9/23/17

Album Cover of the Whatever


Fuck yes!!!  In the 80's, Jag Panzer played clits-to-the-wall METAL. No filler, no bullshit, no synthesizers, no frippery, no fandangle METAL.  They still play metal, and from what I understand, most of it is quite acceptable, kind sir (I've only heard the sporadic song here and there).  But dude, their 80's output is unfuckwithable.  Strangely, their 80's output only consists of one EP and one LP.  The EP is Tyrants, your album cover of the whatever.  A big-boobed babe with a chainsaw, a full (and apricot-colored) moon, bats, a city reduced to rubble...that's METAL.

The LP is Ample Destruction, and I'm listening to it right now.  If you dig straightforward heavy/power metal from the 80's (1984, to be exact), look into this shit yesterday.  It's the most!

9/21/17

NXT Round-Up


Best we start at the beginning.  And yes, this is late.  Thank you for noticing.  I apologize.

GARGANO VS. SABBATELLI ~ Not much to say about this match. I did like the "subplot" of Johnny Wrestling rediscovering his...mojo? To be specific, he won the match with his submission (I think it's called the Gargano Escape).  Actual character development.  Huh.

BIANCA BELAIR VS. LACEY EVANS ~ Two of the younger stand-outs from the Mae Young Classic went toe to toe in an impressive bout.  They are both living proof that the WWE Performance Center is turning out consistent talent, and damn, these ladies can go.  I'm really digging Belair's unique finisher, a reverse powerbomb.  As for Lacey, she is future Championship material.  No doubt about it.

BLACK GETS DREAMY ~ So this was supposed to be the first time we heard Aleister address the NXT Universe.  Okay, but in my estimation, he didn't disclose anything of compelling value.  I was expecting more and then The Velveteen Dream came out to make me question my own sexuality.  This feud should be interesting.  I want to be excited, but I haven't seen Dreamy wrestle a longer match.  Can he keep up with Black?  Overall, this was a cool segment that educed female screams from the crowd, but I admit, I have reservations.

LARS SMASH ~ No Way Jose gets in a little offense, but it's no use. I kept thinking to myself how Lars literally looks like a lost Universal monster.  If that dude roams the countryside, I'm fucking moving.

MOUSTACHE MOUNTAIN VS. REDRAGON ~ First of all, give Fish and O'Reilly a name.  I somehow doubt that it will be ReDragon (it makes no sense in this context), but they need a damn name. Maybe NXT Creative has plans in store.  At any rate, great match. Duh. Sanity surprising the Ring of Honor chaps (see above) was a nice move.  It keeps the tag titles at the fore of business.  Also, Drew McIntyre versus Adam Cole will be a thing.  Sign me up!

9/19/17

The Brain


There was an "in memory" card at the beginning of Raw last night. In my opinion, there should have been more emphasis on paying respect to the late, great Bobby "The Brain" Heenan.  Clips interspersed with words from talent on the main roster, clips of Bobby doing his thing.  Hell, you could have even aired footage of The Weasel wrestling.  Because he could, y'know (before he realized that he had to wrestle like a manager).  He could do anything.  Ever wondered why Paul Heyman calls himself an advocate?  Because in his mind, Heenan already perfected the role of the manager.

This is where I'll sound incredibly fucking old, but KIDS TODAY have been robbed of the manager.  They don't understand why a wrestler would need a manager.  Sadder still, they don't know how entertaining a manager can be.  Could you imagine if Jim Cornette was cutting promos on a weekly basis?  On live television??? Cornette is great.  Heyman might be better.  But neither gasbag mouthpiece (I say that lovingly, of course) can match up to Heenan, and they would be the first ones to tell you so.

My first memory of professional wrestling was none other than the main event of Wrestlemania III.  I was rapt.  Now, I couldn't comprehend the gravity of that PPV at the time, but it's considered to be legendary for several reasons.  Millions watched.  The main event was a draw.  But who - aside from Vince - was the most responsible for WM3's grand success?  Hogan and Andre played their parts, but the answer is Bobby motherfucking Heenan.  In the months leading up to the event, he was the chief storyteller.  It certainly wasn't Hillbilly Jim!

Well, Gorilla and The Brain are finally together again.  We all knew that Heenan was ill, but for whatever reason, his passing hit me pretty hard.  I'll always be a Bobby Heenan guy.

9/18/17

Frankenstein ('31)


I realized the other day that I had yet to review 1931's Frankenstein. How can that be when I reviewed 1935's The Bride of Frankenstein at 18 years of age?  What's the fucking hold-up?  In truth, I don't get to bespeak every film I prize.  Life is stupid that way. By the by, be forgiving when perusing my Bride blurb.  Admittedly, it holds up well, but it still makes me quiver.  I shouldn't be talking about myself, though.  I have a cross-stitch of cadavers lying on my operating table, and it's motioning for my typing wand (yikes).

