the Chumpchange Friday the 13th review, or “Why do the heroes never take off the big bad’s head when he appears dead?”
The Friday the 13th movie has never really gotten a ton of respect, even amongst those of us that love the horror genre. If “Halloween” is our “Citizen Kane” and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre is our ‘Godfather”, then the Friday the 13th franchise best stacks up with the “Earnest Goes To…” flicks in terms of the prestige scale. There’s a slew of reasons to kick these movies around. I won’t insult your intelligence by listing all of them here, because if you’ve taken the time to click on a review of the Friday the 13th movie, I’ll assume you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Ok, onequick dig: Jason X. Jason goes into space. That’s just…ridiculous. sad and ridiculous.
That said, there some things the Friday movies did great. The creepy ka-ka-ka-ki-ki-ki motiff that served as a prelude to some bad mojo, Tom Savini’s special effect works that created some fantastic “oh snap” kills and singlehandedly allowed the Karo syrup industry to make quota during the eighties, and of course, the Hockey Mask.
So while the Friday movies aren’t much more than dumb, splatter cinema, I admit I geeked out as the date for the reboot got a little closer, and was stoked to grab a free pass for Monday’s sneak preview.
Unlike the Halloween/TCM reboots/remakes/retreads of the past few years, there’s a lot to like about the new Friday the 13th. The blessing of lowered expectations? Perhaps. The set up for the movie is simple. The first two minutes of the new flick tell the whole story of the original: Jason’s mom goes Rambo on a group of camp counselors after her son Jason drowns. The tables are turned on her by the last camper standing via a machete to the neck. Jason, seeing his mother decapitated, picks up where his mom left off, mowing down anyone who ventures near the campsite. Twenty some-odd years later a group of five friends venture to Crystal Lake to score a massive amount of weed. since the dot-com bubble is long over, and we’re balls deep in a recession, you’ve got to hand it to these fine young entrepreneurs. Of course, Mr. Vorhees doesn’t take too kindly too the trespassing, and sends them a gentle message to bugger off via his trusty sidekick, Mr. Machete.
If nothing else, pause for a moment to savor the deliciousness of Jason Vorhees as a weed farmer just trying to protect his stash.
These first twenty minutes are perfect. Jason’s less of a mindless, lumbering zombie and more of a backwoods survivalist. In the past, I’ve never understood how this dude actually kills anyone once they spot him. he moves like a snail full of turkey dinner, yet kids that would give Carl Lewis a run for his money can’t seem to get away from him. They’ll run for miles and miles, while Jason essentially shuffled along and then, BLAMO, machete to the gonads. End scene.
The rebooted Jason is stronger, smarter and faster. Lightning fast. It’s like Mickey decided to stop training Rocky and taught Jason how to eat lightening and crap thunder. Also, the new and improved Jason is more of a back woods survivalist. He sets traps for his victims. He has his place wired to clue hm in if there’s someone creeping about. He is one hell of a creepy, destructive, all powerful presence in this flick. He’s all the things you thoughtJason was when you remembered back on the original film from the eighties, which, in retrospect, were more funny than scary. Adding to the creep factor is the implication that the towns people know they have a berserk killer living in their backyard, but just want to leave well enough alone.
Picking up from where we left off a mere days ago. Of course if you missed Part One, you ought to go back and read that first. i think we’re going to keep this one simple and list a few of the best bits of tunes and Tinseltown this list. Again, everything below is simply in the order that I happened to think of it in. Lemme know what you think.
What was what in music in 2008:
A good year for pop-punk and power pop. Here’s a short list of what you should be listening to in no particular order (and there’s even handy-dandy links to band websites, er mypace sites, in blue):
Little Lungs-“Hoist Me Up Comparisons to Sleater Kinney are inevitable(and a sign of laziness on my part) but goddamn if that opening “stop-skip-stop-start” riff on “Pet Cemetary” doesn’t kick my ass every time. Easily one of the best bands at the Kickstand this past year’s Gainesville Fest.
Cheap Girls-“Find Me a Drink Home“ I’ve already written about these boys extensively here (hey-still clinging on to page one of Google hits-a rare win for the home team) so in brief-absolute fantastic power pop with cleverly ironic and dank lyrics. A must-own.
