Sunday, September 24, 2017

HHFF '17: Block D Recap: Shorts

My grandfather, Richard Brown, passed away last week at his home in Bristol, Connecticut. He was surrounded by two of my aunts and two of my uncles, and apparently it was as peaceful a passing as one could ever hope for. He made it a day past his 92nd birthday, which was two days after I turned 38. Shocking no one, I was sitting in a movie theater when I got the call.

I didn't answer my phone, but seeing that it was my own father calling from Hawai'i (and it was not on a Sunday), I knew the contents of the voicemail awaiting me. Though I'm sure he made his fair share of mistakes, and was far from a perfect man, he was an excellent grandfather. He always had time to listen to my nonsense, but even better, he had time to tell me some nonsense of his own. And when one of his ridiculous stories would end, he'd often sum it up with a favorite go-to phrase:

You don't have to be crazy, but it helps...


Had he been sitting in the third row with us (shoot, maybe he was), my grandfather could have turned to my wife and I and used his old punchline once again to perfectly sum up how we, attending our third consecutive Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival, felt as each short ended. All of the films were well-made, and one could assume, deeply personal, but as likely the only people in the sparse crowd not in the cast or crew of the entries, it's safe to say we didn't enjoy them as much as everybody else seemed to, you know? 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

That's not something you get to talk about.

Last year, I had just enough time to see Sully [review], and when I returned to work that night, I was rattled to say the least. I had to meet and greet the parents of my new students less than an hour after sobbing my way through the Miracle on the Hudson and I recall not really giving a damn about what anybody was saying.

This past Wednesday, a day shy of one year later, I managed to sneak in another flick before the dreaded Back-to-School Night kicked off. I wasn't the shell of a person I was in 2016, but my head clearly wasn't fully in the game (not that it ever is). See, it's hard to talk about some kid's future...

...when you've just spent two hours thinking about your own kid not having one.

Wind River, despite being set in the cold, hopeless dead of a snowstorm is an absolute f--king fireball of chaos and anguish. Anchored by men who've seen it all but don't say much, writer/director Taylor Sheridan's latest film is one of the best films I've seen in quite some time, and easily the highlight of the summer. But didn't you see it on back to school night, dickhead? Hey! Get that logic the f--k outta here.

I don't imagine working for the Fish and Wildlife Department is typically a life-or-death job (unless, you know, bears), but when Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner, cementing his status as the absolute f--king man) is recruited by FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen, incredible as always) to help with a homicide case, the body count has just begun. And while the people we'll lose along the way will certainly sting, it's the people that died along time ago that absolutely destroys us.

Cory is an expert tracker, with not only a vast knowledge of the unforgiving Wyoming landscape, but also an expert of many of the people that make their home on it. When Banner shows up to the Wind River Indian Reservation to investigate a homicide, it's pretty clear she ain't exactly dressed for this party. She's smart and incredibly resilient, but she's young. And these old men aren't exactly thrilled to be answering to a girl that's old enough to be their daughter.

About that...

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Glad I got to meet you before you died.

Where did you get these stains from?

As a young man, this question could quickly test your ability to craft a quality tale of fiction, but in this case, I opted for the stone-cold truth.

Oh, I got those in the sewer. 

My mom, as I recall, didn't bat an eye, and likely didn't even offer a follow-up question. She was more concerned with how the Hell she was going to get this brown stuff off the back of my white T-shirt. See, as a chubby sixth grader in the fall of 1990, along with a rag-tag crew of my friends, I used to explore the sewer system that ran throughout our quaint Hawaiian town. Crouching, we'd enter the small drain that emptied out into Josh's backyard and then find the main drain that flowed through the center of town. It was so tall we couldn't touch the ceiling, not that you'd want to in the first place. And being that it didn't rain much in our town, there wasn't really much down there of note. Well...

...until we found a dead body. 

(of a pig...but still)


Oddly enough, that same sixth grade year was the first (and only) time I read Stephen King's epic novel, It. As a kid, it was surely a memorable read, but I can't honestly recall if the exploits of Pennywise the Clown started or stopped our sewer-exploring exploits. We were really dumb kids, obviously, so it could have went either way (and perverts, too, as I read that one scene more than once to this group of deviants).

As an adult who ain't got time for any of that (reading lenghty novels and/or sewer browsing), I somehow found myself dealing with that creepy f--king clown again, exactly twenty-seven years later. But instead of swinging a dying flashlight around a musty drain pipe with Josh, Aaron, Jenny and Jess, it was me and Grunden and a packed f--king house to see the big-screen adaptation of It. Regardless of what anyone actually thought of the film, it was nice to be at a f--king event. 

While the book bounced back and forth between the childhoods and adulthoods of the main characters, director Andy Muschietti and his writers instead tell the sordid tale of Derry, Maine by focusing only on the early days of Bill, Eddie, Ben, Richie, Mike and Beverly. It's an interesting (if ultimately unsurprising) decision that pays off handsomely in the hands of such a gifted and charismatic cast of young actors.  While the film is certainly unsettling at times, it is an absolute joy to spend two hours with these incredible kids. And I don't say that lightly, as you know, I'm a teacher. Meaning?

I f--king hate kids.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

When I talk to him, I feel like I'm outside.

Being that I'm four-fifths unsightly troll, I had to work really hard to get a girl to like me in high school. Really hard. I had to like, be witty and stuff. Always. I had to (not) captain our (winless) varsity basketball team for two tumultuous seasons of BIIF (Big Island Interscholastic Federation) competition. Hell, I wrote f--king poems, you guys. Actual rhyming words, for f--k's sake. Oh, and Taco Bell? It's on me, m'lady. And, yeah, f--k it. Get some Cinnamon Twists, too. I'm making those part-time high-school janitor dollars.

But maybe love shouldn't be such hard work, right? Maybe it takes more than the personality and charm of a middle-aged bus driver catch the eye of a lovely young woman. Maybe it takes something more universally coveted. Something like...

..long hair.

And a f--king skateboard.


Risk sanity...for everything...everything.
In yet another episode of m.brown is a stupid asshole who watches shitty movies like a middle school girl, I decided to give something called Everything, Everything a go. Redboxed from the gas station nearest my house (which for some reason, creepy Google has decided is my place of employment), this teen-drama made me feel like a very old man. Like, the young people were talking, but a f--k I could give. Yeah yeah yeah, your life sounds real hard, kid. 

Try being a f--king adult.

Maddy is days away from turning 18, when the edgy and brooding Olly moves in next door. While it would be nice to meet him behind the U-haul for an e-cigarette and some dry humping, ol' Maddy can't leave her house. Ever. Yep, this chick has some ultra-rare immune deficiency or something, and any contact with the outside world will kill her immediately. Or so says her mom, Dr. Pauline Momlady (possibly not her real name). And maid Carla, you know, the one who just walked in from outside and handed Maddy the f--king mail. 

You're probably smart enough to know how this one ends, but clearly I ain't exactly setting the world ablaze with my mental capacity, so it took me way too many of the 96 minutes to figure it out. While I was hoping Olly would put 'em on the glass for Maddy to gaze at longingly, these two lovers are going to surprise everyone/no one, and break all your goddamn rules in the name of true love. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Cauliflower.