I don't see the point in contriving a ziggurat (word of the day; look it up, bitch) of words detailing the things that you already know.  To that end, all I can do is tell you why I love it dearly and why it's one of my favorite films of all time.  I don't remember when I saw it first, but that's a testament to Frankenstein's iconography.  At autumn's point of departure, you begin to see versions of Karloff's sunken visage everywhere.  Growing up, I saw "Frankies" in cartoons, storefronts, newspaper ads...not because this was the first adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel (it wasn't), but because it was definitive.  The tongue-in-cheek prelude warns us that the picture might shock us, but it's almost as if James Whale himself is crowing that this is what you'll think of when you hear the word "Frankenstein."

And hey, it's not bragging if it's true.  Over three quarters of a century later, it's still true.  The opening scene is an entrenched mood-setter. The good doctor quietly waits for a funeral to finish up while huddled behind a cenotaph (it may not have been a cenotaph; I don't know where the body was buried, baby).  He is shadowed by Fritz, his unstable assistant who indirectly inspired Igor (or Ygor) in dozens upon dozens of Gothic horror fables to follow.  Dwight Frye is Frankenstein's secret weapon as Fritz.  I dig his corybantic, wide-eyed performance, as it counters Colin Clive's comparatively mellow turn as Henry.

In my correct opinion, Fritz is the true villain here.  It's his fault that Henry is consigned to using an abnormal brain, it's his fault that the monster lashes out and it's his fault that my left nut is implausibly itchy.  The experiment - even with the abnormal brain - could have worked.  That's a fascinating item.  Our perceived antagonists (Dr. Frankenstein and his creation) are not antagonists at all.  Take the most hideous act in the film, for instance.  The monster tosses a little girl into a lake, drowning her.  Before that, they were tossing flower petals into the water and smiling as they floated.  He thought she would float, too.  You'll float, too.  YOU'LL FLOAT, TOO!

Oops!  I backtracked right into my review of It.  Anyway, once he realizes his grave mistake, he's visibly mortified and penitent.  To the villagers, he's just a child murderer.  The scene in which the little girl's father walks onto a revelry-soaked street carrying the limp remains of his daughter is profoundly sobering.  The look on his face. My God.  Whale had several tricks up his sleeve to ensure that Frankenstein would go down as timeless.  The tight editing, the roving camera, the expressionistic interiors of the watchtower...this is a cool flick.  I do prefer it to The Bride of Frankenstein.  In fact, I prefer it to Dracula, a classic in its own right.  Eh, I'm done here.

9/16/17

Geek Out #133



This is just fucking awesome.  No paragraph necessary.

9/15/17

Badass Birdies


Before I potentially piss people off, let me make it very clear that all in all, the Mae Young Classic was a resounding success.  It did what it set out to do, and I can't wait to see some of these badass birdies compete in NXT and/or WWE.  If Mae herself was still grabbing holds above ground, she would definitely be proud to be associated with this tournament.  Hell, she would want to be IN the tournament, senescence be damned.

I do have a problem with it, though.  It's both major and minor.  None of the matches in the tournament reached the 15-minute mark.  I think the longest bouts were...12 minutes?  If that?  Now, that doesn't speak to the quality of the matches.  There were some absolute barn burners such as Mia Yim/Sarah Logan, Kairi Sane/Tessa Blanchard, Toni Storm/Piper Niven and several others I'm forgetting.  Even the green, inexperienced girls fared well (watch out for Rhea Ripley). This is minor because, like I just said, the matches still germinated into something quite beautiful.

However, it's a major issue because of what it represents.  This whole shebang was about gender equality, was it not?  Anything they can do, we can do better?  Think back to the Cruiserweight Classic. The best matches were at least 15 minutes long.  Those guys were given time to play, time to feel each other out, time to arrive at a fever pitch and maybe toss in a few false finishes.  Folks, the finals of the Mae Young Classic failed to eclipse 12 minutes (11:54, to be precise).  In my opinion, it was Kairi Sane's worst showing in the bracket.  Am I the only fucker who noticed that she didn't bother selling her arm?  She was outperformed by Shayna Baszler.

Yeah, Baszler.  The brute bitch surprised the hell out of me, and I expect her to do incredibly well in NXT.  A lot of the MYC ladies will thrive in developmental, which is why I called the tournament a resounding success.  But shit.  If just one or two matches ran for 15 minutes (or 20-30 in the semis), it would have made a huge difference.  I leave you with Mia Yim being a smokeshow.

PS-NXT is a full hour now.  The round-up will return next week.


9/12/17

It (2017)


Our relationship - mine and yours - is important to me.  I value your thoughts.  I mean, they aren't nearly as precious as my thoughts (natch), but you serve a role.  No, I'm dicking around, but for this review to work, you need to know my thoughts on 1990's It.  As a wee lad, I loved it.  Strangely, Pennywise didn't scare me, but Tim Curry's priceless performance intrigued the shit out of me.  Curry (the actor, not the Indian dish) nailed every single project he attached himself to, especially It.  It always dumbfounded me how he was able to switch from whimsical to fearsome on a dime.  He disappeared behind the maquillage.

