…excellent.

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#CouchWorthy: 40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic

I never clued in that Rocky wasn’t a gifted fighter.

His actual X-Men ability was to withstand punishment contrasted with his deep hunger. He could tolerate a middle class life—or lower middle class—because that’s extremely punishing. Rocky had a high pain tolerance so if it wasn’t for his hunger he’d still be trapped in a cold Philadelphia ghetto.

As Stallone put it he’s fighting for an ideal:
“The character was not supposed to be a gifted fighter..he was gifted in other ways. He just could take an incredible amount of punishment and he was fighting for an ideal. He had no illusions that he was a winner; he just wanted an opportunity.”

That’s a quote from 40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic, a “winsome” tribute to the timeless movie and iconic character. From director Derek Wayne Johnson whose previous work includes John G. Avildsen King of the Underdogs. (Think of this as a sorta-sequel to that doc.)

A broad mixture of previously seen footage and unseen footage is deftly stitched together: home movies, behind the scenes footage, and rehearsal footage shot by John G. Avildsen, as well as on-set footage all narrated by a goofy and somewhat embarrassed Sylvester Stallone. It was the late 70s so style was not ah…common.

It’s Rocky.

You know him…you’ve spent so much time with him. As the title suggests 40 years of Rocky easily means a Survivor scored montage of all the Rocky moments in your life. And how they’ve been good moments. There’s an entire 80s generation addicted to getting off the mat with their dukes up bloody yet determined to still fight. (There’s also an entire 80s generation terrified at getting soft…of letting success dull the hunger and becoming satisfied. Rocky III is one of the best 80s horror movies. That movie still gives me nightmares.)

The past month has given us powerful and potent documentaries on Michael Jordan and Bruce Lee. Now it’s Rocky’s turn: the GOAT trilogy. Cue Robert Teppers’ No Easy Way Out:

“We’re not indestructible
Baby better get that straight
I think it’s unbelievable
How you give into the hands of fate
Some things are worth fighting for
Some feelings never die…”

Indeed. What an astonishing run that started with a movie that started with Sylvester Stallone’s 3 day writing marathon.

40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic is available on Amazon and iTunes on June 9. Highly Recommended.

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Trailer Alert: You Don’t Nomi

Are you ready for this?

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Of course that’s Charles Dickens’ historical novel A Tale of Two Cities. Thing is even though that book came out in 1859 that could have easily passed as a snooty review of the 1995 movie Showgirls. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” indeed.

Showgirls followed the same notorious path as Office Space and Fight Club. Box Office bombs with recognizable talent only to suddenly find new life through cable and ironic enjoyment? (I don’t understand hate watching either.)

You know we used to have things called guilty pleasures. We possessed far more nuance in how we categorized the pop culture we consumed. Lately it’s become ALL OR NOTHING like a tragic identity war and sometimes a movie/comic is just meh. It’s not bad it’s just meh.

Yet there’s a lot of peer pressure to be right; otherwise you won’t be socially accepted. So as odd as it is Showgirls’ flop to cult status journey is a commentary on our taste. That I could drop Charles Dickens to comment about Showgirls is clearly evidence of that. (Plus it works doesn’t it?)

As if that wasn’t enough this Trailer Alert made me lol!! It’s a Showgirls documentary.

You Don’t Nomi (great title!) is available on Demand/Digital on June 9.

Here I’ll “show” you the trailer…hah!

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#SetTheVCR: Basketball County: In The Water

Man Friday, May 15 is a busy night for streaming TV.

Crave is airing Ready or Not really wanted to see that movie back in the cinema (Samara Weaving is coming along she was darkly funny in Mayhem), Netflix has Magic for Humans: Season 3 (my phone is off the hook all weekend…show is so good!) and Showtime has Basketball County: In The Water at 9pm. (Technically for us in Canada that’s also Crave.)

Showtime has quietly built up a fantastic NBA doc-corner lotta docs All The Smoke podcast: good stuff.

You can tell they hired somebody a few years ago and this go-getter is just cranking out the goodness.

This is a Prince George’s County documentary and that hood’s NBA contributions: Kevin Durant, Victor Oladipo, Michael Beasley, Quinn Cook etc.

(I dig Durant’s media offerings…he’s been decent so far. Q Ball is on Netflix if you haven’t seen that. Media wise Durant has been better than LeBron. LeBron is remaking House Party, Space Jam 2 think it’s all been shot…Shut Up and Dribble was another doc he made last year. I’ve said this repeatedly he’s trying to tie himself into the culture and say: “look guys I’m cool!” LeBron’s the new Jerry Krause via The Last Dance. “Sit down LeBron…stop dancing.”)

Anyways here’s the trailer for Basketball County: In The Water (9pm on Showtime):

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#SetTheVCR: LA Originals

We lost Kobe on January 26, 2020.