In order to quickly find some common ground with my students, every year I begin with a short presentation about my life. I talk about my hobbies and interests, my dog, my depressing job history (they're always rather impressed I used to work at Best Buy), and most importantly, my family. And while I cover each of my four siblings (and my own kids) in some detail, I can't help but take a little more time for my favorite of the bunch: my little brother.

Obviously, everybody in my family means a great deal to me, but there something a bit more special about the goofy/handsome bastard born after me. 

It's like, even if he doesn't need it anymore, I feel like I gotta take care of him. Or at least look out for him, you know? But there's a price for that extra love.

I also give him a little more shit, too.

My kid brother didn't accompany me to the early afternoon showing of Logan Lucky I somehow managed to catch this past Friday, but I left the theater feeling like he had. Turns out, when you spend two hours watching a pair of goofball brothers bumble their way through an elaborate heist, you can manage to steal time with someone you haven't seen in almost three years.

Wait, what?

Channing Tatum plays Jimmy, fifty percent of the unfortunate Logan brothers, each seemingly doomed to a failed existence. When we meet Jimbo, he's doing the single-dad thing with his adorable little daughter Sadie, and trying to scrape together an honest living. Jimmy was supposed to make it to the NFL, but after ripping up his knee, ended up working construction near his shitty home in Bumf--k, West Virginia. Which is exactly where his boss sends him, after laying him off due to the dreaded pre-existing condition. 

Shit, right? Sounds like Jimmy might need a drink. So he heads to the local dive bar, which just so happens to be run by his one-armed brother Clyde, played by the delightfully/perpetually sullen Adam Driver. Clyde is a good dude, even if he doesn't have much to show for it. And when Jimmy decides to rob the Charlotte Motor Speedway, shit, Clyde doesn't bat an eye. His brother needs help. It's not like he'd ever say no. He's just gonna talk a little shit first.

Friday, August 25, 2017

He slammed into something he shouldn't have slammed into.

Being that it's late August, and having completed ten glorious weeks of basically being nineteen again, regrettably, I have to go back. To work. 

Back to the classroom. 
The one with kids in it.

And as I sleepily drive to school every morning, I start to (once again [this is an annual event]) fantasize about all the other jobs I'd rather be doing. At my lowest moments, it's essentially anything else, but there's been a steady top 3 for years.

  1. UPS Guy: the shorts! the truck! the solitude!  
  2. Landscaper: listening to music! driving a small car with blades on it!
  3. Garbage man: um, when you're not hanging on the back of a moving truck, your jumping off of it, lifting something heavy, and throwing it into a hole where it gets smashed to Hell. *squeals*
Deep down, I know I'm not ever going to be any of those things, but it doesn't hurt to dream does it? But maybe I need to step a little outside the box, you know? Maybe fantasize about doing something so crazy...it might just work. Something like...


...butter sculptor? Or, better yet, used car salesman.

One of my best imaginary friends (we've never actually met, but still) has a thing for a certain actor, and there is, at this point, no way I can disassociate the two. I think of her, I think of the the actor. I think of the actor, I think of her. And when I stumbled onto a little film called Butter (barely) starring said actor, there was simply nothing I could do. I had to watch it. 

Especially when I was pretty f--king sure that she hadn't seen it. 

I say all this, because I'm thinking an elaborate and /or nonsensical story is the only way one ends up watching director Jim Field Smith's 2011 goofball comedy. Like, it was the only DVD Grandma had...or, after visiting the World's Largest Rocking Chair, we needed to wind down with a movie...

Set in the world of competitive butter carving, this flick tells the the story of Laura Pickler, the domineering wife of a newly retired state champion named Bob. Despite the nice house and affable husband, ol' Laura ain't really got all that much. Except a flaming stick up her ass, frankly, as Bob's glory was what she hung her hat on. Now that he's bowed out, she's Hell-bent on taking the title herself. Unfortunately, Laura will not go unopposed in the run up to the big show. She's going to have to beat a trio of upstart competitors: a kooky cat-lady, an angry stripper, and of course, a talented orphan.

Hmm. I wonder who's going to win? Here's a hint: not us.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Let the pain run through you.

She comes in, and you can just tell, something isn't right. On many fronts.

She's talking to everyone in the theater, and though I can't hear what they're saying, it's obvious that she's asking them to check their tickets. Eventually, she clamors up into my section, and stares down at the good folks also seated in Row D. Through the glasses clinging to the tip of her nose (I'm assuming that prior to the movie, she had been reviewing ingredients for stew), she eyeballs everyone, before noisily demanding that the people to my left are in her seats. She keeps saying, I have 7 and 8. I have 7 and 8. But she's talking to 5 and 6 (after already badgering 2 and 3). 

Finally, she's next to me, 9, and she's trying to put her drink she brought from home in the cup holder to my right, and it's not fitting, because, you know, it's holding my phone. But she ain't giving up. I eventually intervene and unearth my Galaxy, and after collapsing into her seat, she looks up at me and says, why's it so dark in here? It's at this point I see the little boy she's towing behind her. I kind of shrug to myself, thinking, it's usually pretty f--king dark in the middle of the goddamn movie.

And when she finally looks at the screen, she notices Idris Elba is shooting everyone in his path, and she asks 5 and 6, what movie is this? Their response contains only three words, but their tone suggests many more.

Ohhhhhhhhhh, she bellows. We must be in the wrong theater!

I'm assuming that crazy lady was trying to take her grandson to see The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, but somehow ended up tits deep into The Dark Tower. And while I truly commend anyone taking a little kid to the movies on a hot summer day, her noble attempt was nothing short of calamitous. See, even if you mean well, you can still f--k up a good thing.

Despite having read a shit-ton of Stephen King books when I was a kid, I don't recall reading any of The Dark Tower series. When the film was announced, the general consensus seemed to be a combination of it's about f--king time and don't f--king bother. Apparently, these books were so good, there was simply no way one film could do them proper justice. Especially if it was only ninety-five minutes long...

...and f--king terrible.

About that...

Honestly, as I've said countless times before, expectations are everything. If you're like me and head into this one not knowing the books and knowing that its currently just getting its drivers license over at Rotten Tomatoes , you're not going to expect all that much. Which might work in the film's favor, oddly enough. Clearly, it's not the worst f--king movie ever, which would have been pretty cool, but instead? It's the one thing a film starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey shouldn't be: inexplicably boring. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

I look for pleasure in the details.

I'm not sure if other dads do this, but I tend to say lots of ridiculous and untrue things to my children.

I invent countless fictional characters, give them horrible accents, and try to make my kids laugh by detailing the horribly unfortunate lives these accident-prone individuals lead. This summer was dominated early by the unholy trio of Trixie Biscuits, Skooch MacGillicuddy, and Pumpkinspice Malone.

But when my son came home from camp one day and told me that there was a pair of German siblings in attendance, everything changed. Otto and Gunther, two young and very serious German boys became my go-to characters.

And it turns out, perhaps surprisingly, lost of crazy shit happens in Germany.

