Monthly Archives: August 2013

Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun ~ Yeah, so I finally saw this. The number of times this film has been recommended to me by friends whose opinions I respect, and even those I don’t, is countless. Many of those friends have even nagged me with occasional “Did you see it yet?” inquiries.

The title revealing subject matter and the way sometimes I was recommended or asked about the flick has made me wonder about the sincerity of these friends. Ya know how someone will take a bite of something terrible, and then, not wanting to be the only one who is suffering, will offer you a taste? Yeah, that’s the vibe I have gotten in the past from Hobo with a Shotgun.

Right off the top, I have to give props to the director Jason Eisener and the cinematographer Karim Hussain. The color of this flick is insanely vibrant, no doubt a thematic choice to cash in on the 1970s action exploitation vibe that drives the picture. Even the movie poster reflects that homage, sans the Technicolor of course.

Based on the originally fake trailer from Rodriquez and Tarantino’s Grindhouse, the movie delivers its particular brand of hyperviolence almost from the start. Rutger Hauer is the hobo in question, and runs afoul of The Drake, the warlord who rules Hope Town. yeah, that’s the name, or in light of events and graffiti, it’s now called Scum Town.

Hauer is good here, playing apathetic at first and more than a little crazy, much better than his recent turn in “True Blood” as a subtly and hilariously similar character type. Actually had Sookie’s gramps been more like the hobo, it might have saved this season. When a shotgun eventually makes it into the hobo’s hands, he decides to become a crazed force for good, battling the bad guys and inspiring the frightened townspeople.

Trust me, this hyperviolent tale of good vs. evil set in a hellish Technicolor suburban wasteland sounds much better than it actually is but its misshapen heart is in the right place. Hauer watches and reacts for the most part, but for the rest of the cast it’s an over the top acting massacre that would make Lloyd Kaufman of Troma positively jealous.

Speaking of which, if you love Troma Films, you will love Hobo with a Shotgun. On the other hand, if you don’t, this movie is not for you. And neither is it for the squeamish. Either way, the color is fabulous. And maybe Robert Downey Jr. can fight The Plague in Iron Man 4

The Fast Food Strike

The Man with the Iron Fists

The Man with the Iron Fists ~ This film is a mad alternate universe martial arts adventure written by RZA and Eli Roth, an insane love letter to the Shaw Brothers movies of the 1970s. With the backing and support of Quentin Tarantino, a decent budget, an awesome cast, and even cooler soundtrack, the film succeeds on all points of professing its love, providing proper homage, and entertaining the hell out of viewers.

The flick is high camp adventure at its best, and great actors like Russell Crowe and Lucy Liu roll with it with skill. RZA plays the title role, an American emancipated blacksmith who becomes embroiled in this bloody cartoonish tale of greed, revenge, and warring clans, all set to frenetic hip hop soundtrack.

This is pure Shaw Brothers with a big budget and better music, imagine Crouching Tiger without the grace and slow parts but mixed with a bizarre steampunk UFC sensibility and you’ve got the vibe. It even turns almost superhero-ish toward the end.

The red band trailer below is NOT family or work safe. You’ve been warned.

I dug this flick a lot, but found myself a bit bored waiting for the next fight with outrageous opponents to occur. It suffers in these places, but the battles more than make up for it. Recommended for those who grew up with Saturday afternoon martial arts flicks, and loved them despite the silliness and the effects, The Man with the Iron Fists is for you.

French Fry Diary 514: Burger King’s French Fry Burger

What This Blog Is About

Yesterday, I received two messages, one on Facebook before I posted the Miley Cyrus piece, and one by email after it went up. They were both of the same ilk, and I’m not talking about the hideously bad spelling and grammar. Both folks thought I was adding fuel to the apathetic fire by writing about Miley Cyrus. One gentleman indicated I was un-American and didn’t care about politics because I wasn’t writing about Syria, and worse than that, writing about Miley instead of Syria. Both of them threatened to stop being readers of mine.

It bugged me at first. I am political, and I care intensely about the Syria situation and the lost lives both present and future. But you know what? That’s not what I’m about here. Welcome to Hell is a blog, just a blog, and I talk about pop culture here. I talk about movies, television, comics, music, books, the industry in general, basically anything that turns my crank, in either direction, in entertainment. This blog is not about politics. Surely these two folks wouldn’t want me to talk Syria over at French Fry Diary or The Non-Gamer’s Gamer’s Blog, would they? Then why should I do it here? Stay on topic.

