I had every intention of writing a short piece in memory of Mr. Fuji today, but then I was hit with the news of Gene Wilder's passing. Man, where do I start? When I was 12 (or maybe 13), I was gifted Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory on VHS while I was in the hospital recovering from major hip surgery. I've had several invasive operations, but I consider that to be the worst for a directory of reasons I won't recite here. Gene Wilder's magical performance was one of the aspects of Willy Wonka that pulled me through the morass. Upon being sent home, I watched it damn near every day. It wouldn't be long before I discovered Young Frankenstein.
Holy shit. What a fucking movie. Again, I was in tune with Wilder, and I almost have all of his dialogue committed to memory (that's a big deal for me; I never recall dialogue or lyrics). He is pitch-perfect as "Dr. Fronkensteen." He was basically great in everything. His timing, his voice...dude, his voice! A friend and I have around a half-dozen Wilder in-jokes, but they require a superb impersonation. It nettles me that I don't possess his voice box. His frenzied screams are legendary. "Destiny! Destiny! No escaping that for me!" You couldn't escape your fate, but you won't escape your place in the annals of Hollywood history either. Your fans won't let that happen.
Most wrestling adherents know Mr. Fuji as an evil manager with a voracity for table salt (I wonder if they thought he was just really, really superstitious). I can't blame them. I loved it when Demolition turned heel and took on Mr. Fuji as their guidance counselor of sorts. He also did fantastic work - perhaps the best of his career as a manager - with Yokozuna, acting as his proxy and polyglot. Oh, and evil "advocate." I won't pretend to have seen the bulk of his matches as a wrestler, but Mr. Fuji (a.k.a. Harry Fujiwara, his birth name) spent an ample percentage of his ring-active career under the employ of Vince McMahon Sr. and three years under Vince Jr.
He tended to stick to the tag team division where he found tremendous success. Mr. Fuji was significant, as he was one of the first Asian-Americans to get over in the states and have a durable, scopious career. Name any other Japanese star from the early 70's who managed to stay on American television into the mid-90's. Aside from Hulk Hogan. Sorry, this eulogy (?) needed a fleck of levity. Hoping to see a respectful tribute to Mr. Fuji tonight on Raw.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:04 PM
FLYING CAULDRON BUTTERSCOTCH BEER
I did it! I found one that I like! Of course, I was going to grab a beaker of this bubbly based on the name alone. The actual flavor was of very little consequence, but I'm cronies with butterscotch. Back to the gimmick. The label features a witch's cauldron riding a broomstick. Did I even have a choice? The gold and purple coloration gives the flagon (or ewer, if you prefer, and I guarantee that you don't) the luxurious affectation of a bottle of champagne. Conversely, the poppity-pop itself is bronze. Y'know, like beer. Fair enough; brews and butterscotch are both sepia-toned, but it's a tad misleading. Flying Cauldron's taste doesn't fall anywhere near root beer. And I can't imagine someone seeing this in a store and expecting honest-to-Lucifer beer.
Mom took this photo. The drink isn't trash, but this image sums up the site, no?
Obviously, I did my research on the review subject, as I do with all review subjects. I found a disturbing bagatelle of information. It seems that the motif of our non-alcoholic firewater was inspired by Harry Potter. Look, I understand that the series has its zealots, so I won't incriminate it. Buuuuut that's way less badass than plain-dealing occult soda. I want to be able to summon demons with my sweet, refreshing beverage! Phooey. Let's talk about the wallop and viscosity of Flying Cauldron. Or the general drippings. Either/or. First up, the smell test. Goddamn it, I'm going to start skipping this part because it simply smells...butterscotch-y. Besides, I'm no good at describing fragrances. This isn't going to make or break your purchasing decision, Keyshawn.
The elixir rates highly on the smoothness scale. There is just enough carbonation to let you know that you are not drinking melted ice cream. And therein lies the big revelation. Flying Cauldron does smack of butterscotch, but in my tongue's opinion, it has more in common with butter pecan ecstasy. You heard it here...er, unless you heard it somewhere else. This shit tastes exactly like butter pecan ice cream, and it's amazing. That's not even my favorite ice cream flavor (Neapolitan, baby), but it's fucking righteous in soda form. You don't care for butter pecan? Fine, it tastes like butterscotch. If you're still not on board, there is nothing I can do for you.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:07 PM
A friend tipped me off onto Warlord, a traditional heavy metal band from a country called America. They didn't release much in the way of long players, but they did kick ass in the early-to-mid 80's. Thy Kingdom Come wasn't a studio album per se; it was a compilation. Obviously, I chose it for its sweet cover art. There is a kingdom in the cosmos...and some rocks out front...covered in slime...hey, when it comes to metal album covers from the 80's, you don't ask questions!