Thankfully there’s a few hours of Kobe Bryant just sitting there in editors’ rooms from all the docs he’s been in. Wonder what’ll happen to it now?

His next appearance is in the doc that dropped today on Netflix: LA Originals. (I was already in before the Kobe connection. He’s listed in the credits for this doc but he’s not in the trailer. So I suspect he is probably not in this all that much. Still, it’s a powerful LA story so of course, LA stories go through Kobe. Kobe’s next appearance is in the upcoming Jordan doc The Last Dance in about a week or so. That I cannot wait for!!)

So for true: there’s a handful of hours of Kobe in docs just sitting around editing rooms. Dude’s gone but he hasn’t left.

Thus enter Netflix’s latest documentary: “An exploration of the culture and landmarks of the chicano and street art movement that cemented Mister Cartoon and Estevan Oriol’s status as behind-the-scenes hip hop legends.”

LA Originals is indicative of a powerful skill set that we rarely discuss or acknowledge. (And thankfully many of my friends have this skill set.)

I don’t even know what it’s called which is why I don’t think It gets acknowledged.

Those guys (and we) are passport people. We hang out with gang members and drug dealers and Trump voters and filmmakers and stand-up comics an incredibly broad range of distinct characters. But through it all we remain our unique selves within these different cultures. That’s how you get exposed to radical ways of thinking; nobody said anything about agreement. George is different than Kramer and Kramer is the opposite of Elaine but it all works right?

One day in LA my friend J Rock and I hit up the Magic Castle hanging out with magicians; then the next day we went to a picnic with some friends who’re editing and shooting and doing all kinds of fantastic LA filmmaking; the day after that we went to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Completely distinct cultures of science and nerds and magicians and filmmakers. Yet we’re comfortable and we’re at home if not at all of those places with all those people even though those are not our cultures.

And that to me that is one of the hallmarks of an incredible documentary: how broad the culture is. LA Originals has Ryan Phillippe and you wouldn’t expect him to show up with Kobe and oh Brian Glazer…Blink-182 and finally Cypress Hill. What?! Those guys should never be in the same room together yet clearly because of the people involved in this doc they’re all connected. That’s amazing. Passport People for the win.

Check this documentary out. Highly Recommended.

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#CouchWorthy: James vs His Future Self

James vs His Future Self is now available on iTunes & VOD in Canada and starting on May 15, 2020 will be on Crave. It’s coming to Sky TV in the UK on April 27 and to the US on May 1.

Directed by Jeremy Lalonde James vs His Future Self is all about time. In the present, James feels like he is running out of time and in the future, James knows he doesn’t understand the value of time. S’kinda why we consume time travel books and movies so we can be reminded about the worth of time.

We talk about time the exact way we talk about money: you can save time and you can spend time. You can waste time. You’ve run out of time.

That’s the hinge of James vs His Future Self… If your future self came to you saying it’s high time to make dramatic changes and if you’re successful you could still make up for lost time. Would you listen to the warnings from your future self in the present?

When the movie opens James is a hyper focussed slightly obsessed I guess scientist or physicist or something…some kind of egghead and he’s determined to solve time travel. Which sets up this…is paradox the right word? I’m not sure but what’s it called when a man who is so focussed on time travel doesn’t value the time that he does have. He’s so busy creating time travel to get to the future he doesn’t live in the present.

He has delayed grieving his parents with his sister; Tommie-Amber Pirie who plays his sister is super annoyed by that. A fellow physicist slash egghead (played by Cleopatra Coleman) who fancies him is often ignored and rarely a priority. James is bad; he takes her for granted. Oh Oh.

Typically when somebody’s on drugs they need an intervention but when time travel is involved that requires a time traveller intervention.

Which is how Daniel Stern factors in. You gotta figure if you’re going to cast a time traveller whose mission it is to come back to past all older and wiser based on hard earned reflections that Daniel Stern as the astute Wonder Years narrator would be ideal to cast.

Though as Daniel reveals when he visited My Summer Lair this isn’t a hardcore sci-fi movie or even a time travel movie about trying to reunite your teenage parents at the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance.

James vs His Future is a sweet comedy firmly set in the present because these truly are our Wonder Years. These are the only moments we’ll have; these happenings will be the ones that we reflect on when as we get older: fun, laughter and the people that we choose to love and people who choose to love us back. In an odd sort of way, love is often at the heart of almost every single time travel tale.

Second Chance Opportunities and hope and love and time run through James vs His Future with feverish energy. No different than Daniel Stern as a manic time traveller.

If you’ve seen him in Home Alone or Rookie of the Year then you know he provides his classic comedic shenanigans. Think of Kramer from Seinfeld as a time traveler whose came back to the present with a warning that’s kind of like what Daniel Stern is like…just with better facial hair. And in the end, is it enough? Does present James heed the warnings?