As a somewhat larger, slightly more mature lad, I regard It as a fun, yet deeply flawed skiff of nostalgia.  The second half really falls apart, doesn't it?  You can say what you want about what should or shouldn't have been excised from the novel, but that wouldn't begin to fix the overly maudlin script, much less the exaggerated acting.  If I'm ever in the mood to watch the It miniseries, I usually stick to the first half.  2017's It?  It's almost long enough to be aired as a miniseries.  Perhaps a touch too long, but the final verdict is positive. I'm mostly happy with it (y'know, It).

Good Lord, where do I start?  Let's go straight to the cast, docked by a troupe of child actors perceptive beyond their years.  Finn Wolfhard (coolest name ever) steals every non-Pennywise scene and gets the opportunity to play someone completely different from Mike Wheeler, his character from the excellent Stranger Things.  To be specific, he plays Richie, the insouciant wisecracker plagued with coulrophobia (a fear of - you guessed it - clowns).  His dialogue is sharp, but he isn't the main character.  That would be Bill, as rendered by Jaeden Lieberher.  The kid is immediately sympathetic, and you want him to win.  Everything.  That includes Beverly!

Sophia Lillis is adorable and nuanced as the female Loser.  There is one weighty drawback, though.  Did we really need to see the notorious orgy from the book?  And in such graphic fashion?  The film's momentum is ditched for FIFTEEN MINUTES while the viewer is forced to watch coral-flush baby fat flop and flap against itself.  To make matters unbecoming, Pennywise watches in the shadows and pulls his pasty pud.  They actually show his...er, its clownhood! Greasepaint prick!  He's a hung harlequin!  Okay, I'll stop now.

Now, that Pennywise.  It's hard not to compare Skarsgard to Curry, so I will.  One performance isn't "better" than the other.  They stand next to each other.  Skarsgard himself idolizes Curry's iteration of the interplanetary gagster (ew) and knew that he couldn't mimic any of Tim's affectations.  Curry's dancing clown was a pinch jocose; Skarsgard's dancing clown has jocose in his marrow (yes, I used an adjective as a noun), but he is a pinch more...sinister? What's the word?  I know.  He's fucking malignant.  Even now, a couple days removed from the screening, I still see his goddamn face.

Some of that is the performance, but some of it is the film's audio terrorism.  Egads.  I'm sorry, but there are too many jump scares, and I saw Carmike's "Big D Experience."  It's similar to IMAX where, like, the movie is in your head.  It doesn't need to resort to cheap tactics to rattle audiences.  A minor animadversion, but it was annoying.  My only other stricture has to do with the swollen running time.  The second trip to Pennywise's hideout felt unnecessary.  Still, I rate 2017's It as vastly superior to 1990's It, which I do fancy.  Both sets of kids are genial and engaging enough.  I'll tell you this much, junior; the book sucks.  I didn't read it.

I read half of it, but that's not the point.  I dig how the script focuses on the bond between the Losers.  It's paced beautifully, as it takes its time bringing these fledglings together.  A few of the kids are neglected, but look, this could have been a trilogy of trilogies.  You can't shoot all 5,903 pages of Stephen King's novel.  Personally, I thought that Andy Muschietti did a bang-up job.  With the exception of the orgy scene.  Line.  Crossed.  Amirite or amirite?

9/8/17

Blood Capsule #77

CREATURES FROM THE ABYSS (1994)

Also known as Plankton, this Italian puddle crossing should have been a humdinger.  It features fish mutants (always a safe bet), stop-motion animation and ridiculous gore.  Lamentably, Creatures is less of a grandiose wassail at Red Lobster and more of a last-minute morsel at Frankie's Fishin' Net.  I will admit to the jury that the production quality is spiffy for such a bottom-feeding budget, but that doesn't mitigate the...wait, I'm the jury.  And the judge.  And the executioner!  I wouldn't hesitate to drop the guillotine on this blockheaded barge.  For one thing, the dubbing hurts.  The main character, Mike, has an insufferable, high-pitched voice that stabbed my dickhole.

The dialogue?  Piss.  I'm of the belief that the crew saw the looping process as an opportunity to putz around.  "Professor, how long have you been fucking fish?"  That's an actual line, and no, it's not meant to be humorous.  Of course, I would have snatched extra enjoyment out of Creatures From the Abyss if I had been accompanied by like-minded compatriots and/or well-wishers, but that wasn't the case.  I genuinely dug the kooky monsters and primo kills (at one point, a girl gives birth to caviar).  It's just that those moments are few and very far between.  Would I recommend this clam?  Only if you're hosting a bash where the goal is to get blackout drunk.