I hope to get more writing done soon. As of right row, my bathroom is being gutted/refucked and we are having a new air conditioner installed (that means we have no A/C for a few days), so I haven't been able to concentrate on anything. I've been hearing a lot of drilling and a lot of banging. Unfortunately, my head is aching and my dick is dry. Later, nerds!
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 5:21 PM
THE GOLDEN VOYAGE OF SINBAD (1973)
Harryhausen returned to make monsters for The Golden Voyage, a sequel that many say doesn't hold up to Sinbad's Seventh Voyage. I'm inclined to agree. I'd still give it my emblem of endorsement (a giant "D"). It's easy to enjoy, what with it being the same movie. Plot-wise, there aren't scores of thunderbolt twists that took me aback and left me on the edge of my davenport. You know the drill; Sinbad sails Eastern waters in search of an amulet, but it's never as simple as it sounds, is it? He must engage in slugfests with an array of miscreants, all domineered by the nefarious Koura. The pieces are there, and yet, everything feels scaled down. I know I shouldn't compare this film to its predecessor, but here I am...comparing this film to its predecessor.
The six-armed Kali impresses in The Golden Voyage's best action sequence. Apart from a ship's figurehead that stirs to life (creepy bugger), the rest of Harryhausen's creations are wasted. They look neat, but part of the problem is the lack of human stakes. Caroline Munro is sex appeal poured over a skeleton base. I'm on board. Unfortunately, she wasn't given a character to play. John Phillip Law is adequate at best as Sinbad. I preferred Kerwin Mathews, but again, it's such a stock role. Tom Baker gets to have all the fun as Koura, and you could actually call what he does "performing." The Golden Voyage of Sinbad is absolutely worth checking out at your local library. Or wherever. I see it as a diluted rehash, but aren't we all diluted rehashes? Hmm?
I watched an episode of this year's Ultraman Orb (this episode, as a matter of fact) the other day. You should check it out, babe. It's fun. It's Ultraman! Ultraman shows are always fun, and they are a clandestine wellspring of kaiju critters. Remember, fellow kaiju creamers - we aren't limited to Godzilla's armory of opponents or Gamera's wacko foes. Or Yog. Or Gappa. No, each episode of Ultraman over the decades has featured a different monster. Isn't that fucking great???
PS ~ Directly after viewing Ultraman Orb, I took a gander at 1936's Things to Come, a grim H.G. Wells adaptation. It was intriguing, but I mainly reference it to brag about my versatility as a genre film buff. I'm incredibly humble when it comes to my blowhard habits.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:59 PM
Here's the thing; I'm not even sure if that advertisement is blazoning a tour from 1992 or a current tour called Summer of '92. I think it's the latter. That's nuts. Hey, En Vogue and Lisa Loeb? I'm down! I remember 1992. Surprisingly, a lot of people - people older than me - don't. More specifically, they don't remember Crystal Pepsi. My own mother couldn't recall one commercial, and I know baby boomers who have never heard of this limpid liquid. How is that possible? I know it was a flop, but you could still find it on shelves as late as 1994. This is where I make my startling confession. I might be coming across as a die-hard who still has original bottles (and cans, just clap your hands) of Crystal Pepsi in his basement. Truth be told, I never had the stuff!
My God, I may have startled myself. Petunia, are you okay? Petunia is the name I gave to my--wow, that's "TMI" territory, ol' buddy! Sorry. I always do that when I'm talking about my penis. Right, I was never fortunate enough to try Crystal Pepsi (or Oh, That Clear Shit?, as it was known colloquially) as a kid. As I plummeted into adulthood, I became a soda epicure. An aficionado? Alright, a specialist at best. Fuck, fine. FINE! I'm a soda junkie. I'm a burnout, a fuckin' space cadet. Poor Petunia is covered in track marks. What, my veins collapsed! I have no clue how a review of Crystal Pepsi took a dark turn this abruptly. What the fuck? I'm going to try to focus on the beverage at hand without branching off and hounding a hideous tangent.
Okay, so I was injecting heroin into my cock and oopsy-daisy...boy, am I a goofball or what? *audible laughter* When I heard the news that Pepsi was bringing their unsung hero back, I was mortally excited. I marked out, bro. Alas, I couldn't find the product late last year, the quarter in which it was supposedly (re)introduced to consumers. Since then, the lawless scuttlebutt has died down. That's probably a hyperbole, but there was serious buzz. Now? A reserved stillness. I was afraid that I had missed the boat until I saw it. "What did you see, Dom? Dom??? God, what's wrong with your legs?!?!? Oh, God!!!" I saw a beautiful display of one-liter bottles containing beautiful Crystal Pepsi.
It tastes like shit. Nah, just kidding. It's glorious! Obviously, I can't tell you if it tastes like the original Crystal Pepsi, but I can tell you that it smells of...Pepsi, basically. But it's not straight Pepsi. In my tongue, it's a smooth blend of Pepsi and Sprite. And it totally works. It’s easy on the throat, so indefinite quantities of this nutrient can vanish at a moment’s notice. Thank Satan it’s not alcoholic because sweet Lord, I would be in a state of rank crapulence. I would be dead. Fucking dead. Don’t laugh, Malcolm. It’s not funny. Full-blown heroin addiction; now that is posh, virtuous clay for comedians. Was this a review? I’m good at writing, right? *audible laughter*
I now understand unplanned pregnancies. No, I didn't inoculate a birdie with my berry; I stammered upon a goddamn miracle at a grocery store. My friends...oh, my friends. I will be posting an edition of The Soda Jerk (late) tomorrow night. It will not be a part of The Soda Jerk Unbound, which will continue after I get this soda out of my system. Literally, as I'm sure it will pass through my urinary tract by then.
I'm super stoked. I haven't actually tried it yet. You can guess the identity of the wonder-working amrita if you want, but you'll probably be wrong. It's not that one. Nopers, not that one either.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 8:03 PM
Katana hasn't been getting enough love. It's Harley this, Harley that. And with good reason! I understand; it's just that Katana is a badass who Suicide Squad invariably glosses over in favor of more popular characters. There are a lot of "bad guys" here, maybe too many. I didn't give a fuck about Captain Boomerang or that dude he was with for two scenes. Did he have a name? If it's not readily apparent by this point, I'm not a DC comics freak. However, I've always paid attention to Batman on a surface level. I've been a fan of Harley Quinn since I was a kid and watching Batman: The Animated Series was a part of my after-school regimen. Suicide spindrift has mizzled upon me from green-purple skies, so I'm certified to speak on the matter.
First, fuckin' Harley. I was worried about her dialogue going in (thanks, trailer), but most of it's fine. I ended up loving the kooky broad. No, it wasn't just because Margot Robbie is dream candy - especially as Harley Quinn. Her personality felt right. The only performance tic that rubbed me the wrong way was her stop-and-go accent. BUT I was thrilled to hear it at all, as I assumed it wouldn't be making an appearance. The same applies to the jester suit. 'Twas a flashback, I grant you, but when Harley appeared in full "old school" toggery, I realized...that I was a Harley Quinn fanboy. I mean, I nearly squeed in the theater. To be honest, I haven't been handling this revelation well, nor has my mother. We ask for privacy at this difficult time.
Deadshot! I don't see why they had to cast Will Smith, but my fears that he would be distracting proved to be unfounded. He was probably given the most depth. Naturally, the guy has charisma to spare, but I couldn't see him as Deadshot. I saw him as Will Smith. I didn't have that problem with anyone else in Suicide Squad, including The Clown Prince of Fuck. Yeah, I think of Leto's take on The Joker as Heath Ledger merged with Marilyn Manson. That's not necessarily a bad consolidation. Didn't love him; didn't hate him. I've read complaints about the way he was used, but in my eyes, this wasn't his movie. The Joker is a bit player. This is Harley's breakout picture. If DC is smart (...), they'll drop this universe shit as soon as possible and return to stand-alone franchises. Harley Quinn is a goddamn star.
In the first half of Suicide Squad, Enchantress is hot. She's a nifty, mysterious witch with nifty, mysterious powers. Then her and her brother fuck the world up with CGI. Seriously, the final 30 minutes smell like the Ghostbusters remake. I haven't bothered to absorb the Ghostbusters remake, but you know what I mean. Jeesh. The effects are terrible, slow-motion is overused, oh, and the stinger! It nearly fell out of my brain. It's...fuck, I can't spoil it. It's useless. I'll leave it at that. Would I recommend Suicide Squad? If you haven't had a chance to see it yet, please do so. I spent this block of text grousing (some might say pissing and/or moaning), but I had a blast with this flick.
It's definitely flawed, but pay no mind to the bounding brine of extreme opinions bearing down on the web. Form your own opinion. If you're interested in seeing the film, that is. Would you look at that? I had zero intentions of writing a full review. Might as well include a rating. Robert Z'Dar says, "Don't drag me into this. And don't...just don't!"
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 11:50 AM
I've only heard a couple of Uriah Heep songs, but if any cover deserves to be the Album Cover of the Whatever, it's the epic-as-Iliad artwork adorning UH's Innocent Victim. Slap some corpsepaint on that snake sumbitch, and you could be looking at a potential Random Reviews mascot. That gives me an idea...hmm...HMM...
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:46 PM
It's worthy of note (not really) that I opted not to display a poster. That's a lobby card. I think it looks neat. Plus, this enables me to remind precious readers of my gasconading, power-bent ways. I might be out of control, but at least I'm not a cannibalistic humanoid underg...wait, wrong movie. These booger fuckers do hail from cloacae. "Cloacae" is the plural form of "cloaca," which is defined as a sewer (it also has a gross medical meaning). Look, I know I pull this crap from time to time, but what's so offensive about getting an education? As I was saying, the titular creatures in 1963's The Slime People rise from the shit tubes beneath your shoes. They. Are. Awesome. As a matter of factual opinion, they account for most of my rating.
Let me back up a step or two. I dig how the story starts. The Slime People begins with the city (we're never given many details on our setting) already demolished, and we see the mucus mutants full-frame, stomping in the vicinity of the camera with spears in clammy claw. They even have cool weapons! We follow a pilot, a professor and his two daughters as they survey the landscape. It becomes clear that the slime people - as they are dubbed by the characters - have built an impenetrable dome over the city. The rampart is made of fog stone. I mean, it was fog that turned into stone. You see, the teratoid monstrosities have their very own fog machine (!). It's fucking magical. Don't know how it works, don't know how...it works. Don't know how it works.
I love fog, especially in black-and-white horror productions, so it's ironic that fog hog-ties this cob roller. Bob. Job. Slob. Correct! Usually, mist is used as icing. Here, it's the cake, and it's smeared on the lens like petroleum jelly. The exterior shots (mainly in the second half) are hard to watch. I viewed this bitch on DVD, but at certain points, I felt as if I was squinching askance at a YouTube clip. Fog must have crept inside the shutter...exposure...yeah, I don't know anything about cameras. The goddamn fog ordeal is the film's biggest drawback. It takes away from the climax, but by and large, The Slime People is entertaining stuff. It's fun, goofy and...
...the creature effects rock hard! You can trust me because I have statistics on my side. Over half of the (meager) budget was earmarked for the slimer suits. It shows, man. They are covered in scales and ridges and dicks. A-ha! I have to keep you awake. Did I mention that they carry huge, badass spears? Their human co-stars are alright. The hero is played by Robert Hutton, a man who also tried his hand at directing. Which silver screen classic of the golden age did he helm? This one! My favorite cast member is Les Tremayne, a veteran of all genres. I recognized him from The Angry Red Planet and The Monster From Piedras Blancas. He is lively as ever as a boozer who doesn't give a fuck until he's nearly impaled.
I understand that the sequel, The Suicide Squad, is hitting theaters this weekend. Let's hope it does the original justice.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 8:51 PM
Real quick - the lovely lass pictured is Anya Taylor-Joy of The Witch fame. It has come to my attention that I am falling madly in love with her. Yes, she IS legal. She seems like a cool person, and what's more, her slate of upcoming projects is littered with sci-fi/horror refreshments. Just thought I'd...throw that out there. I'm sure that she has an Internet connection. What??? It's not improbable. She sees a blog post, she sees the handsome "master of ceremonies," she sees his cute doggy and maybe...I dunno...she sees a potential family? Laugh all you want. Satan will guide my way!
This was supposed to be a harmless site update. I've already invoked The Accuser and probably precipitated the portage of a restraining order. I merely wanted to say that my next "thing" will be another movie review, and then finally, I will bring the second half of The Soda Jerk Unbound to fruition. Don't rush the stage all at once.
Posted by Dom Coccaro at 7:34 PM