Thursday, November 29, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film - 58. Lost Boys

58. Lost Boys

I think I’ve pretty much established that I love horror movies in this blog. But I didn’t always love them. For years I was terrified to watch any of them. This was weird for a kid who’s favorite movie as a kid was stuff like Monster Squad and Beetlejuice. Regardless for the most part I avoided horror movies like the plague until about 6th grade. However despite all that I’ve always enjoyed Lost Boys. 

It was probably one of first ‘real’ horror movies I ever watched. I put horror in quotes because my roommate Jeff seems to think this is more of an action/comedy than a legit horror movie. To that I say... blood explodes out of sinks, heads explode, vampires sink their teeth into people’s skulls... it’s a horror movie.

When brother Michael and Sam move to their grandparents house with recently divorced mother Lucy they’re forced to try to get used to their new home. Luckily Santa Carla is a coastal location so their’s plenty of beach parties where things like this happen

Michael defends a group of biker rebels mostly based on his desire to bang the free-spirited Star. Sam meets a group of militant comic store kids Edward and Alan Frog who warn Sam to keep an eye out for vampires. The two even claim to be expert vampire slayers. Sam laughs off their claims, until Michael becomes a vampire when being inducted into the biker gang (who all happen to be vampires). Sam must find the head vampire and kill him or deal with the fact that his brother is one of the undead.

Lost Boys is a fine example of how to mix horror and comedy effectively. The film has some extremely dated 80’s moments that may turn off some viewers but for me I find that to be part of the film’s charm. 

Jamison Newlander plays Alan Frog. Sadly he had a very short lived career (based on his own decision not death or anything) as he has the best delivery of anyone in the movie. That being said this is the film that started the Corey’s friendship and the two of them certainly take joy in overacting in any scene that they get a chance to. 

If you’ve seen Lost Boys than chances are you already love it. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s hard to say if the movie holds up without the glasses of nostalgia. Regardless it’s the best film Joel Schumacher ever made.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 58. Cake - Fashion Nugget

58. Cake: Fashion Nugget

One of the most unexpected hit singles ever was The Distance by Cake (or really any Cake hit single). The band was Anti-Rock, Anti-Hip Hop, Anti-Pop and Anti-Grunge yet they exploded in a time when those were the biggest things on the radio. For a kid in Elementary School at the time of release this was a confusing thing.

I loved The Distance when I heard it and asked for Fashion Nugget for Christmas. When you’re a kid you can’t wrap your head around some things. One of those things is that the single should represent the album as a whole. Fashion Nugget definitely didn’t do that. I wanted 14 tracks of monotone rapping, at best I got 2 of them. At 27 I love the very thing that 11 year old me hated (holy shit this CD is 16 years old!?)

It seems like the three songs I disliked as a kid are now the three songs I loved the most. Those songs are opening track Frank Sinatra and closing tracks Italian Leather Sofa and Sad Songs and Waltzes. Vocalist John McCrea’s “singing” on this particular songs are the best he’s ever sounded. 

The album blends Jazz and Rock in such a strange way that it’s almost impossible to correctly categorize it to any specific genre. The band has had plenty of records after this, many of them good and full of catchy singles but none will ever surpass Fashion Nugget.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

100 Movies that Makes Me Love Film: 59. All Dogs Go to Heaven

All Dogs go to Heaven was the first movie I ever saw in the theaters. I was four years old at the time (which makes me happy, it means my mom and dad weren’t those assholes that brought their new born to the movies) so I don’t remember much about the experience but I remember being completely in love with the whole moment. 

For years after seeing the movie the film was a source of rare bonding for my father and I. My dad was an athlete throughout high school, a big drinker and partier post-school. I, however, at 24 still have yet to drink, I’m not much of a partier (and never was) and I hate sports in general. All Dogs Go To Heaven will always represent my big moment of finding out that movies were something connecting me with my dad. As the years went on my taste in film and his have started to differ, but we still can bond over the first one: taking me to see All Dogs Go To Heaven. 

The animated film opens up with Charlie (Burt Reynolds) being broken out of “jail” (aka the pound) by his best friend, a nervous Dachshund Itchy (Dom Deluise). Charlie co-owns a popular dog casino currently run by Carface (Vic Tayback). The money is really rolling in and taken over by greed, Carface decides that he and his sidekick Killer (Charles Nelson Reilly) need to take Charlie “out of the picture”. So they take him out to Mardi Gras to celebrate Charlie’s freedom. They get Charlie drunk and then hit him with their car (subtle they are not).

Despite having never doing a single kind and unselfish act, Charlie goes to heaven (because all dogs go to heaven, as I’m sure you heard…I mean it’s the title of the movie). While in heaven, Charlie finds a room of pocket watches (each one representing a person’s life; once the watch stops the person dies), he tracks down his watch and winds it up, thus returning to Earth.

