Thursday, April 26, 2012

100 Movies that make me Love Film: 84. Royal Tenenbaums

Every Thursday I discuss one of the 100 films that make me love cinema

Wes Anderson gets a bad rep for being the hipsterest of Hipster. I’m sure that an element of that is true, but I’ve mostly loved all of his movies. The first film of his that really grabbed my attention was Royal Tenenbaums. I don’t remember the circumstances leading to me first watching it but I believe it was based on my high school film teacher recommending it to me.
Royal Tenenbaums is one of those impressive movies with a huge cast of big names and it manages to work from start to finish. Depending on who you talk to some will say Royal Tenenbaums is where Wes peaked others will say it’s where he begins to decline. The biggest complaint being that the movie feels more like a play than a film. This is humorous argument for me though because Rushmore was specifically designed to look like a play. 
The story follows the Tenenbaum family 22 years after their HeyDays. Each member of the family ranging from the sons Chas & Richie, adopted daughter Margot, wife Etheline or her ex-husband Royal has their own issue. When Royal runs out of money he fakes having cancer in order to move back into his house and get to know his family. Slowly he improves their lives (in his own messed up way).
This was the point where Anderson’s screenplay writing started to lean to drama’s with subtle comedy throughout. I really adored this movie and it never fails to make me smile. It has some hard hitting moments, a great soundtrack and a incredible performances. Highly recommended.

When Matt Kelly isn’t defending animated fish comedies of the 60′s he’s tweeting, writing for and producing his podcast the Saint Mort Show (check out this week’s episode with Joe Whiteford and Chad Neidt as well as his Guilty Pleasure forThe Incredible Mr. Limpet)
<---- 85. Alligator
83. Young@Heart ----->

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 84. Hellogoodbye EP

Every Tuesday I discuss one of the albums that made me LOVE music

When I was a freshmen in college I used to work at this head shop in our local mall. Because of the location I’d see plenty of friends throughout my shift who’d come by after they were done shopping. One day while working there my friend Shrop showed up and gave me a random CD. He had just picked up an album at the record store, I can’t remember the artist but they were on Drive Thru Records because the disc also had a sampler of music inside of it. Shrop said he already had that sampler and gave it to me. I thanked him, we talked for a bit, he left and an hour or two later I locked up and drove home.

During the drive I listened to the comp that he gave me. I really don’t remember many of the songs on the sampler but I remember the second Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn came on I kept playing it back and listening to it over and over again. The song was a weird, but awesome blend of Nintendo-core, punk and New Wave. I quickly learned all the words to the song and needed to get the whole album.

At this point Hellogoodbye only had an EP out. So I walked down to the record store before my shift and picked it up. Since it was only an EP it cost me about $5. Our store had a CD player in it so as soon as my shift started I put it on and listened to it over and over again. The album was a mere 20 minutes long with only 6 tracks (and 5 songs) but I listened to it over and over again that day (I worked a 6 hour shift, you do the math).
Every song (except for maybe the Kompressor inspired Jesse Buy Nothing... Go To Prom) spoke to my hopeless romantic heart. The songs were all catchy and fun but the best track was the closing track Dear Jamie... Sincerely Me. 
The sweet and slow song tells the story of a lovesick boy writing a letter to his crush Jamie. It always makes me think of Can’t Hardly Wait. I imagine that our narrator has worked on this letter for years and years hoping to win this girl over after years of friendship. It’s also accompanied by a music video by my friend Jonathan London. While I love the video, Jonathan left that shoot never wanting to work with the band or Drive Thru Records ever again.
After years of waiting a full length I was pretty disappointed by their follow up Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! and after hearing stories of Jonathan’s music video shoots. I basically wrote the band off as a group that released a really great EP but would be forgotten after another two albums. However in 2010 the band released Would It Kill You? where the completely changed their style (dropping all the synth/dance sounds) and won me back again. 
I eagerly await their next album.

When Matt Kelly isn’t defending animated fish comedies of the 60′s he’s tweeting, writing for and producing his podcast the Saint Mort Show (check out this week’s episode with Joe Whiteford and Chad Neidt as well as his Guilty Pleasure for The Incredible Mr. Limpet)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 85 - Alligator

Every Thursday I discuss one of the movies that made me love film

I don’t know what drove me to rent Alligator II: The Mutation when I was a kid. I guess I started getting curious about horror movies and since it was PG-13 it seemed like a safe option. But I enjoyed the idea of big monsters, perhaps stemming from loving Jaws as a kid. So the next week I decided to man up and rent the first Alligator movie.
I guess it was the gorehound in me waiting to come out, but I loved Alligator so much I think I watched it 5 or 6 times before returning the video tape. The gore was just so intense and in your face. Afterward the 5 days were up and I had to return the movie I stayed away from horror for another year when I saw The Frightners and Scream and became a full-on horror fan.
Alligator tells the tale of Police Officer David Madison and Reptile export Marisa Kendall as they try to find and stop a giant Alligator living in the sewers of Chicago. Much like anything by the films of Full Moon Pictures, Alligator has always represented the classic (pre-DVD/Internet) days of movie rental. Pure exploitation at it’s best, over the top performances, and well placed comedy.
After I got back into horror my cousin and I taped Alligator and Alligator 2 off the Sci-Fi channel and watched it repeatedly. We’d even play ‘Alligator’ in the pool. Which is ironic because as I explained in my Movies that Ruined my Childhood entry I discussed how one scene involving a little boy made it so I couldn’t swim at night anymore (something that even now at 26 still doesn’t rub me the right way).
Alligator still remains one of my favorite films of all time. It’s always a pleasure to get to watch it and rewatch. Now if only Alligator 2 would get a DVD release.

tweet. I make Music. I podcast. I write for Geekscape.

<------ 86. Trick R Treat

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

100 Albums That Made Me Love Music: 85. Mr T Experience: Revenge is Sweet, And So Are You

Every Tuesday I write about one of the albums that makes me love music

The first time I ever heard MTX was in high school on the Short Music For Short People comp. With their song only being about 15 seconds long and basically just being them harmonizing the word fuck I wasn’t overly impressed. When I got more into Geekscape I’d hear host Jonathan London mention them repeatedly as one of the best punk bands of all time. But I still did not check out the T. It wasn’t until 2007 when Alternative Press released a list of the 10 best albums released in 1997. I owned 9 of the 10 but their #1 album Mr. T Experience: Revenge is Sweet and So Are You I did not own. So I bought a copy on Amazon that night.

What I always assumed was the band played fast-foul mouthed like the song from Short Music, however it turned out to be an album packed with wonderfully crafted loved songs. Mr. T Experience have been around for years (although vocalist/guitarist Dr. Frank is the only consistent member). Revenge is Sweet and So Are You was released around the time when the band was at their popularity peak with their previous albums Our Bodies, Our Selves and Love is Dead having songs used in the college comedy Glory Daze.
I’ve picked up quite a few other MTX albums (although Jonathan will always find an album by them I don’t own yet to yell at me about it) and while I strongly agree with London about how great and under-appreciated they were. Revenge is Sweet, And So Are You still remains their best work in my eyes.
Songs like Your Brains and My Looks, The Weather is Here (wish you were beautiful) and Who Needs Happiness (I’d rather have you) all have a humorous element of sweetness to them despite their sarcastic and bitter titles. However my favorite track is ‘And I Will Be With You” which much like the best Ramones songs has elements of 50’s rock in it’s dancey punk styling.

Truly a band that deserved much more success. Since disbanding Dr. Frank has managed to have a pretty successful career as a writer. I highly recommend his book King Dork. It’s one of the best young adult books of all time.

tweet. I make Music. I podcast. I write for Geekscape.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film - 86. Trick R Treat

Every Thursday I Discuss one of the 100 movies that made me love film

Around 2008 I started hearing people talk about this horror anthology that was supposed to be one of the best horror films in years. Every once and while I’d see a cool still from it and go ‘Man that looks good’. But it felt like every time I heard a release date it’d get pushed back. The rumors were it was either to ‘make room for the Saw Sequels’ or due to the poor box office of Superman Returns (The writer of Trick R Treat co-wrote Superman Returns).
Finally after two years of waiting (but what felt like much more) the movie finally got a DVD release. It quickly became a horror fan favorite, receiving unanimous praise from horror websites, Blood Disgusting even calling it’s direct-to-vide release “criminal”. Two years after it’s release IFC even played the film 24 straight-hours for Halloween. And most importantly I covered it in my 31 Movies of Halloween countdown.
Trick ‘r Treat tells the five short stories about what can happen to you if you fail to follow the rules of Halloween. Each story is good for it’s own merits and it flows from story to story seemlessly with characters from the various tales interacting with each other throughout.
Due to it being an anthology film I’d prefer to not discuss any major details of the movie’s plot-lines and twists. While the film had a quick cult following there are still many people who haven’t seen the film still. What I will say is that this film is definitely one of the best horror films in the last decade (if not THE best), one of the best horror films of all time and writer/director Mike Doherty has proven himself to be the horror director to keep your eye on the most. Never before has a film lived up to the two years of hype I had created.
Since I really don’t want to spoil any of the twists, turns and surprises I’m just going to post the trailer and call it a day today.

tweet. I make Music. I podcast. I write for Geekscape.

<---- 87. The Breakfast Club

85. Alligator ----->


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 86. Sublime - 40 oz to Freedom

Every Tuesday I Discuss one of the Albums that Makes me Love Music

Like a lot of people I didn’t know who Sublime was until their massive self-titled album released post-humorously after lead singer Bradley Nowell. Being a huge fan of that album I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to hear any more music, it wasn’t until a year later that I found out that it was their third album not their debut.
I remember the first I heard of anything related to 40 oz to Freedom was my freshmen year of high school. I was in a computer class and my friend Rob kept singing Date Rape, eventually I asked him what it was and he played me the actual song. I really dug it but it sounded very different than the Sublime that I was familiar with from the self-titled album I had purchase four years earlier. 