Get Bent-“demo cd-ep“-Another band you can read about here There isn’t a single song I’ve listened to more than “Forest Ave.” this year. super fast, catchy and upbeat singalong pop punk. Best basement show of the year by far as well. By far my favorite band of the year.
Lemuria-“Get Better“-All too sweet and catchy pop music with tons of bite underneath the surface. Juliana Hatfield with more punch to it.
The Serious Geniuses-You Can Steal The Riffs But You Can’t Steal The talent“-Fun indie rock with nods to Superchunk and Big Star.
The Hold Steady-“Stay Positive“-Some folks like to bag on these guys for being a Springsteen derivative. I’d counter that the world would be a much better place if bands took more cues from The Boss and less from Duran Duran.
Ben Weasel & His Iron String Quartet-“These Ones Are Bitter-Proof that no one out-Screeching Weasel’s the original Weasel.
Good Luck-“In To Lake Griffy”-Guitar parts like Braid, lyrically sensibilities like Red Letter Day-era Get Up Kids. Yes please.
The Closet Fairies-“Ghetto Girls seven inch-FYP meets the Marked Men in a last man standing cage match with guitars.
Chuck Ragan-“Ole Diesel“ seven inch-Further proof this man does nothing half assed. Whaling on his six string while wailing out his heart through by way of his voice, the A-side was one of my most listened to tracks the latter part of this year. A better love song detailing the long road back home to your peace of my mind may not come around for a long while. There’s folks that play revival music because that’s what you do when you grow out of hardcore, and there’s folks that play it because that’s what keeps them standing upright. You can take an easy guess as to which category Mr. Ragan falls under.
One quick website note before we move on to movies:
I wrote about this site recently, but once more with feeling: If You Make It is far and away the best indie music-based site I’ve run across all year. From the stripped down acoustic acts in the long running Pink Couch series, to posted live shows, to demo mp3 albums on the site, you can’t find a better laid out, more diverse, more fun site to explore. bookmark this site immediately.
(to quote Bad Brains)At the Movies in 2008
Many sweet reasons for sweatpant wearing geeks to get their shoes stuck in spit out wads of gum and fingers oily with fake butter in 2008. Before I continue with my list, let me just state I haven’t had the chance to see “The Wrestler” nor “Let the Right One In” yet, but I’m sure I’ll love both. Also, Wall-E was extremely overrated.
Iron Man: Robert Downey Jr. was put solely on this earth to play Anthony Stark whilst mugging it up as a billionaire playboy/inventive genius. Also, imagining Jeff Bridges as “the Dude” who decided to take Lebowski the elder’s advice, accept that the bums lost and go legit and become a profit obsessed wiley corporate tycoon enhances your viewing pleasure tenfold.
Wanted: Pretty much the most ridiculous movie of the year, but if you just needed to turn of your brain, drool over fantastic action sequences and the best use of “Bullet Time” special effects since the orignal Matrix, and giggle like a titmouse every time Morgan Freeman used the phrase “Motherfucker” then you walked into the right movie. Bonus nerd points if you were more excited about Konstantin Khabensky from Night Watch having a bit part in the movie than anything onscreen involving Angelina Jolie. I hate to be the guy to make a Brandon Lee reference here, but didn’t you have your fingers crossed just a little bit during the climactic scene? No? Just me?
The Dark Knight: There’s little to nothing new I could add to the billion-word-plus that have already been heaped upon this movie lavishing justified praise from Ledger’s Joker, to the moody atmosphere, gritty, maybe kind of plausible if superheroes existed in the real world kind of crime tale David Goyer and the Nolans put together and the oft-overlook Aaron Eckhardt as the tragic Harvey Dent. Rather, let’s just hope Nolan doesn’t have a six week whiskey and grain alcohol bender leading him to the inevitable conclusion that there’s no way he can top this past effort, so the third film needs to have Bat Nipples just because.
Step Brothers-Way funnier than it had any right to be. I thought this would be another one of those films which gave away all the funny bits in the trailers. Happily, Will Ferrell and John C Reiley are over the top vulgar is this fine flick. It introduced the phrases “ballfro” and “chestpubes” into my everyday vernacular and gave the world the rap battle classic “boats and hos”. What else can you ask for?