If I had to take a test concerning the finer plot details of Atomic Blonde, I'd probably be rolling the dice on at least half of the questions. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the movie (um, as someone who appreciates beautiful women, that would be f--king impossible), it just gets to a point where who's working for who and for what reason becomes about as relevant as anything in this post that's not a giant picture of Charlize Theron.

Basically, this flick plays out like most spy films (at least in premise), with a coveted item unfortunately ending up in the wrong hands. Shocking no one, this hugely important thing is likely to be sold off to the highest bidder, a.k.a the guy with the thickest accent and/or deepest voice, so we're going to need an agent in there yesterday to recover that sumbitch. Like, a secret one, right? Like...someone that will just blend in. Not a nine-foot tall goddess made out of equal parts porcelain and adamantium. Because, you know, no one would notice her.

Turns out, buried deep within a wrist watch that I imagine, at some point, was up the ass of Christopher Walken, just so happens to be a list with the true identity of every single undercover agent in the Cold War. And being that no one knows who the f--k is who (including me, the viewer) or who the Hell they work for, heads are certainly going to roll in the process of securing this timepiece. Well, I guess they're not going to roll, exactly, more like cave in or explode. The Berlin Wall came down on a Thursday, but trust me, leading up to that? It's quite the Blue Monday.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Against the Crowd '17: Blogathon



Dell and KG are at it again, so my advice is we check it to wreck it. Let's begin.

In terms of blogathons, these two dudes drop probably the biggest event that I know of (or, uh, am loosely invited to), and it can be summed up in three lovely words: f--k you, everyone! Wait, what?

Here are the rules:

1) Pick a film that everybody thinks is a wonderful achievement in the arts, and let them in on the little secret that it's no better than a massive turd, rolled up in wet newspaper and microwaved on high.

2) Pick a film that everybody thinks is a raging dumpster fire, and let them know that if they ever say anything else bad about said movie again, the only thing burning out of control will be their toothlesswithered corpse.

3) Make sure, after reading your entry, no one ever talks to you again.

Welp, here goes...everything. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's preventable, that's the worst part.

It's late summer of 2017, and when I turned on the news this weekend, the flickering headline said three dead at white nationalist rally. Being that my kids were already asleep, I was able to watch the footage for a few minutes, and all I could think to myself was how f--ked up this godforsaken country is. How I absolutely dread where we're headed...

...moments after kissing the cheek of my precious four-year old girl. Seriously, where am I supposed to find comfort in this world, when I'm the father of such a little kid? Where's my solace?

Oh, right. This level of awfulness?

It's nothing new.

I wasn't super excited to see Detroit this past Tuesday, but I'm increasingly glad I did. It's rare that my wife and I get a night to ourselves, and I knew she wanted to see something light and fun. Yeah, about that. See, shocking no one, Kathryn Bigelow's latest? It's the direct f--king opposite. 

It's late summer of 1967, and after the police raid an unlicensed club in downtown Detroit, hauling out many African American veterans in the process, tensions between the police and the people on the street escalate exponentially. Despite being encouraged to chill the f--k out by community leadership, the crowd turns violent and rioting and looting erupts.

The next day, as local police and national guardsmen patrol the city, the film's action picks up with an officer named Krauss pursuing a looter. The dude flees on foot, and instead of letting him go, Krauss shoots him in the back. Multiple times. By the time Krauss gets back to the station, he is informed that murder will be indeed, the case they give him. Inexplicably, however, he's allowed to finish his shift.

Well, at least he'll probably play it cool, right? Being that his ass is most definitely grass, right?

Right? *crickets*

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

That was beneath you.

I don't have a job that keeps me staying late at work. No out-of-town conferences. No sexy co-workers putting their hand on my toned shoulder, laughing and turning in slow-motion.

I've been with my wife for so long, I wouldn't even recognize any ex that could show up on a rainy evening, with a broken high heel, scraped knee and a bottle of wine. Not that I have a lot of them any way. [Seriously, I might have more buttholes than legit ex-girlfriends.]

I don't own any sleeveless shirts. And I wouldn't ever cut wood on a hot day, never would wipe my brow with the aforementioned sleeveless t-shirt, revealing the rock-hard abs that I don't have.

The lady next door is pretty old, and if I was ever caught sleeping with her, jealous is the last thing my wife would feel. I'd lean more toward nervous. Or nauseous.

My point? If things ever go south between me and my wife, she has nothing at all to be jealous about. The only place I ever go is...uh...here. The only person I talk to late at night?

Is you.


When I saw the preview for Unforgettable earlier this year, I knew I was going to absolutely Redbox the shit out of it. I knew I would happily pay my two dollars and twelve cents (uh, gotta go with the blu ray, right?), and knew that I would unequivocally love hating it. But what I didn't know, and totally should have, was that my wife would fall asleep before the f--king thing even started.

*dramatic pause*

That. Bitch.

Actually, I'm not really mad at my wife, as she busted her ass yesterday and deserved the early snooze. No my fire and fury is solely reserved for everyone involved in this smoldering garbage can. See, I wanted a glorious dumpster fire to roast delicious f--king s'mores on using only my bad-movie boner as a skewer. But instead, what I got? A lame flick and a limp dick. Here's why...

Julia (Rosario Dawson, hot as ever) has met some dreamy guy and is headed by car in some direction (West, one could only assume) to spend the rest of her life with him. She loses her luggage on the way, but get this, not her baggage. Oh, f--k me. Anyway, it turns out that said dreamy guy is David, owner/operator of a successful brewery, Crazy Slut Ale House. Okay, that's not the name - you got me. Anyhow, detective, David's got a scarily hot ex-wife Tessa (Katherine Heigl, still with a great set of personalities), who, shocking no one, ain't all that stoked to be replaced. But instead of stepping aside like a regular person, Tessa cranks the crazy up to eleven...million... and makes Julia's life a living Hell by always walking around topless and unnecessarily washing really dirty cars.

Okay, that also didn't happen.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I'm not dead. I'm just...regrouping.

I don't know what the Hell is wrong with my house, but if you step outside for more than a minute, there's a good chance you're coming in with at least one mosquito bite. If not eleven.

Outside of the time I got very, very sick from a bite a couple of years ago, these little annoying f--kers don't even phase me any more. But my wife and kids? Goodness. They come in the house holding their arms and legs like they got shot.

And while I used to think they were being dramatic, I'm starting to think they're underselling the pain. Cause a bullet? Shoot.

That ain't nothing. 

Quite the circle jerk, no?
I started to lose track near the thirty-minute mark, but I'm pretty sure that every character in Ben Wheatley's Free Fire takes at least one bullet, if not eleven. And for the most part, even after getting shot, this gang of motley scumbags, keeps on keepin' on. It might be admirable...if it were altogether decipherable.

Set in damn near real-time, the setup is both simple and entirely convoluted. The initial gang we meet, led by that handsomely terrifying bastard Cillian Murphy, is gearing up for a late-night meeting in some abandoned factory. On the agenda? A pretty epic arms deal. Brie Larson and Armie Hammer are helping to broker the deal, in addition to some low-level grunts tagging along to do the heavy lifting. Literally.

On the other side of the table, is the consistently charming Sharlto Copley. He and his crew haven't exactly brought the right weapons, but as far as he's concerned, a gun's a gun. And after a tense moment or two (and a shit ton of shit-talking), it appears the deal is a go. The money is counted, the van pulled 'round. Pleasure doing business, ya know?