My take yesterday on the Miley Cyrus thing was not one of exhibition or hedonism. If you read carefully, it was one of concern. The woman is on a path of self-destruction. If she shows an entire nation, no, the entire world, that she is crying for help – why isn’t anyone helping her? Yes, she put on a freakshow, but that wasn’t my message, like it was for many in the entertainment news business.

For the record, my views on Miley and Syria are pretty much mirrored by one of my favorite bloggers, Liz Henry, over at The Broad Side. You can read it here. I love her writing, I love her voice, and you should too. I’m just the comics and fry guy, she takes on the tough stuff.

To my two upset readers – I hope you keep reading, but I’m sorry, I won’t be talking politics here. It just ain’t happening, folks.

Random Tater Pic of the Day #114

Miley Gone Mad?

With an impending birthday coming this week, after watching the opening number of this year’s MTV VMAs, I had to ask myself two questions. Or rather one question with a choice. Am I old, or has Miley Cyrus lost her mind?

I am concerned for her well being honestly. The woman is clearly out of control, if not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or just plain stupidity. If she was a close friend, or a member of our families – you know damned straight she’d be long overdue for an intervention.

Yeah, and there it is. It’s not like the VMAs don’t have a reputation for controversy. I remember quite clearly as a young man seeing Madonna hump the floor in a bridal gown while singing “Like a Virgin.” I will never forget that as long as I live. Later shows have tried to recreate or top that moment, but rarely succeeding. It may be time for MTV to stop trying to do that, and just do an awards show. The Oscars and the Tonys have both shown in recent years that ‘just an awards show’ can actually be quite good.

What bothers me most about the Miley Cyrus performance at the VMAs is that no one stopped it, no one pulled her aside and said No. Even Robin Thicke, especially co-conspirator Robin Thicke should have known better. Lady GaGa is outrageous. Madonna is outrageous. But poor Miley just made us feel embarrassed and worried for her.

Outrageous, unique, and controversial are something to aspire to in the entertainment industry, but this was just a freak show, and pitiful and shocking for most of us to watch. And I’m sure Will Smith and his family agrees with me.

Random Tater Pic of the Day #113

Ben Affleck Is Batman!

So Ben Affleck will play Batman in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel, likely to be called Batman Vs. Superman.

The announcement came late last night while my friend Ray and I were recording this week’s GAR! Podcast. Had we known, we surely would have been discussing it. Instead you get the usual Prince, Dave Sim, Avengers, and French fries mix of goodness, lucky you. You can hear it here, shameless plug.

After the recording I got on Facebook and Twitter to watch the internet explode. Seemed like no one was happy with the casting.

Well, he’s no Michael Keaton. I mean, it could be worse. He could be Michael Keaton.

What’s that you say? Michael Keaton was one of the best Batmen, he was Batman. Yeah, right. Y’all got selective memories. I remember it quite differently.

I remember people screaming and whining that Mr. Mom/Beetlejuice was the worst choice for a serious version of Batman. The balding no-chinned comedian was no Batman. In the pre-internet world of 1988, this was a horrible mistake, and the angry fanboy letters burning the pages of the Comics Buyer’s Guide were proof of it.

And now, over two decades and two movies later, Keaton is considered one of the best Batmen. So why are people so riled up about Ben Affleck? Because Daredevil was a dud in the theaters? Hell, I liked Daredevil, and liked the director’s cut even more. I even liked Elektra.

And even if I’m wrong about that, what about Affleck’s Oscar and other awards and nominations for acting, writing, and directing? He even has comic book cred beyond Daredevil as an actor in the Kevin Smith films and playing George (Superman) Reeves in Hollywoodland. Talk Gigli and Pearl Harbor all you want, you can’t take Argo or The Town away from him. Everyone has hits and misses.

I think Ben Affleck can pull off Batman and Bruce Wayne like a pro. I dare say he might be a better Batman than anyone else we’ve seen. And yeah, I’m saying that based on his Daredevil performance. I stand behind Ben as Batman. If Michael Keaton could do it…

French Fry Diary 513: On the Border