I’ve been watching Friday the 13th films for seven weeks now. Early on, I had been confused about the original film’s “call to action” if you will. “Was Jason dead? If not, why’d didn’t his mom look for him?” Once I was convinced by nerds on the internet that “Jason’s disappearance is explained in the official novelization to Part II *nerd slurp” I figured the series for the most part made sense. I was wrong. Not until this installment did I realize how confusing the timeline is in this franchise.
What would it take for you to risk it all? Would you gamble with your life for riches? To save a loved one? Maybe you’d only do it if you had nothing else to lose? This week on GMBM, we talk about two films that present two very different groups that go on suicide missions. One is the band of down-on-their-luck losers in 1977’s Sorcerer, a forgotten classic. The other is the band of goofy misfits from 2016’s Suicide Squad, the third critical failure in a row from DC’s Extended Universe. Check this pod to find out which one we loved and which we hated!
I saw the first John Wick after letting all the hype get to me. I remember seeing the trailer and thinking that it had a delightfully simple premise, but didn’t really care. But it seemed like everyone, from smart film critics to action movie buffs to idiots on the street, loved it, so I went and saw it. And I thought it was OK. I liked the world and the characters and the production but didn’t love it.
John Wick: Chapter 2 doubles down on all of that: it shows us more of the world, introduces new characters and brings back the ones I cared about, and features a greater variety of locations and types of action set pieces. And I thought it was OK. If someone tells you they liked the first one and not the second, I could not guess to tell you why, unless they just didn’t want more of the same. It makes me wonder if I like action movies at all.
Last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a disappointing reminder that two of the most iconic super heroes have been, and will continue to be, interpreted in an array of styles. While the DCEU is obviously indebted to The Dark Knight trilogy, that didn’t stop Zack Snyder from turning his Batman into an weary, cynical, massive bummer. Each director’s cinematic Batman was a shift from the last, and they are all different from the Batmen in various cartoons, TV shows, and the original comics, which have changed the character heavily since his first appearance in 1939. With that in mind, The Lego Batman Movie does its damnedest to reconnect the current idea of this character to his heritage.
In a more normal year, it’s entirely possible that I would’ve overlooked Julie Byrne’s Not Even Happiness without blinking an eye. This isn’t to say that I’m incapable of appreciating a quality stripped-down singer-songwriter album. But I guess it’s just a little hard for one of them to really grab me, especially one that relies so heavily on what I usually refer to as “pleasantness”. Which is the very definition of a back-handed compliment, and maybe one I should consider using less.
Because in a year where chaos seems to reign supreme, I find there’s been something incredibly comforting about wrapping myself up in the softness of Byrne’s guitar-playing and her voice. Hell, the album begins with the lyric, “Follow my voice./I am right here./Beyond this light./Beyond all fear”. And this has definitely been an album you can kind of just put on and kind of retreat into yourself while listening to. Which I think is something that has become healthy for us humans to do from time to time. Continue reading
“What do we do after we kill the bad guy?” Many slasher movies with an embarrassing amount of sequels face this dilemma. Some are smart. In Nightmare on Elm Street, Freddy Krueger only exists in the dream world, so he can be brought back as many times as deemed necessary. How about Child’s Play? Chucky is an evil soul inhabiting a doll. As long as you can produce a new doll, you can produce a new Chucky movie. Scream defies the issue by finding a new killer to don the mask with every sequel.
Sometimes the approach is as simple as “just ignore it.” Leatherface is blown up at the end of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Did they explain it in Part 3? Nah. What about Victor Crowley being beaten to a bloody pulp at the end of Hatchet II? Not a problem, he’s fine. This same technique was used, or should I say “abused” in the Halloween franchise. Though they later explained this in Part 6 when Michael Myer’s immortality was revealed to be the result of evil Druid magic.
This leads to the dumbest way to keep a franchise going, “Magic.” Halloween committed this sin in 1995 but nine years prior a little black magic transpired in the small town of Crystal Lake or should I say, “Forest Green”—more on that in a bit—and the Friday the 13th franchise was never the same. But was this dumb change for the better?
What better album to feature for Valentine’s Day than one from Paris, France: “The City of Love.” Awhile back, I set out to review an acclaimed album once a week—for Classic Album Tuesdays—chronologically from 1957 to modern day. I crapped out at 1961. The problem being most rock albums back then sucked. Don’t get me wrong. There were 31-flavors of good Jazz and Blues. Yet Rock had yet to evolve past the single. Most rockers were too busy being rebels (most of which without causes) and dying in motorcycle crashes.