That summer my family vacation was at a mountain house. It rained the entire weekend and we ended up stuck inside most of the trip. Since we didn’t really bring any supplies for being trapped indoors we were starting to climb the walls (They didn’t get any TV channels and the only movies we had to watch was Bowfinger with Eddie Murphy). Finally my dad decided if we were going to be stuck indoors most of the trip we was at least going to drive to the store and pick up more entertaining things. I went with him and while we were in the mall looking for board games, movies and other indoor activities I walked into the CD store and picked up a copy of 40 oz to Freedom. 
I remember putting on my headphones and listening to this CD for the first time. This was a very different Sublime than what I was used to hearing. I remember the first time I listened too it I didn’t like it except for 3 or 4 songs. I felt extremely disappointed and didn’t touch the CD again for a year or two.  It wasn’t until a friend told me to give it a second spin during my senior year of high school, suddenly I was hearing the CD for the amazing album it was.
What I had once disliked about the album became the thing I loved the most. You see the thing that made me dislike the CD was that it wasn’t their self-titled album, but that became the reason to love it more. The self-titled album has a great range of genre’s but it’s nothing like 40 oz. You’ve got straight up punk rock (Hope), Ska (Date Rape), Acoustic (KRS-One) and sometimes all different styles wrapped in one (New Thrash).
It is honestly one of the most impressive debut albums and independent releases of all time.

tweet. I make Music. I podcast. I write for Geekscape. Here I am defending Bunny Whipped. Enjoy

Thursday, April 5, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film - 87. The Breakfast Club

Every Thursday I list one of the 100 Movies that make me love Film

There are two movies that I think will always come up in people’s minds as soon as they hear the words 80’s teen flick. The first movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off the other is the Breakfast Club.
The Breakfast Club was one of those movies that you just know, even before you’ve seen it. I knew the cover and the cast and I knew that it was about a detention. I also knew it was from the guy who write and directed Ferris Bueller so I was super excited. “This is going to be hilarious,” I thought. 
I was half correct. The movie has some legitimate laughs, but don’t be fooled, this a drama through and through. It follows five kids, some popular some outcasts stuck in a Saturday detention together. What starts as general hatred boils down and they realize they are all the same.
The movie is full of cliches by today’s standards. But in 1985 there was no other film that saying that to kids. The dialogue, the friendship and the soundtrack all represent an era of time.

There’s not much to say about this movie. If you’ve seen it you understand why it’s great. If not, rent it and you’ll understand.

tweet. I make Music. I podcast. I write for Geekscape. Here I am defending American Pie: Naked Mile. Enjoy

<----- 88. Heavyweights

86. Trick R Treat ------->

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music - 87. My Chemical Romance: The Black Parade

Every Tuesday I've Been Discussing one of the Albums that made me love Music

In 2004 I had just heard of My Chemical Romance’s name and made a quick decision what type of music they played. Assuming that it was just the same old ‘pop punk disguised as goth’ I became to call them My Chemical Tightpants. That was until one fall when I got into my friend Brian’s car and he was listening to The Black Parade.
I immediately thought it might have been the newest Bright Eyes album (which in retrospective is ridiculous because Gerard Way sounds nothing like Conor Oberst vocally, but the songs were so full of orchestration it immediately made me think of albums like Lifted or the Story is in the Soil, Keep your ear to the Ground.
The album is a rock opera like Green Day’s American Idiot or multiple Queen Albums. This particular story follows “The Patient” who is dying of cancer. It tells of the story of his death early on (The End, Dead!) his experience in the afterlife (Welcome to the Black Parade) and his reflections on his life (Cancer, Mama).
The album completely changed my perspective on a band I never gave a fair chance to anyway. My favorite song is still The End. I love the melody and the way the song continues to builds to leading into a big rock out (Dead!). The first few songs are just your standard rock songs but then you get to the first single Welcome to the Black Parade.

I know many friends that absolutely hate this song, but it’s instrumentation has continued to make it one of the most interesting rock songs in modern history (comparable only to Panic At the Disco’s I Write Sins Not Tragedies). The song begins with a simple piano riff and vocals, slowly the rest of the band comes in adding in a marching band vibe, the song continues to build until it explodes into a full fledge rock song. It really is the closest a punk band has ever come to recreating the song structure of Queen (hate all you want classic rock fans, it’s true).
Throughout the album the songs transition into each other nicely, not a single track is wasted on a mediocre song. The album was such a massive success but critically and commercially that it took the band four years to release a follow-up. While it continued to be a concept album and had a few decent songs it definitely didn’t hold up the standard that The Black Parade had set.
Black Parade had a garage rock sound in songs like House of Wolves and meanwhile other songs like The End and Cancer have a legitimate dramatic sadness to them. Hell the song Mama even has elements of polka in it.
This is what all concept albums should strive to be but only a few have successfully achieved.

tweet. I make Music. I podcast. I write for Geekscape. Enjoy

<------- 88. Unsung Zeros: Moments From Mourning