Oooh, about that....

Monday, July 31, 2017

This is my malfunction. I can't be 'meh' about anything.

Look, we were all in high school at one point. We all got off on hating that shit that everybody else loved, right? I did, you did, we all did. Well, except that one guy, he was too cool to hate...or like...anything. A real trendsetter he was...never setting a trend.

But, man...I'm telling you, there's this trend going around that I refuse to participate in. Like, I'd rather be caught licking ice cream of a dead donkey's dick, then to perpetuate this black eye on the jizz-riddled face of humanity. Maybe it's because I'm a teacher (a shitty one), or maybe it's because I'm a 'blogger' (also a shitty one), but I can't stand the constant need for shortcuts in everything writing. So it should be pretty clear when I say:

I f--king hate emojis. Hate every stupid f--king thing about them.

This is clearly the work of Satan.
But I love my kids. And being that it's my daughter's birthday, and my adorable little angel devours those awful things, I had to take her and her brother to see The Emoji Movie. But didn't you just say you loved you kids? 

Good point.

I'm not going to say that I enjoyed any aspect of this dreadful movie, but after hearing that it was possibly the steamiest of steaming piles of dogshit, I hate to report that it's really not that bad. Oh, it's terrible, uninspired, hopelessly boring and sends likely the worst message to kids in the history of time, sure.  But, uh, what would one reasonably expect from something called The Emoji Movie? I mean, at least it's not eighty-six minutes of an older gentleman acquiring Tin Roof from the shaft of a decaying ass. Uh, why do you keep typing that?

Because, uh, obviously, there's no emoji for it.

But what there is an emoji for is 'meh', and perhaps shockingly, he's is the star of our film. Yep, it turns out the little shitty character responsible for how stupid people explain indifference (myself included), Meh (as voiced by T.J. Miller), is having a bit of an identity crisis. And instead of thinking everything is, you know, meh, this f--ker has feelings that he feels the need to express.

Using...*throws hands up* emojis. Well, of course he does.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

There's no hiding from this, son.

You're reading a movie blog, so I know you know.

You're sitting there in the theater, waiting, eager. Yeah, this is fun, but it's not a game. You've arrived on time (missing the previews means missing the movie), set your phone on vibrate, dimmed the screen, Hell, maybe you've even taken your shoes off. You might even have your notepad out. Nerd. 

I mean, fellow nerd.

Anyway, you're sitting there, and you hear them coming. Could be loud kids, a family, an old couple - whatever, but you hear them coming and you think, what the f--k is wrong with people? Is this not a civilized world we live in? And you watch them loudly look for their seats and you cross your fingers so tightly, they just about snap off at the knuckle. The tension mounts.

Lord, just let me make it through this. This will be the last time I ask, I swear.
I just want to do what I came here to do...and get the Hell home. 

Take this tension, this momentary flutter of the (geeky) heart, and multiply it by say, infinity, and you have your average ten-second span of Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk. Sitting in the theater last Tuesday night, I'm not sure if I was breathing too fast or not at all, but as a cinematic experience, few have had the emotional impact of Nolan's latest.

However, like I imagine it to be for a soldier, the impact of what I have seen...keeps evolving and frankly, getting more intense as the days go by. So much so, I don't think I want to revisit it.

Ever. 

Many of the films I've seen this summer struggle with keeping one story straight (or consistently interesting), but with Dunkirk, howeverNolan deftly weaves together three. Each is a rather intimate tale of strength and survival, shockingly free of any of the hallmarks previous war films have hung their hat on. While the stories are indeed small, they eventually come together to create something that borders on spectacle. It's so smart, so technically stunning, you almost don't feel your heart being ripped out of your chest. Almost. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

That's okay. We all make mistakes.

I know it's possible, but how the f--k does one person make a better sandwich than somebody else?

I'm serious. If all the ingredients are the same, it should be impossible to have such a varied experience. Say you enjoy one person's B.L.T, then for f--k's sake they all should be good, right? You take the bacon, the goddamned lettuce, and a f--king tomato, slap that shit between some bread and it's hoo-ray, lunch is served. If you've got the slightest f--king clue about basic sandwich composition, you can't f--k it up.

But here's the thing. Bad bacon, is still f--king bacon, so if you like it, it's good times. You can't really f--k up lettuce or tomato, unless that shit is moldy or wilted, and then you're just an asshole for serving it. Ah, but what about the delivery system, right? What about the bread?

Turns out, you can totally f--k up the bread. 


The main problem with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and they're are a host of them, is definitely the f--king bread. While the rest of the film is serviceable (if not awkwardly chaotic) science-fiction, it's the dysfunctional duo of actors holding it all together that are squarely responsible for this film's epic failure. While some of you may dig these two, not a single f--k could I give.

And I wanted to!

Luc Besson has served up some pretty tasty movies in his career, and if memory serves me correctly, one helluva B.L.T science fiction flick (known around here as The One Where the Lady Has Rocks in Her Belly). But while that one had Bruce Willis and Mila Jovovich to leap through Besson's chaotic sci-fi world, in Valerian, we're stuck with two strung-out looking cool kids that are supposed to be top-tier government agents.

Right, like someone so unqualified and utterly miscast could ever rise to such a position of power in the government.

Oh, f--k me.

Monday, July 24, 2017

This ain't no treasure hunt you're on.

When the hotel my father worked at changed hands, apparently the new ownership had to technically rehire every single person that worked there. And whenever they (symbolically?) lined up the twelve hundred employees, according to him, my pops was rehired first. Yep, the man that I will inevitably look just like, was goddamned Employee number 1. 

While that story may be totally number two, his clout at that massive Hawaiian resort was impossibly legit. Years later, as a fellow employee (wonder how I got that gig?), and even as perpetually clueless as I was (/am), I could feel it. In fact, whenever I f--ked up, I didn't even have to mention who my dad was. Not only because I'm not that kind of asshole (clearly, I'm a different kind of asshole), but...

..because somebody else always would. Immediately.

Half the time, it totally sucked having people always kiss his ass when they spoke to me, as if I was going to run home and say, Gee, Dad! One of the bartenders said you're a swell guy! But the other half...well...occasionally...

...it had its moments.

Speaking of a fleeting moment here and there, let's talk for a quick second about Winter Kills, a political thriller from the year I was born, 1997. I mean, 1979. One of those.

Watched so I could (perhaps intelligently) appear on the 93rd episode of Todd Liebenow's rad podcast Forgotten Films, director Willaim Richert's flick is, to put it lightly, a mixed bag...of absurd nonsense. 

When we first meet Nick Kegan (a very young, very handsome Jeff Bridges), he's on some sort of ship, in the middle of the ocean. A helicopter lands, and they hastily bring aboard a man wrapped in bandages head-to-toe. Apparently, before this dude dies, he's got some information for Nick.

See, nineteen years ago, Nick's half-brother was assassinated during his term as President of the United States. This bandaged guy, in between moans and gasps, claims he was one of the gunmen. In fact, if Nick heads to some building in Philadelphia, he'll find the murder weapon stashed in the floor. Oh, okay then. Guess he'll have to sit around a gigantic boat doing nothing some other time.