Well, I suppose I could tell you but that’s not as fun as finding out for yourself so at the risk of my future self coming and preventing me from telling you how this movie ends you could see for yourself.

Can’t decide what genre you’re in the mood for? See em all. It’s a totally fun movie if you just want to chill and not think too much: solid mix of romance and sci-fi so you get a couple of solid genres in there.

What would you want your future self to come to your present to warn you about?

Or tell you? Do you believe in spoilers from time travellers?

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Trial By Trailer: Arabian Alien

So…are we gonna talk about Arabian Alien?!!

“Saad, a Muslim married man, gets over his depression after a space Alien is introduced into his life.”

What?!

Yeah it’s a sci-fi film (I think) from…Saudi Arabia. For all the years I’ve been a nerd I’ve never said that before.

Check out this extremely odd trailer…

They’ve got a gmail address…currently debating if I should reach out for a My Summer Lair interview or just let this go.

I…dunno how to categorize “Saudi Arabia Sci-Fi.” Sundance clearly does; it’s screening at the end of January. So curious to see this; I’ve never seen a sci movie from the middle east before. Yo…

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Trial by Trailer: Including…Birds Of Prey

Is this good?
Will this be good?
Every movie trailer answers or challenges those 2 questions. The ham-fisted rebuttal comes swiftly however: no you don’t need to always see a movie to know it’s tank.

Do you really need to sit through a Michael Bay Transformers movie to know for sure? Tank is Tank. And Fresh…well Fresh is always Fresh. I’m down like I’m Brown for that.

For the week of September 30-October 5 2019 I cover:
Birds Of Prey
6 Underground
Wounds
The Gentlemen
The King’s Man
The War of The Worlds
The Personal History of David Copperfield
Richard Jewell

Shall we begin?

Birds Of Prey (October 1, 2019)
Sigh: Birds Of Prey!

Yeah, I still dunno: the trailer teases cheeze more than interest. Solid violence…decent ruckus (thank you for the hard R! as in Right On! And especially if the R is for Rude!) but…Margot Robbie. I don’t trust her.

Can she pull this off…especially as a producer?

One of the interesting aspects to the tepid Birds Of Prey trailer response is how good that movie must be to overcome and wash out the awful taste of the Suicide Squad. I sat through the awful Suicide Squad I dunno if I wanna go back to that: Aquaman made $1 Bill without my donation…couldn’t even do that one.

If Birds lays an egg that’s gonna make an even bigger uphill battle for James Gunn’s Suicide Squad 2. That’s the movie we want but hafta sit through Birds of Prey first.

February 7, 2020…we’ll see. We’ll all see.

Sammy Verdict: Right now: cheap Tuesday; not opening $$.

6 Underground (October 1, 2019)
Sweet Josh Groban!!

6 Underground is part of a complete Ruckus meal with witness the fitness chicks, a sports car chase, guns, death-defying leaps…waterfall crashing penthouses and it’s right before Christmas on Netflix…yo!!

And YES! (So this Christmas Break I get this AND the fourth (and sadly final) season of Man In High Castle. Oh I will not be leaving my house at all.)

Sammy Verdict: I am 100% IN! Team Ruckus! December 13 on Netflix!

Wounds (October 2, 2019)
Wounds has the chick getting spanked in 50 Shades movies and Armie Hammer doing his Chris Evans Cellular bit…eh: this movie is a hard “cell.”

It’s a so-so horror movie. I’m more inclined to check out Countdown than Wounds. Are you in for Countdown? I’m so in!! Countdown is like a classic slightly cheezy old school movie…I’m up for one of those.

Sammy Verdict: Yeah that Wounds is on Netflix (October 18) makes it easier…still I’ll probably watch it when it starts to snow…a lazy Sunday afternoon when I don’t wanna go outside.

The Gentlemen (October 2, 2019)
The Gentlemen has guys in tracksuits; another guy saying “clean house.” Now THAT is what I pay Guy Ritchie for (well & Sherlock Holmes movies! I entirely skipped Aladdin…eh save that for the middle!).

Not a Matthew McConaughey fan but I’ll tolerate him if the gangsters are ruthless and handle their business. Which is appears they will and they do!

Sammy Verdict: I’m up for watching Gentlemen not be gentle men…

The King’s Man (October 2, 2019)
Keeping with the British theme The King’s Man is a prequel. Valentines Day, 2020: not a fan of “how did you meet stories…I’d rather a story that extends the franchise.

While I’ve been enjoying this series: solid Ruckus (that black cab scene…yo!!!) I dunno if we need to start at the beginning to go full “Golden Circle.

Sammy Verdict: Eh…kinda In. Still I’ve come this far.

The War of The Worlds (October 2, 2019)
Alright let’s talk: BBC has a new The War of The Worlds. (We’ve got 2 adaptions coming…this is the BBC version that’ll premiere on October 13, 2019 on TVNZ 1 in New Zealand. There’s a Fox version with Gabriel Byrne and that’s going to air in Belgium on October 29.)