Once he’s back on Earth (with the pocket watch around his neck) he visits Itchy and begins planning to build a rival casino against Carface. To get the funding they decide to steal Carface’s “secret weapon” Anne-Marie (Judith Barsi) a young orphan with the ability to talk to all animals. They take Anne-Marie to various animal races, having the animals tell her what animal to bet on. They promise Anne-Marie that the money will go to the poor (like Robin Hood) however, the only use the money to fund their casino. Getting upset with their lies Anne-Marie goes to visit one of the families that they stole from in order to bet on the animals. Charlie tricks Anne-Marie into leaving the house and takes to hiding inside of an old warehouse. They fall through the floor and land in the lair of a giant singing alligator who bonds with Charlie over their mutual love of song. The ordeal leaves Anne-Marie with pneumonia.

Charlie takes Anne-Marie to an abandoned church in hopes that she’ll get better. Meanwhile, Carface and Killer beat up Itchy and burn down the casino. Itchy yells at Charlie for caring more about Anne-Marie than his own best friend and despite growing to care about her, Charlie denies that Anne-Marie means anything to him, saying that she’s simply been kept around to make some money. Anne-Marie overhears this and runs away only to be kidnapped by Carface.

Charlie goes after her while Itchy rounds up other dogs to get the family they had robbed to save Anne-Marie as well. Charlie, Anne-Marie, Carface and Killer all end up on an oil tanker fighting. The alligator comes to help and eats Carface. Anne-Marie and Killer abandon ship but Charlie doesn’t get off the tanker in time and is killed in an explosion. The family welcomes Anne-Marie with open arms. 

A few nights later Anne-Marie is visited by Charlie’s ghost, he asks her to take care of Itchy and then returns to Heaven.

All Dogs go to Heaven is an interested example of animated films, specifically non-Disney films. Don Bluth’s film has such dark undertones; these characters are all cruel and selfish (except Anne-Marie and the family that eventually takes her in). Charlie can only really be described as an anti-hero (though in true kid’s movie fashion he learns the error of his ways). From the start our character is breaking out of prison, runs a casino/speakeasy for dogs, he steals, he’s greedy and  selfish, yet we in the audience cheer for him regardless; he’s practically a character from a Martin Scorsese film.

This is not Don Bluth’s best film, but it’s always been my favorite. The characters of Charlie & Itchy as well as Carface and Killer have such wonderful chemistry together. This is partially due to the fact that Dom DeLuise (the world of voice-actors is still mourning his loss, or at least I am) and Burt Reynolds requested that they be allowed to record their dialogue together (Vic Tayback and Charles Nelson Reilly followed in their foot-steps as well) which lead to all four actors improving lines which Don Bluth has said “were many times funnier than what was written in the script”. This movie will always be remembered as the movie I first saw in the theaters, but it’s also the movie I watched in honor of Dom DeLuise, just to remind myself that you can’t keep a good dog down.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

100 Albums that Make Me Love Music: 59. Modest Mouse - We were dead before the ship even sank

I don’t remember this album coming out. I feel like Modest Mouse was a band that was popular for a single hit and then quietly disappeared into a career of occasionally having their songs pop up in Indie Film Soundtracks. Then during my senior year of college I took a Bi-Sci class. How teacher was this hot indie rock/hipster and she played us the song Parting of the Sensory in order to explain Biology to use (Someday you will die and somehow something’s gonna steal your carbon). About a week or two later Scrubs used the song Missing the Boat on an episode and I decided that I should pick up this record.

From the first ten seconds of March Into the Sea I realized that Modest Mouse had continued their ongoing evolution into one of the strangest and most unique bands out there. Issac Brock’s bizarre vocal style, catchy guitar hooks and awkward time signatures are scattered all over this record. While there’s no throwaway tracks there are definitely stand out tracks including the 3 tracks I’ve already mentioned as well as the first single Dashboard.

Almost all the tracks have an general “sailors sinking to their deaths” theme. While I don’t relate to this particular topic as I fear the ocean and think we all should Brock’s ability to write through each characters eyes/mind while making it all relatable is impressive.

If there was ever a song I wish I wrote though, it’s March into the Sea. It’s so bizarre Chaotic and fun.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

100 Movies that Make me Love Film: 60. Wristcutters: A Love Story

I first heard of this movie on an episode of Geekscape and it sounded incredible. Sadly it never came to a near by theater and I was forced to wait almost a year until it was available on netflix. I immediately watched it the second I had time and fell head over heels in love with it. 

The film is a weird little flick about limbo. In the mythos of movie if you commit suicide your punishment is living in a weird limbo which is basically exactly like earth except duller. You can see how everyone committed suicide as the effects of your suicide are evident. Your wrists are cut, there’s exit wounds, there’s twisted necks and much more.

After committed suicide when his girlfriend dumps him Zia ends up in this limbo. However he discovers after his suicide his ex also took her life and he decides to go on a roadtrip to find her.