Friday, July 21, 2017

King Kong is dead.

When the end of humanity is finally upon us, I hope there is a moment before the impending carnage, where we all take a second or two to realize how, more often than not, conflict can generally be avoided. Things don't have to end in battles or wars, but instead can end in conversation, compromise and ultimately, peace. Share a Coke and a smile, for f--k's sake.

Yes friends, peace is entirely possible, if people weren't such stupid f--king bastards, Hell-bent on ruining shit for the rest of us. Sometimes, it's a collective that destroys everything, like a political party, or a nefarious corporation damning us all in the name of profits and shareholders. Other times it's simply an unhappy prick, gleefully sharing his or her own personal misery with the rest of us.

That said, when the world as we know it is coming to an end, I ask you, dear reader, to tip your cap to the dickhead who started it all. You know, that blonde-headed twat, who had to ruin everything. Again. The one with the name you'll never, ever forget. The one, the only...



...Draco f--king Malfoy.


While Tom Felton has made a career out of being a no-good dipshit, the Battle for Hogwarts can't hold a magically floating candle to the War for the Planet of the Apes. Malfoy helped destroy Hogwarts, sure, but Felton's Dodge Landon (the douchey zoo-keeper from 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes [review!]) helped destroy the f--king planet. And unfortunately, he wasn't the only one.

Continuing the trend of awful human beings doing terrible shit, Matt Reeves latest Apes film opens with a tactical force infiltrating an Ape stronghold. Caesar, further evolved and as badass as ever (Serkis for Best Everything), manages a victory and even catches a few prisoners of war. Instead of killing them like, say, a wild animal, he instead releases them to return to wherever it is they came from, in an effort to stop all the senseless violence on both sides.

This gesture is appreciated, and the humans bid the Apes good day. 

And by that, clearly I mean they don't give a f--k, double back in the middle of the night and slaughter Caesar's sleeping family.

Wait, they did what? F--king people are the worst!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Obviously, I got second pick.

This is my six hundred and fifty second post.

For over half a decade, I have reviewed every single film I've have seen. Sometimes, I can start writing about a movie without the slightest bit of hesitation (it helps when my definition of 'writing' is mostly coherent horseshit, with commas!). But occasionally, I get stuck. Very stuck.

It gets so bad that I don't even open my laptop to do non blog-related things, simply because I'm consumed by this invisible demon breathing down my neck. I thought hobbies were supposed to be fun.

They are, but how can you create something when you've got absolutely nothing to say? 

Oh, right.

Just add Minions.


In full-disclosure, I think I wanted to, but yes, I hated Despicable Me 3. Had I not been flanked by in-laws (yeah, you read that right -one on each side), I'm quite positive I would have fallen into a deep, deep slumber. 

And if I had, and been rudely awoken to find out that I had not only been loudly snoring, but for the first time in my life, had actually shit my pants publicly, I still think I would have left the theater in a better mood than I did. At least in this imagined scenario, my shit was fresh. Because what was on screen, was anything but.

Four-ish movies in, and we're already at the desperate point where Gru has recently discovered that he has a long-lost twin brother. And if that's not dick-crushingly bad enough, his twin brother's name is Dru, and he's a stupid asshole.

While Gru and Dru are essentially having an epic tickle fight no cares about, Gru's (once?) adorable little daughter Agnes is chasing a mythological unicorn in the forest. Yep. Enjoy that. 

In fact, things are so bad even the Minions have bailed! These little ubiquitous yellow bastards have somehow ended up in prison, where if there truly was a Movie God, they'd collectively drop the soap, and wake up the next day feeling like everyone (over the age of 9) who put money on the counter for Despicable Me 3. 

So, what you're saying, Blogger Guy, is that there's no way in Hell I should ever, ever, see this abomination, right? Like, even at gunpoint, take the bullet, right?

Well...

Friday, July 14, 2017

Ugh. My toothbrush stinks.

The shower? That's obvious. The bedroom, too.

Not sure if I'd put one in the pool, but I guess that makes sense. I'm just not sure if my love for bikinis trumps my general aversion to  extra shriveled wieners.

But the kitchen? Lame. The entryway? Who gives a damn? But where I'd never put a hidden camera?

The toilet.

I mean, that's just...shitty.

If you walked into someone's house and this poster framed...
After viewing the fairly awesome horror flick Sweet Home [review] the night before, I returned to the golden well of short-ass cinema by catching the extremely rad 13 Cameras. Written and directed by Victor Zarcoff, this creepy little flick was a helluva good time. Especially considering that moments before I pressed play, my wife and I were scouring the web...looking at new houses.

Claire and Ryan are a young couple with a child on the way. It appears as if Ryan's job has hastily taken them to the West Coast, and they need to find a home to rent quickly. Ryan will be working all hours as a big cog high up in some tech company, while (the exceedingly lovely) Claire will be home looking fine and getting ready for baby. Aww?

Not really.

See, the guy they've rented their nice-ass house from is a weird f--ker to say the least, and when we meet this creep he's grunting and stinking his way through the tour of the place. Momma Bear's instincts immediately think f--k this, but Ryan does that thing us guys so often do and says, Don't worry about it. Where a reasonable person would really consider what's going on, Ryan would rather end the home hunt as quickly as possible. I hear ya, Ry, I do.

But this f--king guy is sketchy as f--k. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thanks for not pretending.

As a married man, with two cockblocking lovable children and a seriously amazing wife, I'm always looking to get away. Not from all of them, silly goose, just the two little ones.

Whether it's my birthday, her birthday, Valentine's Day, our anniversary, f--king Arbor Day, Tuesday, whatever it may be, the possibility of a romantic escape consistently resides at the top of my mind near famous breasts and 90s movie quotes. 

I've planned good and bad ones, but like any true champion of sport, you gotta put it all behind you and prepare for the next one. The only problem? I'm the only one who does any of the legwork.

She doesn't plan shit.

And after seeing the 2015's Sweet Home, I'm more than alright with being in charge of a night away. At least when I'm calling the shots, the only thing getting murdered in the night is our hopes and dreams of staying up past eleven.  

Thankfully, Rafa Martinez' little horror flick isn't about a pathetic married couple, but instead young lovers, likely in their twenties.

Sexy blonde Alicia (Ingrid Garcia Jonsson) is a real estate broker in Spain, and when the film opens she's visiting the last remaining tenant of a beautiful old building. Apparently, somebody wants this building vacant, but a stubborn old man on the top floor won't budge. This will matter in a few short hours.

In the meantime, Alicia plans a romantic birthday celebration for her boyfriend Simon, a recent med-school dropout (this too, will matter later). But being that they're broke, or least Simon is, Alicia plans the candlelit tryst in, of all places, a vacant room in the aforementioned building. Good thing murderous thugs weren't planning on breaking into the building that very same evening, cutting the power, and killing that old bastard upstairs. I mean, 'cause that would really be a bummer, you know? (unless they've already had sex, I mean, at that point, the night's pretty much over anyway...might as well head home).

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

I'm all in on this.

The New Guy is always the Best Guy. Unless he isn't. Sometimes the Best Guy is the actually the Original Guy, even if he wasn't that good. But he was. At least he was back then.

See, that's the thing: no matter what, you can't mess with the Original, because he did it first. New Guy? Shoot. You're only the New Guy till the Next Guy. And sometimes, well, the Next Guy is the Best Guy.

Until he's not New anymore.

Then he just becomes That Guy.

I'm just curious if we'll ever get to the Last Guy.

My son has been waiting for this movie for months.
Me? It was pumped, too. But now it's time for the Apes.
Spider-Man: Homecoming is a really good time at the movies. It's fast-paced, fun and totally entertaining. I had a good time watching it with my kid. But let's be honest with ourselves, we've been down this road before. We've seen this story. A lot. We know these characters. Well. So when it comes to the excitement surrounding this flick, as a very wise man once said, Well, let's not start sucking each other's dicks quite yet.

This latest attempt, from director Jon Watts, likely whips out the last possible (not-stupid) innovation for the story of Peter Parker, and rubs it deliciously in the face of everyone who loves the MCU. Here, Peter's young. Like, young-young. And it's the absolute perfect way to play it.

With Tom Holland absolutely kicking ass as both the kid and the hero, Spidey has gone from whatever the Hell he was with Tobey and Garfield, to a young dude that we simply like. Holland's Parker (and his Spidey, frankly) is so stoked to be potentially an Avenger, he's literally bouncing all over the damn place. And I know it's cliche as Hell, but his enthusiastic is damn near contagious. He doesn't have to ride his skateboard like a giant douche, or dance down the street like an asshole to impress us. Instead, he just tries to do the right thing again and again, even if he keeps screwing up.

And this time, it's not really us (or a girl) he's trying to impress.

It's Tony Stark.

Friday, July 7, 2017

For my world to live...yours must die.

If I had a towel, I'd throw it in. Or, if it was white, I'd affix it to a broom handle, and wave that friggin' thing with everything I've got.

At this point, my hands are up, and I'm going to lay on the floor, slowly, with my head down and unequivocally surrender. I'll even lay my wallet out next to me, but, you know, you already got my money.

But before you finish me off, please, please! 

Let my boy go.

After the relative goodwill leftover from seeing Age of Extinction [review] a few days ago, my son and I headed to Transformers: The Last Knight. We were all caught up with Cade Yeager and the Dinobots, so despite the overwhelmingly negative reviews, we were ready. And dare I say...excited?

Welp, so much for that. Maybe had I waited three years for the dust to settle (like we did with Extinction) things would have gone differently, but I will officially go on the record by saying this is a joyless, lifeless, brainless, steaming robotic turd of a movie. It transformed me from a functional person to a bag of human waste. And worse? It couldn't even destroy me quickly, you know? 

It took almost two and half hours to do it.

But that's the 1.0 version that was destroyed. m.brown 2.0 (aka my son, Matthew) loved it.

That (sadly) said, I'm (sadly) gonna give the plot a shot. If it kills me, well, I've had a good run. And - added bonus - I'll be dead for the sixth one.

People still hate the Transformers. Yep. And not because Michael Bay has dedicated just under twelve cinematic hours to their portrayal, but because they keep trying to save Earth. I mean, at this point, clearly we don't deserve oxygen. Anyway, as far as I can figure, no one gives a good God damn about the space robots, outside of a pretty orphaned girl named Izabella and Cade Yeager, Mark Wahlberg's character from the first one. Where Cade was once just a regular dude trying to save his farm, when we meet him, he's basically Dog the Autobot Hunter - minus the super rad/lame shades and Costco-sized jug of pepper spray. But instead of cuffing them and giving them a cigarette, Cade's rescuing the wayward bots and bringing them back to his junkyard. Uh, okay.

I guess that makes sense.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

You call, I'm there.

Before we were married, there were these dark days where my wife and I lived with her parents. We had our own rooms, which sucked (but was clearly the right thing to do), so any uh, alone time, was relegated to an instance where the house was guaranteed to be empty for hours. And with neither of her parents having anything resembling a regular schedule, that was just a shade below absolutely f--king never. We lived in Pennsylvania, sure, but we were miles away from Intercourse.

So our solution to this problem (honestly, I think I was the only one this bothered), was to get in the car and go somewhere. I don't know if we had an elaborate story (likely the movies), but we would basically drive to an empty development...and talk about our feelings. 

And while those steamy (literally) conversations will always be my favorite thing to do while someone else is in the car, my favorite thing to do alone?

I f--king love to sing. Like top of my lungs, bring-on-the-drum-solo, use-the-rearview-mirror-as-a-mic, answer-the-phone-breathless, doesn't-matter-the-genre sing my f--king ass off.

And if I can't sing? Then I won't drive.

Fine. Unless I have to.

While music makes me a much worse motorist (I'm almost positive of this), quite the opposite is true of the protagonist in Edgar Wright's latest, Baby Driver. Pegged as my favorite movie of the summer before I had seen it, Wright's love letter to music and cars is an absolute f--king blast, start-to-finish. Oh, you've seen this movie before, probably a bunch of times, but I don't think it ever looked and sounded so damn cool.

Baby (Ansel Elgort, forever my hero) is a getaway a driver for a bank-robbery outfit headed by the decidedly bullshit-free, Doc (Kevin Spacey, cranked to 11). Baby, as these stories go, has only a few more jobs left before he's even-steven and can move on from a life of crime. Clearly, he's a good dude, but even if he's only the wheelman, he can't seem to keep the blood off his hands.

Initially, his only real reason to get out is to please his deaf foster-dad Joseph, but after meeting a lovely waitress named Debora (the delightfully smitten Lily James), Baby's got much bigger ideas. The plan, if you can call it that, is to get in the car with his soon-to-be ladyfriend and get the Hell out of Dodge, er, Atlanta. If sounds so simple, right?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I'm asking you to look at all the junk and see the treasure.

Outside of a giant f--king clue, I didn't know what to get you. So instead, I decided to write this post as my gift to you on your special day. Now, now...don't be upset. I know you don't like to read, okay? I'll keep it quick. Promise.

Besides, these words? They're all about your favorite things.

Fast cars. 
Young girls in tight clothes. 
Explosions. 
Robot dinosaurs. 
Mark f--king Wahlberg!

So cheer up, dammit. America, let's make this the best 241st birthday ever!

After running across the trailer for this summer's entry in what could be considered the most inexplicable film franchise in the history of cinema, I promised my son we'd take a look at 2014's Transformers: Age of Extinction. He's an incredibly easy-going, almost eight year-old boy, and therefore the owner of the most ideal set of eyes to watch the fourth talking robot movie. And while I shouldn't have liked this movie in the least, with that dude next to me? I simply couldn't help myself.

Kinda-sorta, the premise is cool. See, after the events of the third flick [review], it seems ol' Earth ain't taking too kindly to the giant talking space robots no more. In fact, those dang ol' machines is being hunted down and sold to the government for research and the like. Someone smarter might say this an allegory for the full-on death of knowledge and understanding in contemporary society. Me? I reckon we gotta keep 'Merica safe. Ain't no one got time for talking when there's explosions to be had.