(Spielberg’s-Cruise War adaptation is terrible…Spielberg is just not good at science-fiction i.e. E.T.)

Still do we “need” yet another version? The book is spectacular: H.G. Wells is a GOAT.

Sammy Verdict: It is the BBC so I’m kinda in…A Good Man Goes To War!

The Personal History of David Copperfield (October 2, 2019)
The Personal History of David Copperfield and no it’s not about the blouse wearing magician from the 80s. That I’d happily see!

Most disappointing movie title since “Naked” Lunch. This is like based on the novel or something?

Sammy Verdict: Hard Pass. I’ll never ever see this. Ever.

Richard Jewell (October 5, 2019)
It’s All Here! The corrosive ineptitude of “journalists;” the proliferation of demonetization as a societal value: this was the beginning of end. Social media was coming to exacerbate all of this: like picking up smoking after having a heart attack.

Richard Jewell is us at our worst…which is now all too common. (With Richard Jewell Sam Rockwell impressively continues to document the current dark American experience from like Three Billboards to Moon (Oh Lord…Moon is incredible…wonderfully unsettling!) even to The Way Way Back. Rockwell lives up to his name: Somebody’s Watching Me.)

December 13…Clint, yo!

Sammy Verdict: Not opening weekend and depending on the tone but I will watch this.

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My Birth: A Big Bang Story

Indeed today is my birth day.

I’ve spent over 4 decades soaked in popular culture across every single medium: as such I would like to thank some of the special creators and wonderful things that enriched my life and probably made me too quirky to sit with at lunch in high school.

My deep and endless thanks go to…

Forrest J Ackerman, Roger Corman, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Stephen King, Lon Chaney, Mad Magazine, Ian Fleming and James Bond, Zorro, The Shadow, quicksand, The Batman, Bugs Bunny, Frank Sinatra, The Invisible Man, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, Quantum Leap, The Muppet Show, The Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man, Thriller, Ray Harryhausen, Wonder Woman and Lynda Carter, Carol Burnett, Edgar Allan Poe, Harry Houdini, The A-Team, SETI, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Jerry Lewis, Back to The Future, arcades and pinball machines (especially Indiana Jones!), Carl Sagan, The Lone Ranger, Knight Rider, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Richard Matheson, Flash Gordon, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Doctor Who, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Scooby-Doo, The Outer Limits, Invaders from Mars, secret passages triggered by pulling a dummy book, The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, James Dean, Mork and Mindy, Jules Verne, freak shows at the circus, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Dean Koontz, The Iron Giant, The Rolling Stones, Alfred Hitchcock, The Three Investigators, Elvis, Errol Flynn, Ray Bradbury, NASA, David Copperfield, X-Men, The Six Million Dollar Man, Sean “Bond” Connery, Darth Vader and R2-D2, funhouses and haunted houses, Marilyn Monroe, Steve McQueen, (the Dukes of Hazzard & the Fall Guy), Sue Grafton, Batman 66, death traps, Chuck D and Public Enemy, Super Friends, Fonzi, Spider-Man 67, Souls of Mischief, C.S. Lewis, Freddy Krueger, The Hardy Boys, Michael Jackson, The Black Museum, Orson Welles, Transformers, G.I. Joe, The Amazing Kreskin, X-Files, Bruce Springsteen, Rocket Robin Hood, Aliens, Defenders of the Earth, The Simpsons, Gilligan’s Island, Star Trek, Terminator, zombies and Halloween (the night…the movies less so.).

I have lived an astonishing life: I’ve travelled in time, saved the universe on numerous occasions, been to planets beyond our star system and encountered aliens: some friendly, many hostile…occasionally some are green and horny.

I’ve guarded secrets, foiled schemes, solved mysteries and seen more than my share of dead bodies. I’ve lost friends: good solid men and stoic women; not many of them have come back.

I don’t fear death and risks no longer intimidate me.

I know no matter how bad it gets; no matter how much darkness threatens me, no matter how big the monster is…no matter how outrageous the odds are…I know…I know…I know there is always a way and that’ll it work out. After I’ve been knocked down I don’t get up as quickly as I did in my youth but dammit I still get up. I have an obligation: I didn’t just hang out with these creators and these superheroes to just surrender the present and allow the triumph of catastrophe!

“I’ve watched my wild youth

Disappear in front of my eyes

Moments of magic and wonder

It seems so hard to find

Is it ever coming back again?

Is it ever coming back again?

Take me back to the feeling when

Everything was left to find…”

It has been and continues to be A Wonderful Life with so many Wonder Years. And as long as there are stars to maps and planets to catalog it’s irritating to live with gravity and all that keeps us down.

Now: where the cake at?

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