Role Models-Paul Rudd is the snarky good looking version I see in the mirror every day. Here’s he’s teamed with Stifler plus ten years, the nerd from Superbad and a cute, foul-mouthed black kid. And there’s LARPing and boobs thrown in for good measure. This is a recipe for a good time.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall-Jason Segel reminds me way too much of my friend’s ex-boyfriend, and I’m still on the fence if this is a good thing or a bad thing. That said, you’re going to be hard pressed to find a funnier movie this year. From the pearl necklace gag, the pediatrician talk, Paul Rudd as a stoner surfer and Russell Brand as the cock rocker, this move had it all(and that’s before mentioning the brilliance of the puppet Dracula musical).On top of everything else, you have Kristen Bell in a bikini for most of the flick. without going into such details that the lovely Miss Bell ever has to worry, let me just say if we were one day in close proximity to one another, and she were to whisper in my ear, “I’ll let you touch my boobs if you push your wife down the stairs”, well, thankfully my wife has fantastic insurance.
Cloverfield-Granted, the marketing campaign was better than the final product, but despite the Dramamine cam, this is still a fun, scary Monsters smash up NY in the vein of Godzilla type of movies. And yes, there is the post 9/11 undercurrent running through out the film. When all is said and done, there may not have been a better thirty seconds of film all year than the severed Statue of Liberty head careening off cars and building in downtown NY.
Quarantine-Yes this is a near shot-for-shot remake of the spanish thriller [REC], but I didn’t get to see the original in a darkened theater on a 100′ screen. This movie scared the bejesus out of me with it’s claustrophobic atmosphere and unique sense of “oh man that little girl with a head cold is SO going to be a mindless zombie in about fifteen minutes” dread. Loved the twist near the end.
In Bruges-Beautifully filmed hitman tale that actually made me appreciate Colin Farrel AND it had a smarmy dwarf in it. Life does not get much better.
Other things to love about 2008:
-Bill Simmons mailbag columns and podcasts on ESPN.com
-Peter King’s “Monday Morning Quarterback column on si.com, once you get past the Peyton Manning ballwashing
-the Sonos wireless music system
-eMusic.com-Best site for downloading DRM-free independent music
-True Blood on HBO
-Lost Season 4-They moved the island! Holy Shit!
-“Whatchoo gonna do when Obamamania runs wild on you!?”
–Live Action FARSIDE cartoon reenactments on FLICKR
-The continued excellence of the DC/Vertigo comic “Fables”
The PFCC Flickr stream is updated! Get Bent! Able Baker Fox! Joe Biden! Fully Clothed pics of my wife!
I recently updated my flickr site with photos from October’s Gainesville fest, a Joe Biden pre-election rally at the UofFl, and a basement show in Allston with my favorite band of the year, Get Bent, plus Witches, and two new local bands: Strong Reaction and 50,000 Voices. Click the photo is this post, and it’ll take you to my flickr account. While you’re there, add me as a contact, share pics you like and leave me some feeback.
Won’t report to in depth about Fest this year. aside from my friends in the Serious Geniuses playing, along with nearly every band that played at kickstand (Gordon Gano’s Army, Good Luck, Little Lungs, Delay) and the sold out Cheap Girls show, it wasn’t as much fun as 07. I skipped the last day entirely.
The Get Bent show in Allston was amazingly fun. I forgot that kids in Boston will every now and again flip our for a band. The poor guys in Get Bent must’ve had their amps knocked over three times during their set, though they didn’t seem to mind. Welll worth the wait to finally get to see them live. Strong Reaction is Mark and Jeff of Witches Witch Dicks/Closet Fairies. They sound a lot more like the former than the latter. With a name derived from Pegboy’s second best album (“earwig” is #1) and their Screeching Weasel cover, this new trio does the Chicago by way of Boston gritty but catchy pop punk down to a T. Looking forward to seeing kids go nuts for them in the near future.
And for those that want to see pics of the fabulous Clare and I’s recent weekend foray to Ogonquit Maine, we’ve got dsome pics of the beach and the two of us freezing our tookuses of while waiting to get on a haunted hayride.
Adding to the Laugh Track, the Rob Crean Show and their open mic night the last Tuesday of the night at the Middle East, the Anderson Comedy Troupe begins a new weekly night mixing stand up and sketch at Great Scott in Allston.
Even better, it starts early and is mad cheap. Plenty of time to hit Blanchards for a thirty pack of Pabst and pass out on someone’s dingy kitchen floor only to get peed on b the cat in the middle of the night.
The kick off show consists of: Dan Crohn host of Punk Rock Standup, PJ Westin host of Monday Night Comedy at McFadden’s, the funniest dude in Boston named Sean Sullivan, and Tom E. Morello. Musical guests MC Mr. Napkins and Robby Roadsteamer. Anderson will also do sketches in between. Rob Crean and Matt Wilding from the Laugh track co-host this event as well.
Doors are at 7:30 and it’s only five bucks to get in.
Aside from the Get Bent demo, Cheap Girls is the best new band I’ve heard all year. God damn I love this album.
<p>Hailing from Lansing, Michigan, this three piece brings me back to the “good ole days” of the early 1990’s, when good alternative music ruled the airwaves. The summer between my sophomore and junior year of college I had a two am paper route. I’d pickup the newspapers from the depot in Chelmsford and load them into the hatchback, delivering to about 70 houses before 5am. The only thing that kept me awake and alert was the overnight show on WFNX. Because it was so early in the morning, I’d pull over at a payphone (yep-pre cell phone days), and for a quarter I’d make a bunch of requests: Jawbreaker, Soul Asylum, the Wedding Present, the Pixies, Mother May I, etc. It was as close as I could get to a good tape mix as I’d already broken the deck in the car. It was that oh-so short time that alternative music about being a loser was catchy enough to make us want to dance rather than wallow in misery or punch someone in the nuts. In short, this is fantastic guitar driven power-pop much in the vein of early Soul Asylum, Boyracer and Bender. The more I listen to this the more I’m reminded of Bob Mould’s post Husker-Du powerpop band SUGAR. Like Mould’s fantastic threesome, this trio layers great guitar hooks and crunchy rythyms that due to their sheer upbeatness of the tracks at times almost manage to gloss over some dark lyrics: singer Ian Graham fills his lyrics with references to too much boozing (the opening cut “Kind of on Purpose contains the great turn of phrase “My head hits the ground/my body the floor/I’ve been a little bit better/I’ve been worse before”) great loves long lost but not forgotten (“It’s Been 27 days without you/and I still feel the same”). That said, there’s a wry sense of self depreciating humor that runs through the course of the album that never lets it take itself too seriously or delve into a maudilin state (Gotta love the not so subtle digs and hipsters like “I Know everyone there’s no need to know in this city”). The standout track is “Parking Lot”; a three minute over the top, amps turned to 11 shout out to saying “fuck it” and giving in to slackerdom (“Tonight I’m going to spend just laying down/smoking all the pot that I just found”). It’s got a massive sound, reminiscent of the catchier tunes on Archers of Loaf “Vee Vee”. It’s followed by “I Should Never”, a song that’s got great, simple melodies and a perfect danceable drumbeat. There’s hints of Shame About Ray/Great Big No era Lemonheads here, but with a lot more muscle, a lot less feyness behind it. Definitely check these guys out at the following link:
Joss Whedonprobably doesn’t need an introduction from a website with less traffic than a highway in Antarctica. He is personally responsible for three of my favorite television projects: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s (eventually superior)spin-off Angel and the gone-too-quickly western in space Firefly. He’s written critically acclaimed and best selling comic book arcs for Runaways and the X-Men. He’s got an absolute amazing gift for creating snappy dialogue. He’s the geek’s Geek.
So it brought me pure nerdy geeked up joy to recently read that Jossis headed back to TV. Even better, he’s reuniting with Buffy-alum Eliza Dushku (who I could spent a whole other post gushing over. Man she’s gorgeous, and she’s a local, born and bred in Watertown, MA. If she told me she’d make out with me if I tossed a bag full of kittens into the Merrimack River, sayanora kitties! I’d lay even odds that she pees Nestle Quik). Here’s what Variety has to say about the upcoming project:
Joss Whedon is heading back to TV– along with his “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel” ingenue, Eliza Dushku. Dushku will star in the Whedon-penned series “Dollhouse,” which has been given a seven-episode order by Fox. News came as an extra-big Halloween treat for Whedon fans, considered some of the most passionate in all of TV.Produced by 20th Century Fox TV — the studio also behind “Buffy,” “Angel” and Whedon’s late, lamented “Firefly” — “Dollhouse” follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission. After each assignment — which can be physical, romantic or even illegal — the characters have their memories wiped clean, and are sent back to a lab (dubbed the “Dollhouse”). Show centers on Dushku’s character, Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness, which impacts her missions.
So I’m on board. the premise sounds fantastic, I love the creator and I’d steal from my grandmother if the lead actress needed a few bucks for a coffee. Still, there’s a little tingle of dread in the back of my mind that comes with “This fall on Fox Television…” These guys don’t have the best track record for letting shows find an audience. I think I’ve seen a couple of their comedies cancelled during the premier episode’s commercial break.
- Fox Playoff Baseball Ads.I can easily foresee a scenario where “Dollhouse” ads are run back to back with year two of another round of those insufferable Dane Cook ads. Has an ad campaign ever caused more people to run screaming to the kitchen junk drawer in order to pull out a rusty screwdriver and gouge out both their eyes and eardrums. I’ve always suspected Dane Cook to be a no talent hack simply stealing pages from the “Hey if I yell this punchline REALLY LOUDLY it MUST be funny” playbook and these ads did nothing to dissuade me of this belief. I’d say the odds are pretty strong Fox will air Dollhouse series premiere teasers just after these ads but millions of people will be unable to see nor hear them due to the white hot rage spots that temporarily blind them while they shout an near-unending stream of profanities at their monitors. If there were a scenario where I only received two stations, and one of them was showing whatever show the Fox network was promoting immediately after one of those “October” Dane Cook ads, and the other station only showed one program, and that program was called “Graphic Home Videos of Mike Chuumpchange’s parents engaged in hardcore fucking”, I would opt for watching mom take one in the browneye every single time. If you take nothing else from this whole post, remember this: you can never go wrong by saying: “Fuck Dane Cook”.
- Fox executives tell Whedon: “We really love this show, but we think the pilot episode works better in the sixth week. Let’s kick things of with the middle episode of a three part arc and then show the cliffhanger finale for that episode in week four.
- “Dollhouse” loses the ‘Paper, Scissor, Rock’ challenge to see which show needs to get bumped in order to make room for “the television debut of “How Many Eight Year Olds Can Your Dad Beat Up.” This show will be hosted by a not quite ready to quit the rehab clinic yet David Hasslehoff who in week three will toss off bon mots like “Well I know this guy can take down at least ONE eight year old” when introducing the contestant and his horror-stricken family. This show will go on to achieve a record breaking two decade run atop the ratings. (Hey if you think that’s insensitive, my original idea was for “Special Olympics Idol”. You KNOW some network executive has thought about pitching that at least once a sweeps season. )
- The “Browncoats”: Okay, listen, I’m the first to admit that fandom can be a strange and wonderful thing. Still, Joss Whedon fans can go to, um, extremes when it comes to preaching the Word of Whedon. I’ve met at least one fan who claims that repeated viewings of the (admittedly brilliant) Buffy musical episode “Once More With Feeling” cured his cancer. The problem is we Joss fans sometimes don’t understand that no matter how many times we try to staple Firefly box sets into non-believers hands, we just aren’t going to win them all. I believe PART of the reason Serenity wasn’t the number one smash hit it deserved to be (I paid to see this movie six times in the theater) was the “Browncoats”-the fandom version of your Man U. hooligan-flooded website after website and messageboard after messageboard with the message that if you weren’t at the front of the line for Serenity opening night the ressurected soul of Goebbels would make its way to your home and execute you. It didn’t matter if some one was posting about their favorite variation of PB&J on a messageboard about school lunches, they were going to get 70 threads about Reavers and Captain Tightpants. Eventually this bombardment caused a lot of the core audience of SciFi geeks to pull up their stakes, cross their arms and short of getting a handie in the theater from a potential contestant on MILF Island (yea 30 Rock!) they’d REFUSE to see Serenity on moral grounds.
- George Bush says, “I’ve been saying Constitution-schmonstitution for seven and a half years anyways, so what’s one more thing?” He decides to call off the presidential elections, declare himself Emperor for Life, invades Iran, North Korea and every IHOP on the Eastern Seaboard all at once, then declares the Sun an enemy of freedom that must be premptively destroyed. FOX preempts all primetime shows to bring round the clock coverage and ballwashing of “the Emperor’s bold new vision”.
So while on the one hand I remain stoked to the millionth degree to get more Joss O’vision, I’ve been hurt before Fox (still no Andy Richter Controls the Universe on DVD but I can watch every episode of Murder She Wrote on Netflix Watch Now? What kind of world do we live in?) I’m hitching up my skirt and ducking out at the first sign of trouble.
I don’t really know what else I can say. Just look at the lineup in that flyer. That’s seven of the best area standups for a measly five bucks. Matt and Rob have been holding the Laugh Track on the first Tuesday of the month going on half a year now, and the night has always been a great blend of new standups (thanks guys, your blowjobs are forthcoming by the way) and local guys on the verge of earning national attention. I can’t think of anywhere else where you’re going to get guys that have been on Conan, the Tonight Show and Comedy Central for a measly five clams. The word is out and this night is packing the place in every month. This month they booked all local headliners in order to give you the best bang for your April Fool’s buck.
So go, get drunk and piss your jeans with laughter.
Chuck Ragan (ex-Hot Water Music, though if you’re reading this blog, ‘duh’
So, the four regular readers of this site may have noticed a prolonged absence for the past few months. Sorry about that. There’s no real reason except that my full time job hit its busy season post-Thanksgiving (and we’re not even retail!), I’m back in school and bit off a bit more than I can chew with two intensive writing courses, my wife’s having a tough go with her job so SupportiveHusband man has his duties, and on top of that I just started doing stand-up comedy and some event planning. Something had to give, and that thing I had to leave behind for awhile was the site and the podcast. I don’t think anyone wanted to read a few dozen “Today I ate a burrito, and put together a few training modules for my staff. Also, whenever Ice is onscreen during the new ‘American Gladiators’, it moves just a tiny bit, and I’m not entirely comfortable with myself at this moment. That said, I think we’re back up to speed, and this site should be updated on a much more consistent basis. The standup has gone pretty well so far. People laugh at all the right moments, no one’s pelted me with rotten fruit, and my bit about spinning of a new show from “To Catch A Predator” featuring pedophiles luring kids off playgrounds and into the trunks of ’89 honda Accords is going GANGBUSTERS! Much appreciation goes to Matt and Rob of the Laugh Track for giving me three straight months of shows. By the way, there is no better way to spend $5 the first Tuesday of the month. Word of mouth is catching on, and every show is attracting a higher level of comedian and larger turnout. Hopefully we’ll be sitting down with these two guys soon for a podcast. So, hopefully PFCC is back for good. There was the thought of changing this to “Minimum Rock & Roll”, but Chump Change has been the brand name, so to speak, for over a decade. Why change what kinda sorta works? Look for some new podcasts, reviews of Dead Mechanical’s, Cloak/Dagger’s, Lemuria’s and Ben Weasel’s latest works in the coming weeks, along with a post-Chilifest wrapup and hopefuly some exciting(!) news on events I’ve got lined up.And hey, if you missed me, drop me a welcome back comment so I know you care.
Friday’s edition of the Boston Herald had a pretty sweet article on the rebirth of classic Stax-inspired soul music that is starting to get a foothold in clubs and on the airwaves. The article stated Brookline’s Eli “Paperboy” Reed may be “the best of the up-and-comers”. It also listed his heartbreaking soul ballad “It’s Easier” as a must have track for any soul lovers collection. you can download that song on eMusic.com.
For the complete article click here.
Eli will be spinning the blues and soul that moves him as he insires you to move on the dance floor when he DJ’s next Saturday night, November 17th at ZuZu’s in Cambridge.