Cue Mark Wahlberg as Cade Yeager, your typical single-dad farmer-type, who, when he's not drinking domestic beers in the back of his Chevy, or adjusting one of the many American flags hanging around his property, is out back inventing robots. Yessir, I did in fact say inventing robots. And that ain't a euphemism for beatin' the meat, ya hear? I mean that in a very literal sense.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Love is cold.

Let be clear when I tell you...I'm no f--king hero.

I've never rushed into a burning building. Never lifted a car off a pinned kid. Shit, I'm not even that guy that stoically goes to work everyday and puts in an honest eight (I bitch half the time I'm there and call out like a motherf--ker. A sick motherf--ker).

But when I hear a film is an epic disaster? When I read that the ninety-minute runtime will crush your f--king soul? When I feel it's going to be absolutely back-breaking to finish some utter piece of dogshit? Hell, when I know all that?

I'm your Huckleberry. 

See, only a sick motherf--ker, in the face of all the unseen quality films of the world, would willingly rent something called The Dark Below from Redbox. But being the absolute f--king hero that I am, when I saw this...

'NOTE TO RENTERS: There is no dialogue in this film'

...I threw myself on that grenade. Dick first.

While they had me at no words, the premise is even more deliciously terrible, assuming that's not only possible, but those are words that should be adjacent to one another.

So, the plot? Uh, Woman is drugged by Man. Man places her in a wet suit, weighs her down, and sinks her ass about seven feet below the frozen surface of a lake. No, really. You read those words correctly. You're not f--king mental.

Woman will come to, try to crawl out of a giant ice hole, and inadvertently alert man that she's no longer sort-of drowning. Man will show up angrily and Woman will slip back under the ice. Rinse and repeat (always repeat), and feel free to go f--k yourself for renting this film.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Try something new, huh?

Last Sunday, about a hundred miles into our trip to Delaware (yeah, Delaware), we passed the massive Dover International Speedway. And because I'm a Dad, I essentially demanded that my kids look up from their devices and take a gander at that!

Now, since I'm not a backwards hillbilly, I've never been to a NASCAR event, but I almost pulled the car over immediately when my wife, gazing longingly out the window, wistfully said, You know, I'd go to race if you took me.

Wait, what?

You'd willingly want to go to a racetrack, surround yourself with a bunch of redneck a-holes, and watch a bunch of stupid cars drive in circles? Really?

But, didn't we just do that?

Even though it reminds me of the glorious time when my son was a wee lad, I hate just about everything concerning the Cars franchise. The latest installment, Cars 3, isn't the outright lemon that Cars 2 [review] was, but trust me, that ain't saying much.

What's that, you don't give a damn about the plot? Neither do I. But here goes anyway:

In the Piston Cup, a new wave of racers have cropped up, and these speedy youngsters are forcing all the old-heads into retirement. Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), the once upstart rookie, now a seasoned vet, crashes in the final race and appears to be finished. But when he heads back to Radiator Springs for rehab, hanging it up is the last thing on his mind.

Honestly, at this point, I was kind of on board with what Pixar was offering up as Cars 3, at least initially, is a welcome return to the pace and themes of the original (again, not a film I want to sleep with, but I wouldn't kick it out of the bed, either). McQueen's nostalgia for his old mentor Doc Hudson (the late Paul Newman) was totally welcome, and the idea of going out on your own terms was also appreciated. But then...well...

...the girl showed up.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Up, back, forward, down.

I was obsessed with stand-up comedy.

I watched An Evening at the Improv every single night that it was on. And I swear that f--ker was on seven days a week. Hell, Budd Friedman was like a second father to me. MTV, before it was (extra) terrible, used to have a show called the Half Hour Comedy Hour, and I simply couldn't get enough of that shit (and host Mario Joyner). And whenever HBO had those free preview weekends (which as a kid, was nothing short of world-changing), I would record an expletive-filled hour long special...on something called a VHS cassette, and watch that f--ker till I memorized it.

Between you and me, and this is something I'm not sure I ever said aloud...but, funny or not,...I wanted to be a comedian. That was my dream.

And I never did a single thing about it.

Eddie Edwards, fortunately, wasn't such a pussy, and as detailed in the ultimate crowd-pleasing film Eddie the Eagle, this dude straight up made his dream come true. There are lots of ways to be inspired in this world, but Eddie's story is nothing short of astonishing, especially considering how it all began.

And of course, as these movies often go, how it all ended, too.

Taron 'Eggsy' Egerton plays Eddie, whom despite a youth spent on dodgy knees, is doggedly determined to be an Olympian. While this kid might not have the slightest bit of athletic skill, he's certainly bringing home gold in biggest balls on the planet. With the help of a reluctant coach named Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman, donning the tightest jeans in the history of cinema), ol' Eddie sets the world on fire sixty-one meters at a time.

Ski-jumping. Or as it should be known, Why would anyone ever willingly do this?

While the plausibility of just about any minute of this movie seems f--king laughable, there's nothing remotely funny about what Eddie Edwards accomplished. This guy had an impossible dream and absolutely made it come by sheer force. Me? I never asked the question. This guy not only asked it, but then didn't give a f--k about the answer.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Are we good?

I saw him coming. Saw him before my dog did, in fact.

So, quickly, I followed Dodger into the backyard, hopefully allowing this guy time to stroll by without listening to the relentless barking of my forty-two pound pup. Thought I'd do each of us a solid. 

But something wasn't right. It had been more than a minute, and this guy hadn't walked passed my house yet. And it's not like I locked the front door, for f--k's sake. I honestly thought to myself, Watch this asshole be in my house. 

F--k this. F--k all of this, you know? Why do these f--king people always show up at my house? Can't they ruin someone else's night? All I want to do is go the f--king movies with my wife, and now I gotta get murdered by some dickhole in a blue shirt.

(But more on that in a bit)

My wife, yes my wife, actually wanted to see the f--king shark movie with Mandy Moore on Saturday night, but in a shocking turn of events...it was sold out (I shit you not). Ten minutes later, and with just a few seats remaining, we trudged into an 8:10 showing of It Comes At Night

Bullet. Dodged.

Having not seen a trailer, nor read a synopsis, all I knew was that early word suggested this Joel Edgerton-starring flick might knock me on my ass. And while quite literally everyone else in the theater f--king detested the flick, I thought it f--king ruled.

Something terrible has happened in the world, and the population has drastically dwindled. When we meet Paul and his family (a wife and a teenage son), they are reluctantly putting ol' Grampa down, as a mysterious illness has ravaged what's left of his body. It's brutal, it's frightening, and utterly f--king horrific. But as you look into the forlorn eyes of the family patriarch, it was absolutely necessary too. Paul isn't taking any chances to protect his family. And surviving in this f--ked up reality has become nothing short of business. And the Paul runs things?

Business is good. Real good.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

This is not a tomb. It's a prison.

We catch up. We laugh. We bullshit about whatever.

We go out to eat (usually Mexican). We go to a baseball game. We bullshit some more.

We talk about our wives. We play some videogames. We talk about our wives some more..

And then, as is also part of the annual tradition of when my older brother comes to visit me, we go to a terrible f--king movie.

In 3D.

Last year, it was the dreadful-ass sequel no one asked for, the steaming bucket of dicks that was Independence Day: Resurgence. This year, it was a dreadful-ass reboot no one asked for, the sack full of assholes known as The Mummy

It's not that we hate ourselves, or our money, that continually leads us down this awful road of dick-punch cinema. But it's instead something that we both love (and always have): the promise of a big screen spectacle. We're men of simple tastes, and getting together always reminds us of our shared childhood thirty-plus years ago. A big-budget nod to the past should have been the stuff of dreams, right? Well...maybe if either of us could have stayed awake.

I don't think I could pass a test on the finer points of what exactly happened in the Tom Cruise-led re-imagining of The Mummy, but I'm not sure anyone involved in its production could either. 

Consider that everything you're about to read is based on the opinion of a man who saw the second half of this film through the lens of a single alternating eye. And when you're that tired, or that bored, or whatever the case may have been, you start to really get angry at the film that's keeping you awake. I just wanted to rest in peace, you know? And then this handsome, ageless prick wakes me up, and I'm thinking: I'd like to level whatever city that f--ker's in, mainly by way of a giant sand cloud, shaped like my screaming face. 

Uh, or something like that.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Your parents were obviously total failures.

My son is in second grade. Well, he was, as the school year is already over for that lucky punk. Me? I have to trudge along for another couple of days.

There are a ton of things to worry about when you send your little one off to school, and as a teacher I'm privy to some super-sketchy insider information, but my wife and I routinely find ourselves fretting over one thing in particular.

We're not sure he has any friends.

Which is entirely brutal no matter how you look at it, but unless this dude's pulling a major Keyser Soze on us, I'm telling you, what breaks my heart in half?

He's a really nice kid.


As are George and Harold, the two main characters in Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. Well, they're at least really nice to each other. If you're a teacher, or worse, a principal, you might not be such a fan of this dynamic duo.

But somebody definitely likes these boys, to the tune of over 70 million books sold. Based on the wildly-popular series of kids' books by Dav Pilkey, this animated flick, while typically hyper-active and full of fart jokes, is shockingly (and pleasantly) a very nice story about friendship. After the dumpster fire that was the previously unmentionable kid's flick [review], my sites were pretty low...which may explain why I enjoyed the movie so much.

George and Harold have been in the same class for years. When they're not fighting the injustices of how boring and soul-sucking elementary school can be, these two goofballs are up in a rad tree house concocting yet another adventure of Captain Underpants, their homegrown comic book character.

After yet another prank has their principal Mr. Krupp threatening to separate the boys into different classes (and in their minds immediately ending their life-long friendship), George and Harold end up, of all things, hypnotizing the disgruntled head-of-school. Instead of a worst-case scenario, now our guys can instead focus on being best friends again. And endlessly embarrassing their principal along the way.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fighting does not make you a hero.

I have a penis. And a brain, too.

I'm not 100% sure which one is bigger (or which one I use more), but that's a discussion for another day. Perhaps even another blog. 

Sometimes the top floor and the bottom floor work together, and sometimes they don't. While I consider myself smart enough to know that I'm not terribly intelligent, one thing I know for sure is that yes, I have a dick, but no, I'm definitely not a dick. 

And all nonsense means what, exactly? Well, obviously...

...that means I loved Wonder Woman. Loved almost every single thing about it. 

I love that it's simultaneously breaking records and smashing barriers, love that it will likely open doors for many more female-centric superhero movies (fingers crossed for Squirrel Girl). But, yeah, what I loved the most? Watching one of the most beautiful women in the world kick f--king heaps of ass. Yeah. I loved that too.

Why someone would ever doubt a female director (or a female writer) is beyond me, and beyond stupid. But I certainly thought it was fair to doubt a Wonder Woman movie. Initially. 

First, it's part of the DCEU, which instantly had my Shitty Movie Sense tingling. Second, and perhaps even more damning, is that all I knew of the Wonder Woman character came from watching my two older pervy brothers snicker their way through episode after episode of the Linda Carter television series (when we were kids). Invisible Jet? Lasso of Truth? The outfit that would make a stripper blush? This is a joke, right? No way this is going to work.

But then we all saw Batman v. Superman [review]. And Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was the best part. By a mile.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

This place really is the worst.

Unless you have kids, or work with them (or in my case, both), you might be blissfully unaware of the influences quietly molding the future leaders of our country. And I would argue, vehemently, that your lack of knowledge about the latest trends and fads makes you a better person. Because knowing what passes for the best thing ever, might make you want to kill yourself...

...with a fidget spinner.

If you have, know, own, or just the worst, are an elementary school student, you're likely all about Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. As a mostly-functioning adult, however, I've never read a single page of his eleven (or so) books featuring the douchey awfulness, er, wimpy-ness of one Greg Heffley. But my students have. And more importantly, my son has.

After bitterly not sleeping through Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, the fourth film in the franchise, I'm starting to rethink my ludicrous stance of taking my son to any film he's legitimately interested in seeing. Like, majorly reconsidering. See, I'm trying to foster a healthy love of actually going to the movies (the day he illegally downloads a movie is the day we have an actual fist-fight) in both of my kids, but after director David Bowers 'film', maybe piracy isn't the worst thing in the world. I mean, that way he would have only been stealing an awful movie. But this? This robbed me of my f--king soul.

Not that you care, in the least, but here's a short summary of The Long Turd Haul. Instead of allowing her three boys to just lay around all summer and be annoying a-holes, Mom decides the Heffley's need to load up the car and head out on an epic to visit their beloved Meemaw. They're going to get off their devices and spend some time as, you guessed it, a family.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

This is the real deal now.

Earlier this calendar year, I decided I needed to lose some weight. I hadn't been on a scale in awhile, but I knew it was going to be bad news. I was counting monthly gym visits using my thumbs, and sadly recalled a trip to pick up Chinese take-out...where I stopped at Wendy's on the way. The heaviest I ever knew myself to be was somewhere around 226 pounds, and standing at a mere six feet tall, that wasn't exactly a good look.

On January 13th, 2017, I stomped onto the scale for a little friendly competition at work.

I weighed 233.2 pounds. 

After blowing their fragile little minds with the stellar (and thoroughly captivating) documentary Blackfish [review], I decided to show my Honor's class something a bit more tangible: Corbin Billings' 2014 doc, Bite Size. This flick, from 2014 and currently streaming on Netflix, isn't about the dangers of swimming with vindictive orcas, no. Instead, it's about something much less exciting, but perhaps even more life-threatening: It's about eating. Poorly.

Following the lives of four middle-schoolers, my students found Bite Size immediately compelling. Tracking the lives of drastically overweight kids the same age as they are, I quickly realized I would have their full attention. What I wasn't sure I was going to get was their respect.

Using quick-goat thinking, I had to preface the film by addressing the knowledge and curiosity level (and frankly, maturity) of my students in regard to their health and diets. While none of my current students could be considered overweight, many of them were aware that living on nothing but soda and candy was likely going to catch up with them eventually. And, Hell, let's be honest, no matter what their body-type is in middle school, deep down they could all relate to kids getting picked on, frustrated and devastated by some aspect of their physical appearance.

I mean, take it from me, it doesn't get much easier in your thirties either, you know?