Along the way he meets Eugene and Mikal and the three develop a close bound. The best part of this movie is the relationship between the three. Their journey is filled with fun twist and turns. I’m not sure if I should thank Etgar Keret (who came up with the story) or Goran Dukic (who wrote the screenplay) but whoever crafted out the weird road trip through the afterlife did an exceptional job.

While the ending leaves something to be desired all in all this is a film that I love showing people, and they’ve all seemed to love it as well.

<------ 61.="61." a="a" href="" nbsp="nbsp">Annie Hall

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

100 Albums That Make Me Love Music: 60. Eels - Daisies of the Galaxy

The first time I listened to Eels Daisies of the Galaxy I tweeted a statement along the lines of “I think my favorite Eels album is ‘whatever one I’m listening to at that moment.’ It’s not far from true, I could easily have included their entire discography (except for their debut Beautiful Freak which I have lukewarm feelings for). Daisies of the Galaxy is the band’s follow-up to their critical adored sophomore record Electro-Shock Blues.

Daisies of the Galaxy follows the same path the band started on with Electro-Shock Blues. If nothing else the album gets a little softer. E and Butch crafted out there bizarre Indie folk sounds with songs like “I Like Birds” and “Smell of Fear”. However it’s the acoustic songs like “Packing Blankets” and “It’s a Motherfucker” that make the record so perfect in my eyes. The latter being the stand-out track.

I think that song more than any other exemplifies why I love the emotion in this record. Without getting too deep into the history of Electro-Shock Blues (because spoiler alert its on my list also), Electro-Shock Blues is an album that was birthed out of E finding out his mother and sister had both died while he was on tour. “It’s A Motherfucker” on first listen sounds like something that should belong on Electro-Shock Blues more than Daisies of the Galaxy. But soon you realize how incorrect that is.

If Electro-Shock Blues is a record about getting over loss than Daisies of the Galaxy is about moving on. “It’s A Motherfucker” is the most important song on the entire record. While songs like “Packing Blankets”, “Mr E’s Beautiful Blues” and “I LIke Birds” have an upbeat sound and good vibe but “It’s a Motherfucker” is the reminder that moving on isn’t easy.

If you’ve ever lost anyone you loved deeply, you know how this feels. You can move on and you’ll be doing great. And then suddenly you remember that someone you love is gone and you won’t ever see them again (or for a very very long time if you believe in a Heaven). “It’s a Motherfucker” perfectly captures all of these emotions as well as the way death changes a person. 

You’ll have to believe me when I say that the rest of this record is incredible but this is one of the rare articles where I just want to praise a single piece of songwriting to represent the album as a whole.

<-------- a="a" href=""> 61 The Postal Service: Give Up

Thursday, November 8, 2012

100 Movies That Make Me Love Film: 61. Annie Hall

Woody Allen’s career has been filled with ups and downs, Annie Hall is the point where he struck his stride. From this film he managed to release a new movie ever year and for the first 20 years they’ve almost all been critically adored. 

Annie Hall tells of a man’s relationships, specifically his most recent one with Annie Hall. The film jumps all throughout his relationship history and goes into various fantasy pieces (including an extremely humorous animated segment). 

Never has Diane Keaton looked more adorable than she does in this film. For decades this was the most realistic break-up film ever made. In the 40+ years since it’s release I can still only thing of two movies that have come close to matching it’s realism

This is a short one folks. If you’ve seen this film you know why it’s great, if you haven’t seen it I’d rather not ruin it for you. Here’s the trailer.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

100 Albums That Make me Love Music - 61. The Postal Service: Give Up

I love Ben Gibbard. I really do. Death Cab For Cutie is a great band and he’s a fantastic songwriter. However none of the Death Cab albums will ever be as great as the lone album by The Postal Service.

The two-man electronic group has only made 10 songs and a few remixes but those 10 songs are absolute perfection. The combination of Jimmy Tamborello’s electronic work and Ben Gibbard’s lyrics create an almost mystical world of it’s own.

I’ve never heard the album referred to as a concept album, but it certainly seems like it to me. I think this is what I’m going to discuss.

Perhaps it’s the synths but something about the album makes me think of a futuristic world. The album opens with The District Sleeps Alone Tonight. It paints the picture of an apartment complex on a quiet night. Songs like Recycled Air, This Place is a Prison, Brand New Colony and Natural Anthem all have science fictiony sounding names.

Ironically though my favorite songs are the 3 I haven’t named yet. Clark Gable which tells the story of a guy making an indie film with the girl he loves, Sleeping In which is a mostly non-sensical but catchy pop song and their biggest hit Such Great Heights. That was the first song I ever heard by the band and it quickly became a favorite song of mine (although at the time I was a biggest fan of the Iron & Wine cover). The song is almost too catchy for it’s own good and has one of the best melodies in the last decade.

I’d like to discuss this album more but I think I’ve just convinced myself to write a sci-fi music based on the album so I’m going to go do that instead.

<------- a="a" href="">62. Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP