Screen Junkies » Jared Jones Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:04:14 +0000 en hourly 1 Review: “Tusk” Thu, 18 Sep 2014 14:17:15 +0000 Jared Jones Tusk stretches its wafer-thin premise far beyond its breaking point, and the result is an all too long inside joke that looks like a poor man's Wes Anderson directed a homeless man's Human Centipede.

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By Jared Jones

A little less than a year ago, Kevin Smith claimed that he would retire from filmmaking upon completion of Clerks III. It was only a few months before he amended that statement, claiming that “From now until I drop dead, I’m only ever gonna make a flick that only I would/could ever make,” citing several of his past works (Cop Out, Zack & Miri) as films that “anyone” could make.

That being the case, I’d sure as hell like to know what Smith finds so unique about his latest effort, Tusk, which contains neither the sardonic wit that punctuated his more cherished works nor adds anything even remotely innovative to the torture porn genre it is supposedly parodying. Tusk isn’t nearly as hilarious or fresh as it thinks it is, resulting in a final product that looks like a poor man’s Wes Anderson directed a homeless man’s Human CentipedeThanks Kevin, but I’d have much preferred something closer to “The Midnight Coterie of Sinister Intruders.”

The wafer-thin premise of Tusk can be explained in less than a logline (“Lonely old man converts young douchebag into walrus”), likely because it was spawned during the recording of a podcast which itself was relaying an online classified Smith had randomly stumbled upon. That is not meant as a criticism, necessarily, as great ideas can and do often come from everyday inspiration. 2012′s Safety Not Guaranteed was similarly borne from a bizarre Gumtree ad and was one of the most memorable movies of the year because of (or perhaps, despite) it, but it is Smith’s inability to add anything to Tusk aside from its hook that truly drags it out of the “good-bad” territory it promises and into the “just bad” territory where it ends up.

But then again, perhaps I spoke too soon. I suppose Tusk *is* unique in its ability to overplay yet simultaneously undersell the few hands it tries to deal its audience over the course of its slow slog to the finish line. There isn’t a single “joke,” flashback, or cutaway in Tusk that doesn’t proceed to kill whatever momentum it builds up by overstaying its welcome, and each scene plays out with the kind of meandering carelessness that all but forces you to assume that Smith was making the whole thing up as he was going along. “Quirky” and “funny” are not interchangeable concepts, though Tusk seems to posit that they are, and the result is a 90-minute exercise in self-satisfaction that is too busy patting itself on the back for having the “balls” to commit to one inside joke that it never even bothers to attempt any others. The only thing missing from Tusk is an empty wine glass to fart in.

If Tusk fails as a comedy, it fails twice as badly as a horror movie. Justin Long, possibly in some sort of meta-commentary on his negative public perception, stars as Wallace Bryton, the most grating, unredeemable, and plain cliche horror movie protagonist ever written  Smodcasted. He insults locals and bashes their town, he says things like “Shut the front door” while speaking 20 decibels louder than those he is talking to, and he smugly brags about the money his podcast (HIS PODCAST!) generates in yearly ad revenue. He even cheats on his supermodel girlfriend with podcast groupies (PODCAST GROUPIES!!) because fuck it, why make him likeable in any way, shape, or form? Take every Friday the 13th, punk-ass teenager you’ve ever seen, add in a dose of hipster pretentiousness right down to the “throwback” pedostache, finish it off with a touch of Billy Zabka, and you’ve got Wallace Bryton.

Of course, it’s not like his girlfriend Ally (Genesis Rodriguez) is any more likeable. The scene in which she’s introduced, for instance, involves her giving Wallace what I can only assume would be a fantastic blowjob, then cutting him off halfway through it to talk about how he’s “changed.” He then belittles her for liking the old, nerdy Wallace, to which she nearly cries, shrugs, and then just goes right back to blowing him. WOMEN AND EMOTIONS AND STUFF, AMIRIGHT FELLAS? Oh, and have I mentioned that this movie wants you to believe that not only can a hot-shot podcaster with a pedostache score Genesis Rodriguez, but that Rodriguez would then cheat on him with present day Haley Joel Osment? A walrus suit made of human skin is one thing, but that is one liberty too many, Mr. Smith.

And I get it: Long’s character is supposed to be an asshole, and his ensuing torture is meant to serve as some sort of penance/punishment for the “monster” he’s become. What a profound and thrilling take on the horror genre, Mr. Smith! The only problem being that it replaces what empathy you should have for Wallace with apathy, especially when it comes to the relationship with his aforementioned smokeshow girlfriend, who is herself morally questionable at best, and the horrific torture he is put through.

Torture is usually a means through which absolution is achieved, otherwise it is just a means to the end that is sadism. While many a horror film have committed to the idea that we will identify and empathize with a character simply because they are in duress, Tusk reduces the idea of ”torture porn” to its most banal, which is really saying something. The story is actually constructed like a pornographic film, for one; there’s a scene of torture, then a scene of “plot,” then a scene of torture, and etcetera etcetera until the whole thing just kind of ends. And like a porno, the film grows increasingly tiresome after blowing its wad on the reveal of Long’s walrus suit, which happens approximately 45 minutes in. Add in some full penetration, and Tusk would have been the best movie that Dennis Reynolds never made. Even Haley Joel Osment is there to reprise his role as new Mac.

But more than everything else that’s wrong with this movie, Tusk commits the most painful offense of all in being a goddamn BORE to sit through. I could watch Michael Parks give salty-eyed recounts of his oceanic adventures with Ernest Hemingway all day, but between Tusk‘s lack of actual jokes and its constant slog between half committed attempts at establishing a tone, it makes an hour and a half feel like an eternity. Even when Tusk is flashing back to earlier moments from the film during its second and third acts, if you can call them that, whole lines of dialogue are added to those flashbacks to make up for the film’s inability to tell the most basic of stories. As such, the B-plot wherein Osment and Rodriguez attempt to track down Long unfolds like a Law and Order episode as written by a kid on the autism spectrum.

Like Smith’s previous effort, Red State, Tusk is simply too noncommittal and scatterbrained to ever reel us into what could be a compelling (albeit ridiculous) premise. After boring us to tears with an excruciatingly dull, every-horror-movie-you’ve-ever-seen setup, it simply throws a guy in a walrus suit at us and expects us to ooh and ahh because its all so wacky!! Is that Johnny Depp in a fake nose playing a private investigator with a French accent? Ooh la-la, this will never get old!

Lazy and incompetent storytelling does not equate to an original filmmaking style, and even if it did, Robert Rodriguez would have clearly claimed his place as the frontrunner of that movement. If Tusk is a movie that only Kevin Smith could make, then he might be better off selling his soul to write 20 million dollar buddy cop movies.

Grade: C-

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‘I Saw the Devil’ and Four Other Korean Movies That Hollywood Should Stay Away From Tue, 16 Sep 2014 19:26:06 +0000 Jared Jones You're doomed for the start with these endeavors, Hollywood, but if you are so insistent on Americanizing some of the near-perfect efforts that Korean cinema has to offer, just make sure you keep your filthy paws off these classics.

The post ‘I Saw the Devil’ and Four Other Korean Movies That Hollywood Should Stay Away From appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

Spike Lee’s spectacularly misguided remake of the South Korean revenge classic Oldboy was a disaster in every sense of the term — the film earned back just $4 million of its $35 million budget, was rightfully lambasted by critics as being “disappointingly safe and shallow,” and even found itself dead center in the middle of a poster plagiarism scandal. As Sweet Dick Willie might say, Lee’s Oldboy was “thirty cents away from having a quarter.”

And the truth is, anyone with even the most cursory understanding of Oldboy could probably figure that it wouldn’t translate well with American moviegoing audiences. We may put on our rubber underwear and try to make it through a Saw movie without vomiting into our popcorn every Halloween, sure, but for whatever reason, the morbid sense of humor and absolute lack of boundaries that Korean thrillers have become infamous for don’t seem to sit well with us here in the US of A. And that’s fine, because in the case of absolute masterpieces like Oldboy, there’s really no need to remake them at all.

So with all that information in mind, you’d think it would be a while before Hollywood opted to put their spin on a highly-touted, incredibly-disturbing Korean flick, right?

HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING, SCREENJUNKARDS. Just weeks after Oldboy bombed, it was announced that stateside audiences would be receiving a completely unnecessary remake of Kim Jee-woon’s 2011 thriller, I Saw the Devil. The reason why? Well, allow producer Adi Shankar to explain:

Kim Jee Woon’s I Saw The Devil is perfect in so many ways. The intention is not to remake the film per se but rather to ‘port’ it console-style for international audiences.

You simply have to love a statement about a proposed remake that begins by admitting that the film being remade should not be remade. And as far as Shakar’s “port” comment goes, I can only counter by stating that I Saw the Devil has been readily available on Netflix since it was released and is therefore already “port”-able. Unless by “port,” Shakar means “translated into English,” because the need to remake foreign films that came out less than five years ago is forever justified by our cultural inability to handle subtitles. U-S-A! U-S-A!!

There I go, sounding all pessimistic again. To be fair, it appears that Hollywood has actually locked down a directing/writing duo that *could* do IStD justice — Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett (You’re Next, The Guest) — so maybe the remake won’t be a complete pile of excrement. But boy oh boy does it have some big shoes to fill.

At the end of the day, that’s really the trouble when it comes to remaking a film on the level of Oldboy or, to a lesser degree, I Saw the Devil — the original product sets the bar so high that not even James Cameron could rescue it. You’re doomed for the start with these endeavors, Hollywood, but if you are so insistent on Americanizing some of the near-perfect efforts that Korean cinema has to offer, just make sure you keep your filthy paws off these classics.

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird 

Given the film’s obvious nods to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone and the Indiana Jones series, it would be hard to picture a remake of Kim Jee-woon’s The Good, The Bad, and The Weird coming off as anything but an inflated Clint Eastwood flick here in America. Still, if Woon’s I Saw the Devil turns out to be successful, it’s only a matter of time before his other efforts are at least considered for the same treatment. Everything about The Good, The Bad, and The Weird screams “summer blockbuster,” but it is the film’s inherent silliness that American directors would have the hardest time capturing, if you ask us.

The Host

Currently the second-highest grossing film in South Korean history, Bong Joon-ho’s The Host is prime for an American remake. A satirical send-up of B-level monster movies that is as brilliantly directed as it is acted, The Host combines the sardonic wit of Jaws with the eco-friendly message of Godzilla while paying tribute to everything in between. It’s the kind of popcorn flick that manages to be equally entertaining and thought-provoking, which is saying a lot about a movie centered around a “retard frog squirrel” as Herbert Garrison might put it.

But still, just watch how the scene above wherein said retard frog squirrel is revealed and ask yourself which American director could so brilliantly, effortlessly walk the line between slapstick silliness and sheer terror. That tracking shot alone is reason enough not to remake this movie.


Speaking of Bong Joon-ho, his 2009 follow-up to The Host is just as likely to receive the Americanized treatment as anything he’s ever done. Telling the story of an unnamed widow (Kim Hye-ja) who embarks on a quest to prove the innocence of her mentally undeveloped son after he is convicted of murder, Mother contains the kind of heartbreaking narrative that could easily make it an Oscar-contender here in the States. Much like Oldboy, Mother plays with the idea that knowledge can actually be the cause behind one’s suffering in their tireless pursuit of it, and is anchored by an incredible performance from Hye-ja. In fact, the film’s concluding moments are very much inspired by that of Oldboy, even if Joon-ho opts for what is pretty much the complete opposite resolution.

The Chaser 

One of the greatest cat-and-mouse thrillers ever made, The Chaser was released in 2008 to almost unanimous acclaim from critics and has already been green-lit for a remake. Warner Bros. purchased the remake rights to The Chaser for $1 million just months after the film hit theaters in South Korea, and everyone from Leonardo Dicaprio to screenwriter William Monahan (both of whom worked on The Departed, which was itself a remake of the Hong Kong gang thriller Infernal Affairs) have been briefly attached to the project. Thankfully, though, the remake seems to have hit a snag in development somewhere along the line.

While the prospect of seeing Leonardo Dicaprio star in something as truly violent and depraved as The Chaser is undoubtedly awesome, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason why this film should be remade. That its setting (the streets of Seoul) and restrained, realistic chase/fight scenes play an intricate part in the plot would render a remake all the more pointless for a moviegoing audience that repeatedly shells out their own money for a 150-minute Michael Bay ‘splosionfest. What? YOU DUG YOUR OWN GRAVES WITH THIS ONE, AMERICA.

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Oh God Yes: Chris Pratt, Sarah Silverman and BILL MURRAY to Kick Off SNL Season 40 [UPDATED] Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:55:17 +0000 Jared Jones Nice try, Lorne, but this still doesn't make up for the firing of Brooks Wheelan.

The post Oh God Yes: Chris Pratt, Sarah Silverman and BILL MURRAY to Kick Off SNL Season 40 [UPDATED] appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones


God damn it. I didn’t even get the story out before my hopes were dashed. Just like the Flight of the Conchords returning to HBO stuff, I knew news of Murray’s SNL return was too good to be true. TVline has now confirmed that, while Pratt and Silverman will in fact be hosting the first and second episodes of the 4oth season, respectively, it is unknown whether Murray will return to host this season.

But because I’m not about to waste a perfect good copy/paste job, here’s the original story with the proper addendums made.

*    *     *    *    * 

If you’re like me, you’re probably still reeling from the news that Brooks Wheelan was fired from Saturday Night Live after only one season last July and have vowed to boycott the program until he is reinstated. But on the off chance that you were too dense to appreciate his nostalgic tattoo-based musings and are therefore still watching SNL, you should probably know that the 40th season, which kicks of September 27th, has already prepared a killer lineup for its first three episodes.

Splitsider is reporting that Chris Pratt [and] Sarah Silverman, and (ahem) BILL FREAKING MURRAY have all signed on to host next season, with Murray potentially hosting the season premiere. 

While Pratt and Silverman are both brilliant choices in their own right — one starred in the highest-grossing movie of the summer, the other just won a freakin’ Emmy —  let’s not act like Bill Murray returning to SNL [Brooks Wheelan's firing] isn’t the prime story here. Bill Murray [Brooks Wheelan] is a goddamn comedy legend, whose 75 [5] IMDB acting credits dating back to 1973 [2011] include such infamous roles as Carl Spackler from Caddyshack and Dr. Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters  [Fighter #2 from Lose Yourself, Save Yourself and Barry from Stereotypically You]. It has been over 15 years 3 months since Murray [Wheelan] graced the SNL stage with his presence, and it’s about time.

With Murray’s return seemingly a lock, the only question now is, which of his iconic SNL characters would you like to see him bring back? Nick the Lounge Singer [Guy With Bad Tattoos]? Honker the Homeless Man [character not available]? Dick Lanky [character not available]?

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The Leftovers Recap, Season Finale: “The Prodigal Son Returns” Mon, 08 Sep 2014 22:15:31 +0000 Jared Jones The questions that still remain are many, but minor in relation to the brilliant, hopeful manner in which season one resolved.

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By Jared Jones

“Look what I found.”

I must give credit to these closing words from last night’s season finale of The Leftovers, in that they were a lot more clever than I originally perceived them to be. As was the case with Lost, Damon Lindelof managed to wrap everything in the world of The Leftovers up without really wrapping much up in last night’s finale. Only this time, the ancillary questions didn’t serve to the show’s detriment. While the mystery of Dean the Dog Killer, the national Geographic magazine, and Kevin Garvey’s mental state remain open (among other things), Uproxx’s Dustin Rowles put it best when he said that “they didn’t matter anymore.”

Amidst the chaos and backbreaking depression that The Leftovers has created over the course of 9 episodes, last night’s finale was surprisingly, beautifully hopeful. Order had been restored to Mapleton (or at least, to the Garvey family) through destruction. The Guilty Remnant, of all people, gave the townspeople the catharsis they needed in an act that was equal parts disgusting, demented, and oddly selfless. By placing the fake corpses of the Departed in the homes of those who lost them, the GR actually provided everyone with the motivation they needed to truly deal with their grief and confusion caused by the events of October 14th. So it appears, at least.

As it hinted at in the penultimate episode, “The Prodigal Son Returns” alluded to the idea that those left behind were somehow responsible for the disappearance of their loved ones, which had in turn led to the overbearing grief that fueled their lives in the years following the Departure. That’s the revelation Kevin came to at least, thanks in no small part to Reverend Jameson. Kevin, who previously pondered why having a loving family was simply not enough for the man he was in his pre-Departure life, was suddenly struck with the realization that his family *was* his greater purpose. Although the events of October 14th provided him with a temporary release from the life he felt trapped in, it also condemned him to a life that could never be fulfilled without the very people who occupied it before.

Kevin Garvey wanted his family back. He wanted everything to return to the way it was. That was surely what he wished for after finding a dying Holy Wayne in that bathroom stall. To Wayne’s credit, it appears as if the Holy one was able to make that miracle happen. Tommy returned to Mapleton with one of Wayne’s children, who was then scooped up by Nora Durst. Kevin rescued his daughter Jill from certain death and appeared to finally earn her love back in doing so. Laura spoke, for Chrissakes! The sense of “family” Kevin was seeking had seemingly been restored (albeit a different incarnation of that family) through an all-cleansing fire.

The questions that still remain are many, but minor in relation to the brilliant, heartfelt manner in which season one resolved. The questions now, however, are all the more pressing. Will Laurie return to her family, or will she and Tommy begin a new chapter of their lives together? Was the Memorial Day stunt the culmination of the Guilty Remnant’s plan, and did they foresee the violent reaction the townspeople would have to it? What the hell happened to Aimee and the twins? I’m suddenly hopeful that season 2 will answer some of these.

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How Does ‘The Identical’ Compare to Other Poorly Reviewed Double Identity Movies? Mon, 08 Sep 2014 21:39:01 +0000 Jared Jones For whatever reason, film critics really, really hate double identity movies.

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By Jared Jones

One wouldn’t think there would be many ways to turn a Christian-themed dual identity musical starring an Elvis impersonator and Ray Liotta into some kind of sham, but wouldn’t you know it, Hollywood found a way.

Oh, have you not heard about The Identical, the Christian-themed dual identity musical starring an Elvis impersonator (*the* Elvis impersonator, I’m told) and Ray Liotta that opened in 2,000 theaters over the weekend? Or are you just covering your ears and trying to pretend like it never happened? Well, it did, and the story of The Identical goes a little something like this (from the film’s official site):

The Identical is a redemptive movie about a young man, the son of a preacher, who rejects his father’s desire for him to join the ministry and instead embarks on a career as a rock singer. As he struggles to pursue his dream and rise to stardom, he finds love, pain, success and failure, and ultimately uncovers a hidden family secret that reveals who he really is. It’s a captivating story about a family restored, and a life discovered.

Not that it really matters — because this year’s other Christian-themed offerings, God’s Not Dead and Heaven is for Real have collectively grossed over 150 million dollars despite holding a combined 63% rating on Rotten Tomatoes — but The Identical has been nothing short of crucified by critics thus far (jokes, I got ‘em). It’s currently tracking at 4% on RT, and the reviews for the film have been almost as surreal as the idea behind the film itself.

With The Identical, it appears that we may have another so-bad-its-good classic on our hands, so let’s take a look at a few of the most glowing reviews, shall we?

Matt Prigge, Metro: “It’s not ‘The Room,’ but it might be something stranger: a film that knows what it’s doing, but which thing is completely nuts.”

Sheila O’Malley, “All we have in ‘The Identical’ are songs that make you feel like you’ve stepped into a community theatre production of ‘Footloose‘ mixed with ‘Les Miserables.’”

Dustin Rowles, Pajiba: “The only thing preventing this film from being the worst movie of 2014 is the fact that no one will remember it a week from now. No one will see it. People who accidentally stumble into it while looking for the bathroom will blackout from boredom and leave urine puddles in screenings across the country. People will remember the urine stains. No one will remember The Identical.”

Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader: “[The Identical] feels like one of the biopic parodies from Mr. Show played completely straight.”

Vince Mancini, FilmDrunk: “Imagine if Tommy Wiseau from the The Room was an evangelical Christian Elvis impersonator who made a royalty-free biopic starring himself as twins. Hell yes you should see this, probably twice.”

Alonso Duralde, The Wrap: “‘The Identical’ is the most woozily misguided flop to grace the screen since the ‘Oogieloves’ movie.”

Yowza. A critical and box office failure The Identical may be, but the truth is, it never stood a chance. Critics have long shared their collective, unjust hatred of dual identity movies, and if you don’t believe me, just check out how poorly these classic double identity movies were reviewed.

Double Impact

Tomatometer Rating: 14%

Choice Pull Quote: “Bonecrushingly stupid — but one of Van Damme’s better efforts.”

In the early-to-mid 90′s, moviegoing audiences literally could not get enough of Jean-Claude Van Damme. The kicks, the splits, the *spot on* American accent; it was gold, Jerry, GOLD!! With filmmakers running out of plausible options to cash in on our JCVD obsession, it was only a matter of time before a dual identity film was discussed. Hence, 1991′s Double Impact, a movie which applied a boy band philosophy to its dual Van Dammes by making the “good” character (Chad) wear polo shirts and the “bad” one (Alex) slick his hair back.

You would think that doubling down on a nearly incomprehensible protagonist would be detrimental to a film’s success, but you just aren’t getting how obsessed we were with JCVD in the early 90′s, are you? Despite bombing with critics, Double Impact doubled it’s 15 million dollar budget with a 35 million dollar take and even reached No.2. at the US box office. Double Impact even released an official soundtrack, which I can guarantee you I will be ordering as soon as I’m finished with this sentence.

Fun fact: Double Impact was the first of *four* dual identity movies to star Jean-Claude Van Damme, the other two being 1996′s Maximum Risk and 2001′s Replicant and The Order. 

The Man in the Iron Mask

Tomatometer Rating: 33%

Choice Pull Quote: “This version of The Man in the Iron Mask owes more to Star Wars than Star Wars owes to Dumas.”

While 2014 Leonardo DiCaprio can pretty much pull off any role, character, or accent imaginable with spot-on accuracy, 1998 Leonardo DiCaprio was somewhat less convincing. Sure, he was coming off his breakout role in Titanic just one year earlier, but asking babyfaced Jack to convincingly portray both a ruthless, tyrannical king and his compassionate outcast twin was a leap too far for The Man in the Iron Mask to accomplish.

Although The Man in the Iron Mask was financially successful thanks to the insane popularity boost that Titanic had provided DiCaprio, it was skewered by critics, even earning DiCaprio a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Screen Couple. His career never recovered.

I Know Who Killed Me

(Funny how the juxtaposition of these two images could serve as a dead-on metaphor for Lohan’s career, no?)

Tomatometer Rating: 7%.

Choice Pull Quote: ”Horror/thriller/pile of excrement.”

In 1998, Lindsay Lohan was a promising 12-year-old actress capable of playing not one, but two parts in a rom-com starring Dennis Quaid. Less than a decade later, she was phleming her way through a movie about a down-on-her-luck stripper and her stigmatic twin being tortured by a serial killer. It’s one of the only times that “a rom-com starring Dennis Quaid” could be considered the high point of anyone’s career, but such is LiLo.


Tomatometer Rating: 44%

Choice Pull Quote: “Try not to double or triple-up laughing.”

In 1996, moviegoing audiences literally could not get enough of Michael Keaton. Hence, Multiplicity, a movie that attempted to answer “Just how much of The Keat is too much?” The answer: Four Keatons.

Jack and Jill

Tomatometer Ranking: 3%

Choice Pull Quote: “The apocalypse starts here.”

Well, here it is. The nadir of not only filmmaking, but perhaps American culture as we know it. And as I predicted, Adam Sandler is involved.

I can only say one thing about Jack and Jill that hasn’t been said by thousands of enraged movie critics or the record number of Razzie nominations/wins it received: This movie grossed 150 million dollars. 150. Million.

When humanity reaches its final 90 minutes, I’d like to think that this movie will be projected on every television, computer, and movie screen across the country, as a reminder that we are solely responsible for our own demise. And in it’s closing credits, God himself will open the sky and bellow, “You not only allowed this cinematic abortion to happen, but paid to witness it. And for doing so, you will now pay the highest price of all: Your souls.” Flames will follow, tearing across nations far and wide with the power of a thousand suns, toppling buildings, destroying families, and cleansing the world of any traces that we were ever here. But on the bright side, the all-consuming fire will also cleanse the world of Jack and Jill, which is honestly a fairer trade-off than we deserve.

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So Mandy Patinkin Is Going to Run for Prime Minister of Israel, Apparently Wed, 03 Sep 2014 19:42:13 +0000 Jared Jones Even more so than Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, Stephen Colbert and The Colbert Report occupy this weird bit of space between parody and reality that makes them almost invincible to accountability.

The post So Mandy Patinkin Is Going to Run for Prime Minister of Israel, Apparently appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

Even more so than Jon Stewart and The Daily ShowStephen Colbert and The Colbert Report occupy this weird bit of space between parody and reality that makes them almost invincible to accountability. An actor/author/astrophysicist can basically get away with saying anything they want on The Colbert Report under the guise of satire, and no one can ever really call them out on it. It’s like Taxicab Confessions for exhibitionists.

Stephen Colbert (or at least, Stephen Colbert as we know him) is as much a character as the one on your cereal box, but since he’s discussing actual, everyday news while wearing a fancy suit, we want to believe in his earnestness. Maybe its his commitment to the role. Maybe it’s that he can find humor in even the most tragic of occasions. Or maybe it’s simply the fact that he is the lone source of news to 90% of people between 18-35 years of age.

That being the case, you’ll have to take the bombshell (pun sort-of intended) Mandy Patinkin dropped on The Colbert Report last night with a little grain of salt.

Appearing to promote the 4th season of Homeland, which premieres Sunday, October 4th on HBO, the angel-voiced thespian discussed the state of the Middle East, a passionate subject for Patinkin that he has discussed with Colbert in the past. As you might expect, his solution to the problem was somewhat more nuanced than say, the dude from Duck Dynasty’s views on ISIS. And believe it or not, Patinkin was actually willing to put his money where his mouth is:

Given the state of the world and its epicenter, which I feel is the Middle East … I am going to tear a page out of your book; your presidential campaign book; and I am going to enter myself to be possibly elected as the new Prime Minister of Israel.

Patinkin then asked Colbert is he would serve as his possible security adviser, stating “…with you as the head of security and me as the head of moral and ethical attitude toward humanity, the combination of the two might calm the region into, on occasion, laughing at itself.”

How Twitter has not imploded with #ColbertPatinkin15 hashtags is anyone’s guess, but I think we can all agree that having a fictional character serving as the national security advisor of Israel is sound politics. I say Patinkin brings in Larry the Cable Guy to serve as President of the State; it’s mostly a ceremonial position anyway.

Check out Patinkin’s full Colbert Report interview above.

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[UPDATE] Flight of the Conchords *Not* Returning to HBO With Four-Episode Comedy Show Tue, 02 Sep 2014 22:06:53 +0000 Jared Jones There's only one way to celebrate this news. Commence with the music videos!

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By Jared Jones

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a statement that will likely draw some controversy: Flight of the Conchords are *the* best two-piece, New-Zealand based comedy band of them all, and that includes Kiwi Calamari Express, The Sheep Shearers, and Liam Blake and the Aquada Speedsters. I know, hot taek.

When the Conchords’ two-season run on HBO ended back in 2009, it left a massive void in the New-Zealand based comedy rock genre to say the very least. The fan outcry for more was deafening, which of course led to the usual tease of a reunion/movie that all cult shows like FOTC are given before everything inevitably falls apart. But now, it appears that Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie actually might be heading back into our television lives. Surely my restraining order is in the process of being lifted! (I am being told that the restraining order shall remain.)

Clement spilled the goods in a recent interview with The Guardian while discussing his upcoming vampire spoof flick What We Do in the Shadows:

Are the Conchords, dormant at the moment, waiting to erupt again? “We talk about a movie every so often,” says Clement. “Sometimes it feels like we lost a lot of impetus over the last couple of years. But Bret, James [Bobin, lead director] and me, we all want to do a musical. It would be good to do something all together…I miss playing Flight of the Conchords gigs.”

HBO have commissioned a new, four-episode comedy show, he reveals. “It was supposed to be this year but then we decided to put What We Do in the Shadows out ourselves.”


There’s only one way to celebrate this news. Commence with the music videos!

[UPDATE] 9/3

You remember what I was saying about cult shows always teasing reunions and movies only to never deliver on them? Yeah, this right here:


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The Screen Junkies Top Six: Creepiest Found Footage Movies Fri, 29 Aug 2014 13:53:01 +0000 Jared Jones As poorly acted, edited, and directed as these Blair Witch copycats often are, found footage horror is uncommonly effective at scaring the hell out of us.

The post The Screen Junkies Top Six: Creepiest Found Footage Movies appeared first on Screen Junkies.


By Jared Jones

Can I share a secret with you guys real quick? I love found footage movies. As poorly acted, edited, and directed (if you can call it that) as these dime-a-dozen, Blair Witch copycats often are, found footage-style horror is uncommonly effective at making me — a big, strong tough guy who ain’t afraid of nuttin’ — leave the room mid-scene to answer an imaginary phone call, and I respect them for it. In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that found footage movies are just about the creepiest movies out there, pound-for-pound (exception: anything from Japan).

Hollyweird (nailed it) apparently shares this sentiment, as found footage movies are quickly usurping zombie movies as the most played out form of horror film in today’s moviegoing market. This weekend, As Above/So Below will attempt to cash in on the trend by asking, “But what if we set the story in the catacombs below Paris?”, and just a few days ago, a trailer was released for The Pyramid, an upcoming found footage flick that is already being heralded as “As Above/So Below meets Indiana Jones meets your family vacation to Wekiwa Springs in ’89.”

The found footage trend is going nowhere, so while we’re here, we might as well pay tribute to the finest offerings to come out of the genre. But being that you’ve all either heard of or seen the Blair Witch Projects and Paranormal Activitys by now, we’re going to focus on the lesser-known creepfests for this week’s Screen Junkies Top Six. Let’s get started.

The Tunnel 

(Yup, the full movie is available on Youtube, and we’re including it in this article. Deal. With. It.)

Essentially the As Above/So Below before As Above/So Below, this 2011 Australian horror flick swaps the catacombs of Paris for the train tunnels of Sydney and sees cute-as-a-button journalist Natasha (Bel Deliá) and her crew attempt to expose a government cover-up involving missing homeless people and underground, humanoid things. Featuring more night vision than the Paris Hilton sextape (ah thank you), The Tunnel is as terrifying as it is morbidly arousing. So right in my wheelhouse, basically.

Home Movie 

Adrian Pasdar and Cady McClain star as David and Claire Poe, a priest and a psychologist stuck raising two kids literally sent from Hell. If there was ever a concept that screamed “make me into a sitcom or maybe a horror movie but definitely a sitcom,” it was this one.

As luck would have it, however, Home Movie is actually a pretty well-crafted entry into the found footage genre that just narrowly avoids most of its pratfalls. The setup is simple: Two whitebread parents who have a compulsive need to film every basic interaction with their shithead children slowly start to realize that their children are shitheads. Brooding, sociopathic shitheads. Dead pets start popping up around the house, other people’s kids get bitten, and before you know it, little Jack and Emily Poe are secretly plotting to take out their folks so they can continue their lives of cannibalism and probably incest. This is why normal families don’t film any of their interactions and generally avoid eye contact for most of their lives.

I don’t mean to be dramatic, but Home Movie is basically the culmination of every nightmare I’ve ever had, and the main reason I opted to get a vasectomy on my 18th birthday. I…I had a messed up childhood, you guys.

Cannibal Holocaust 

I know I said I wouldn’t dip into the well-worn classics of the genre, but for me to lead a discussion about found footage filmmaking that doesn’t at least mention Ruggero Deodato’s 1980 exploitation flick would be like talking about my most cherished sexual experiences without mentioning my friend Kyle’s mom. And quite frankly, that’s not a discussion I’m about to have.

Not unlike sex with my friend Kyle’s mom, watching Cannibal Holocaust is a gritty, dirty experience that usually begins under sketchy circumstances and ends in genital mutilation. (There I go, discussing my childhood again.) If you can credit the movie with one thing, however, it’s commitment (from the film’s Wiki):

Deodato had all the actors sign contracts ensuring that “they would not appear in any type of media, motion pictures, or commercials for one year after the film’s release” in order to promote the idea that the film was truly the recovered footage of missing documentarians.

It’s a pretty great idea from a marketing standpoint, and one that only backfired when Deodato was arrested and charged with everything from obscenity to murder following the film’s premiere in Milan.

You see, the special effects in Cannibal Holocaust were so realistic that people actually began to believe the actors had been killed while filming it. While that would have undoubtedly proven this film’s commitment to the premise I was talking about earlier, it turned out not to be the case. Deodato brought his crew out of hiding and the charges were eventually dropped, although several countries (including Italy and Australia) went and slapped the ban hammer on the film anyway for its all too real depiction of violence toward animals, among other things.

But all the controversy aside, is Cannibal Holocaust any good? Nah, not really.


Easily the most well-received movie on the list, the 2007 Spanish thriller [Rec] was such an effective exercise in handheld terror that Hollywood felt the need to remake the movie the following year under the title Quarantine. Because even in a movie where 90% of the dialogue is screams of terror, subtitlz r 2 hard for ow powah wittle eyes. Way to go, America.


It’s not often that the strength of a found footage movie is it’s worldbuilding, but in this regard, Norwegian dark comedy/horror Trollhunter stands above them all. (Troll puns, I got ‘em all day.) It’s a movie that takes an inherently dopey premise and wins you over simply by, again, committing to the material 110%. When Trollhunter is not beating you over the head with a barrage of information (all delivered in Otto Jespersen’s silky baritone), its placing you face to face with each different species of troll, all of whom are rendered in pretty damn impressive CGI.

How the ending of this movie hasn’t been turned into a ride remains one of the greatest tragedies in human history.

(Not Creepy But You Should See It Anyway): Lunopolis 

Any overlooked or underrated found footage films you feel deserve a mention? Give us a shout on twitter @screenjunkies

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17 of the Funniest Deaths From the Final Destination Series, In Gifs Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:33:55 +0000 Jared Jones The appeal of the Final Destination films cannot be found in their carbon-copied plots, nor can it be found in their brunette, Gap-Fall-collection protagonists. It's all about the kills.

The post 17 of the Funniest Deaths From the Final Destination Series, In Gifs appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

According to, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures are tentatively planning to move ahead with another chapter in the indestructible Final Destination series. Hooray for all you Rube Goldberg porn aficionados!

Sources close to BD have stated that a story “needs to be nailed down” before Final Destination 6 moves forward with production, which is hilarious, because it acts as if the five previous installments of the franchise told more of a “story” than the screenplay equivalent of  horror movie Mad Libs (Wendy tries to save _____ but he is ____ by a ____!). Still, when you’re averaging over a $100 million return per film, who can blame you for mindlessly crapping out a new one every few years? Not since the Pet Rock has so little creative effort yielded such lucrative results!

But the appeal of the Final Destination films cannot be found in their carbon-copied plots, nor can it be found in their brunette, Gap-Fall-collection protagonists. Simply put, it’s all about the kills. It’s simple: Gather a bunch of unlikeable teens together in your typical serial killer plot, switch out the serial killer for Death itself, and see how many intricate ways you can kill off said unlikeable teens. While the franchise’s understanding of things like physics and human anatomy are shaky at best the victims bodies are often treated like boneless sacks of blood and meat, basically — the results so far have been nothing short of hilarious, so join us as we look back at some of the series’ finest moments.

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Gallery: The 21 Most Minimal “Minimalist Movie Posters” Ever Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:53:51 +0000 Jared Jones Simplicity is sometimes key, folks, and these posters demonstrate that to a tee.

The post Gallery: The 21 Most Minimal “Minimalist Movie Posters” Ever appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

Just because an idea is simple doesn’t mean that it can’t be profound — just look at the films of Jim Jarmusch, the early works of The Beatles, or the “Push for Pizza” app, if you don’t believe me. Amidst all the intellectually vacant CGIfests and needlessly convoluted action/superhero movies (looking at you, Winter Soldier) currently clogging up theaters, a simple, straightforward moviegoing experience can be a breath of fresh air to critics and fans alike, and the same goes for the posters used to market the films themselves.

Movie posters, not unlike movie trailers, have taken a turn for the over-indulgent as of late, it seems. When the latter aren’t revealing every twist and turn a film’s story will take months before it is even released, the latter are evoking memories of 9/11 to market mutant goddamn turtles. Simplicity is sometimes key, folks, and these “minimalist movie posters” demonstrate that to a tee.

Check out 21 of our favorites in the gallery above, then let us know which current movies you’d like to see given the minimalist treatment. (My vote is for If I Stay, and it’s just a picture of a crudely drawn, leaky feeding tube. I’ll see myself out.)

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 9: “The Garveys At Their Best” Mon, 25 Aug 2014 22:42:46 +0000 Jared Jones Laurie speaks, Kevin cheats, and a deer wreaks (havoc) in the first season's penultimate episode.

The post The Leftovers Recap, Episode 9: “The Garveys At Their Best” appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

“I need to cancel.”

It has taken 9 long episodes for us to finally hear Laurie Garvey speak, and my God was it glorious. That her first line of dialogue involved the potential abortion of a child she had yet to tell her husband about was a fitting touch for The Leftovers, a show so wrought with secrets and grief that you’d have to be a glutton for punishment to make it this far into season 1. Luckily, I am one such glutton.

Told entirely through flashback, “The Garveys At Their Best” attempted to shed some light on what the lives of Kevin, Laurie, Norah Durst, and countless other citizens of Mapleton were like before the events of October 14th. And to be honest, most of them were quickly headed for disaster. Kevin, for instance, felt trapped in his mundane existence (not unlike the deer running amok throughout last night’s episode) and in constant search of his “greater purpose”, which equated to a lot of cigarette smoking and cheating on his wife. Nora, on the other hand, was trapped in the underappreciated (and intellectually lacking) life of a stay at home mom, growing increasingly frustrated with an unappreciative husband and plain annoying children. And of course, there was Laurie, who was stuck in a dead-end marriage with an unplanned child on the way.

These people wanted out, and in a way, the Departure was that out — an event that freed them from the suffocating normalness of their previous lives. Kevin was given an out from his marriage, Laurie an out from her unplanned child, and Nora an out from the (albeit temporary) frustrations of her family. “The Garveys At Their Best”, ironic as the title may be, showcased more about who these people were than any episode before it, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, with the first season finale a mere two weeks away.

Perhaps the most interesting development in “The Garveys at Their Best” was not the reveal that Laurie was carrying a child that was lost in the Departure, nor that Kevin was cheating on his wife with a woman who vanished during it, but that the event itself might have been brought about, or at least coincided, with the wishes of those left behind. It adds a whole different level of grief to an already grief-ridden show, but also some perspective on why those left behind might be so insistent on forgetting those who were lost — because they feel responsible for their departure. In a sense, last night’s episode made you understand, if not sympathize, with the Guilty Remnant, who are facing their grief head-on rather than suppressing it like many of the townsfolk of Mapleton.

Oh right, I almost forgot about Jill, who was a brace-faced teen working on a entropy project (get it?) for a science fair and basically living the average teenager lifestyle before the Departure. We didn’t really learn much about Jill, other than that she had a much closer relationship with Tommy prior to October 14th and might have known that her parents were headed for splitsville. She and Tommy also happened to witness first hand the disappearance of a classmate during a particularly intriguing sequence involving a human “circuit.”

Last night’s episode also revealed several smaller revelations. Firstly, that Laurie used to be a successful psychiatrist and that the Garvey’s were, like, stupid rich because of her success. We also learned that Paddi used to be a patient of Laurie’s, potentially foresaw the Departure, and that the “Neil” whose name she scribbled on a bag before defecating it and leaving it on his doorstep was in fact her abusive ex-husband who had recently kicked her out of her house. Oh, and Gladys was a dog-breeder before she went off the reservation, which begs the question: Were animals taken in the Departure as well? You have to admit, no one would have seen that twist coming.

After a short break for Labor Day, The Leftovers will return for what is set to be a gripping season finale. If I were to guess, it will be anything but uplifting.

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The Screen Junkies Top Six: Most Essential “Sin City” Movies Thu, 21 Aug 2014 22:32:06 +0000 Jared Jones A Dame to Kill For can deliver all the gratuitous T n' A and over-the-top violence it wants, but unless it relocates itself to the land of slot machines and cocaine, it will surely fail to live up to the true "Sin City" classics.

The post The Screen Junkies Top Six: Most Essential “Sin City” Movies appeared first on Screen Junkies.


By Jared Jones

This weekend, Eva Green’s awesome boobs march their way into theaters to star in Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For, which let me tell you right now, is most certainly *not* a blatant cashgrab by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez based on the success of their 2005 original. So just throw that notion right. out.

Based on my extensive research, I have discovered that neither of the Sin City movies actually take place in Las Vegas, which feels like kind of a cop out to me. Placing any movie in the real “Sin City” automatically boosts its IMDB rating by 2.4 stars. Everyone knows this. A Dame to Kill For can deliver all the gratuitous T n’ A and over-the-top violence it wants, but unless it relocates itself to the land of slot machines and cocaine, it will surely fail to live up to the true “Sin City” classics. Classic like…

Leprechaun 3

Let’s start off with an obvious one. Leprechaun 3 is to Friday the 13th Part 4 what Halloween H20 is to A Nightmare on Elm Street 6, which is to say that it is a remarkable film in almost every regard. Whether it was Warwick Davis‘ reprisal of the role he was quite literally born to play or that truly masterful scene in which a woman has her tits and lips inflated until she explodes that truly put this movie over the top is debatable, but at the end of the day, Leprechaun 3 undeniably owes a debt of gratitude to Las Vegas for making the film the outright success it remains today.

I mean, come on! That “losing streak” pun alone was worth the trip! Not only that, but other Vegas-based puns that could be found on Leprechaun 3 movie posters included:

-”Welcome to Vegas…the odds are you won’t leave alive!”

-”This time, luck has nothing to do with it.”

-”To get out of Vegas alive…you’ll have to stay away from his pot of gold.”

-”The luck of the Irish…you’re dead!”

That one seemed kind of lazy, if you ask me.

Think Like a Man Too

Full confession: I have not seen this movie, but I refuse to believe that a sequel to a movie based off a book by Steve Harvey starring Turtle from Entourage, Kevin Hart (whose screamy,yelly thing never gets old), *and* the music of Mary J. Blige can be anything less than a fun-filled extravaganza. I would like to know, however, just what in the hell is going on in this poster. It is without a doubt one of the worst photoshop disasters I have ever witnessed.

Why is Turtle’s head so big, and why is his expression so calm? He’s pinning a tiny-headed (by comparison), clearly terrified friend down to the table, yet he has the dead-eyed demeanor of a serial rapist. Likewise, why are Kevin Hart’s friends laughing at his apparent misfortunes? Why does anyone laugh at Kevin Hart at all, for that matter?

Is that white guy in the background Lance Armstrong? Is Lance Armstrong in this picture? Do you guys ever have trouble watching that Lance Armstrong scene in Dodgeball, knowing what we all know now? Should they digitally replace Lance Armstrong in that scene in Dodgeball, and with who? So many questions.

Mars Attacks!

Confession #2: This movie was going to wind up on this list whether it was actually set in Nevada or not.

Last Vegas 

Aiming to finally close the debate on whether or not jokes about old guys popping Viagra ever cease to be funny (Spoiler alert: They don’t, ya boner!), Last Vegas saw Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline turn in diverse, career-defining roles as, get this, old guys in Vegas! I know, right! I guess it’s just a bonus that Turtle from Entourage is *also* in this movie!!!

“The light at the end of the tunnel has never been brighter…or funnier!” raved Phil Satchelknob of the LA Times when reviewing Last Vegas, “Douglas brings newfound life into his role, literally!”

I tried to describe this movie to my roommate the other day. I said it was basically Space Cowboys meets The Hangover, but set against the neon luminescence of the Sunset Strip. He called me an idiot and spit in my face. We haven’t spoken since.

What Happens in Vegas

Cameron vs. Ashton: The cinematic showdown have been asking for ever since Stallone vs. Lithgow.


Judging by the methods used to market A Dame to Kill For (see: Green’s boobs, Eva), I’m guessing they’ll be handing out lotion and Kleenex along with the 3D glasses at theaters nationwide tomorrow. Holes will be cut out of popcorn buckets. Our understanding of sticky theater floors, redefined. All this, so the story of Marv, Snuffy, Al, Leo, and Little Moe with the gimpy leg can continue on.

If the people behind A Dame to Kill For were smart, however, they would have set the movie in the Las Vegas, added in a show tune element, and slapped an NC-17 rating on it to really give the film the oversexualized punch it needs. Because let’s be honest, Sin City 2 appears to be selling itself as softcore action porn, basically, albeit with ridiculous production values and an A-list cast. But like most Hollywood fare, it lacks the balls to fully commit to the risque image it’s trying to pass off. This is a movie all but daring its audience *not* to jerk off during it, yet it can’t bring an “Elizabeth Hurley getting flogged in a pool while seizuring like a fish out of water” element to the table? Please…

I’m not just praising Showgirls because I learned all of my moves of seduction from it (the fish out of water is still my go-to). I’m simply saying that without that extra, Saved-By-the-Bell -star-getting-f*cking-like-an-electrocuted-corpse boost, A Dame to Kill For is all but destined to wind up a critical and financial failure. Showgirls, on the other hand, grossed over $500 million domestic and is 1 of only 5 films to hold a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes *and* a 10/10 on IMDB. The proof is in the pudding, folks. And no, I don’t mean that as some kind of sex thing, you damn perverts.

The post The Screen Junkies Top Six: Most Essential “Sin City” Movies appeared first on Screen Junkies.

]]> 0 SIN CITY 2 Banner Leprechaun_3b think-like-a-man-too us-posters-mars-attacks-advance-1sh-96-directed-by-tim-burton-great-image-of-many-alien-brains what_happens_in_vegas_ver2 Showgirls
The “What If Michael Bay Directed Up?” Trailer Is Here to Answer All Your “What If Michael Bay Directed Up?” Questions Mon, 18 Aug 2014 21:37:31 +0000 Jared Jones I think we can all agree that Michael Bay is to subtlety and restraint what Joseph Stalin was to...subtlety and restraint. Am I calling Michael Bay the Joseph Stalin of filmmaking, or implying that Bay might even be Joseph Stalin reincarnated? Yes, I am saying that.

The post The “What If Michael Bay Directed Up?” Trailer Is Here to Answer All Your “What If Michael Bay Directed Up?” Questions appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

I think we can all agree that Michael Bay is to subtlety and restraint what Joseph Stalin was to…subtlety and restraint, right? Come to think of it, Bay and Stalin have more in common than you might assume: Both rose to the top of their industries despite strong protests from their peers, both are/were megalomaniacs who worked tirelessly to develop personality cults, and both were born in years beginning with 19. Am I calling Michael Bay the Joseph Stalin of filmmaking, or implying that Bay might even be Joseph Stalin reincarnated? Yes, I am saying that. Michael Bay is Joseph Stalin reincarnated.

Still, the man’s made so much money in his career that he could purchase one of the exotic countries he so often shoots in and rename it (Baytopia? The Republic of ROCKoslavakia?) if he wanted to. All we can really do at this point is parody what’s made him such a success while quietly stabbing ourselves with forks to numb the infinite sadness caused by the death of art that is his filmmaking.

“Wow, that got really, really dark,” is what I said about that last sentence after I wrote it and what I said five minutes into Up, which brings us to today’s item (*stands up, accepts award for greatest topic transition ever*). Youtube user MrStratman7 has become known the internet over for his humorous takedowns of Michael Bay’s “style” of directing, most notably in “What if Michael Bay Directed “The Shawshank Redemption?”, which currently holds OVER 80,000 HITS on Youtube (Take that, Miley Cyrus!). For his latest effort in “What If”-style recut movie trailers featuring Michael Bay, he tackles Up.

Give it a gander, then let us know (or let MrStratman7 know, I guess) which movies you’d like to see Michael Bay parodies of in the future. Personally, I’d love to see a Michael Bay version of City of God, where the gangs all carry bazookas and Rocket has a sentient pet robot instead of a camera. And it takes place in 2060 on Mars so the sentient pet robot makes sense.

Jesus, that’s a stupid enough idea to actually become a movie. What have I done?

The post The “What If Michael Bay Directed Up?” Trailer Is Here to Answer All Your “What If Michael Bay Directed Up?” Questions appeared first on Screen Junkies.

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 8: “Cairo” Mon, 18 Aug 2014 17:10:51 +0000 Jared Jones Sheriff Kevin Garvey is going full-on Fight Club, or at least that's what last night's episode of "The Leftovers" would like you to believe.

The post The Leftovers Recap, Episode 8: “Cairo” appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

HEAR the Shadowy Horses, their long manes a-shake,
Their hoofs heavy with tumult, their eyes glimmering white;
The North unfolds above them clinging, creeping night,
The East her hidden joy before the morning break,
The West weeps in pale dew and sighs passing away,
The South is pouring down roses of crimson fire:

O vanity of Sleep, Hope, Dream, endless Desire,
The Horses of Disaster plunge in the heavy clay:
Beloved, let your eyes half close, and your heart beat
Over my heart, and your hair fall over my breast,
Drowning love’s lonely hour in deep twilight of rest,
And hiding their tossing manes and their tumultuous feet.

And with those parting words (departing words?), the Guilty Remnant’s head honcho Patti took her own life in the climax of last night’s episode of The Leftovers via glass shard to the throat. It was a gruesome, mindf*ck of an ending to a complete mindf*ck of an episode.

That poem, by the way, is WB Yeats’  ”Michael Robartes Bids his Beloved be at Peace.” I’m guessing the horses represent the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse or some other cataclysmic event, but trying to theorize at the deeper meaning of anything in this show before the season culminates is a wild goose chase of which I refuse to participate in.

Perhaps its so hard to get a grasp on what exactly was happening in “Cairo” due to the show’s continual use of Sheriff Kevin Garvey as an unreliable narrator. As the audience, we are given no further insight into Kevin’s blackouts/dreams, the peripheral characters possibly contained within them (Dean the dog-killer), or the significance of things like his misplaced white shirts than Kevin himself. Are the drug cocktails Kevin was previously on causing these blackouts? Alcohol maybe? Or is Kevin being played a fool by almost everyone around him? For now, all we know is that he appears to be losing his mind, and we’re right there with him.

If what we learned last night is to be believed, Kevin has actually made several trips out to Cairo, NY (a five+ hour drive from Mapleton), to ritualistically hang his police shirts from trees, all while blacked out. This all culminated in last night’s trip, where he allegedly picked up Dean the dog-killer, brutalized and kidnapped Patti, then dragged her up to a cabin in Cairo that he used to “sneak off and smoke cigarettes in” as a kid. That’s one high-functioning alcoholic, my friends.

But it’s hard to fault Kevin for being an unreliable narrator, as almost everything we learned in “Cairo” was told to him secondhand by Dean, a man with no driver’s license, birth certificate, or even a Dave & Buster’s Power Play card. According to Patti, Dean is “a ghost.”  Based off what we know about Kevin’s father and the voices he hears, it is incredibly likely that Dean is simply a figment of Kevin’s imagination, although the fact that Dean has interacted with several other characters on the show (albeit for incredibly brief moments) seems to play against this theory. Perhaps Dean might just be the face Kevin has assigned to his split personality, maybe?

Of course, it’s possible that everything about Cairo might be in Kevin’s head. Cairo was, after all, the only thing he heard over the walkie talkie during his previous dream sequence involving Dean (you know, the one with the dog in the mailbox). Likewise, his conversation with Patti moments before she killed herself was shockingly similar to the one he had with his demented father at the diner in “Solace for Tired Feet”. Like his father, Patti kept alluding to the fact that Kevin plays a larger role in the Departure (or its aftermath) than even he can understand. That his dreams seem to be equal parts delusion and premonition adds credence to this idea, but who the f*ck knows for sure.

Last night’s episode also revealed that, yes, Patti did have Gladys killed as part of the GR’s ongoing quest to force people to “remember” the events of October 14th, and that Laurie is likely the next one in line to die for such a cause.  A U-haul full of body-sized packages, however, seems to indicate that the Guilty Remnant is either a) planning to commit mass suicide or b) planning a rally that involves all the possessions they have stolen from the townspeople.

The photos, the clothes, the body-sized packages — methinks that the GR has ordered a truckload of those fake corpses produced by Marcus to sneak the fake corpses back into the homes of those who lost someone in The Departure. We know that it will happen on Memorial Day, as loud-mouthed Meg — who we learned lost her mother the day before the Departure (hooray character development!) — couldn’t help but spill the beans. She also hinted that Nora would be on the receiving end of the worst of whatever they have planned. Poor, sardonic, sexy Nora.

Oh yes, there was also a half-baked plot involving Kevin’s daughter Jill this week, wherein she took Nora to task for carrying a gun, then after finding that she no longer carried it, broke into her house to find that she was still in possession of it. Oh yes, and she also got into a heated argument with Aimee revolving around whether or not Aimee had sex with her father, which resulted in Aimee moving out. Personally, I think the bite mark on Kevin’s hand relates back to some kinky sex he had with Aimee during one of his blackouts, but again, who. the. f*ck. knows.

Perhaps because Jill is written like every brooding sitcom teen ever, I continuously find myself identifying more with the twins who hang out with her than Jill herself. “So the gun means that, like, people can never get over what happened?” one of the twins tries to explain while searching Nora’s home, which as close to a meaning in Jill’s B-plot as I could come to this week.

That the episode ended with Jill coming face-to-face with her mother in the GR headquarters is an interesting turn for an otherwise uninteresting character, and the fallout from this plot (should Jill decide to join the GR) will no doubt be the push that sends her father over the edge. Kevin is going to be facing a lot more than a potential murder charge in Mapleton, and being that the only thing that kept him from converting to his father’s dark side was his commitment to Jill, we are probably in store for a complete character implosion upon his return.

One can only hope.

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Throwback Thursday: 9 of the Most Scathing Siskel & Ebert Reviews From the ’90s Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:23:20 +0000 Jared Jones Back before movie reviews could be summed up in 13 characters or less, there were two gentleman who stood atop the peak of film criticism. Simply put, *no one* could rip a movie a new a-hole like Siskel and Ebert.

The post Throwback Thursday: 9 of the Most Scathing Siskel & Ebert Reviews From the ’90s appeared first on Screen Junkies.


(Four thumbs up still doesn’t even begin to describe the greatness of Suburban Commando.)

By Jared Jones

Back before movie reviews could be summed up in 13 characters or less, there were two gentleman who stood atop the peak of film criticism. Their names were Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, and from 1986 to 1999, they hosted Siskel & Ebert & the Movies, a highly popular movie review show wherein the two would debate the week’s best and worst offerings from Hollywood. It was basically Statler and Waldorf with two slightly less cantankerous hosts.

Arguably the most entertaining episodes of Siskel & Ebert came at year’s end, when they would name their best and worst films of the year. While their breakdowns of the best were witty and insightful in their own right, it was their cathartic lampooning of the worst that are remembered to this day. Simply put, no one could rip a movie a new a-hole like Siskel and Ebert.

Unfortunately, both legendary critics have since passed away, Siskel due to complications from a surgery and Ebert from thyroid cancer. But rather than continue to wallow in the absolutely wretched week of news this has been, we shall instead celebrate Siskel and Ebert by taking a look back at some of their most vicious takedowns from the ’90s. Enjoy.

The Guardian (1990)

(Scroll to the 16:56 mark)

Choice Quote: “You know you have a special job when your little children ask you, ‘What did you do today, Daddy?’ and you tell them, ‘Oh, honey, I saw a movie about a killer tree.’”

Drop Dead Fred (1991)

Choice Quote: “98 minutes stolen from my life.”

Stop! or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)

Choice Quote: “If this script had been submitted to the half-hour show, The Golden Girls, they would have rejected it for not being substantial enough for a 22 or 24-minute TV show.”

The Beverly Hillbillies (1993)

Choice Quote: (From Ebert’s review) “Here is a film with all of the wit of the road kill that supplies not one but two of the lesser jokes.”

North (1994)

Choice Quote: “I hated this movie as much as any movie we’ve ever reviewed in the 19 years we’ve been doing this show.”

Judge Dredd (1995)

Choice Quote: “I know, Stallone, you probably hate my guts, you think I hate you. I don’t hate you. I like your talent. I want you to use it. This isn’t what you were put on Earth for. You can do this in your sleep, and sometimes, it looks like that’s exactly what you’re doing.”

Little Indian, Big City (1996)

Choice Quote: “If the French laughed at this, it makes me understand why they think Jerry Lewis is the funniest man on Earth.”

Year of the Horse (1997)

Choice Quote: “The documentary segments have all the depth of some kid interviewing his family members in the basement with a home video camera. And as for the musical segments, they remind me of nothing more than a group of shaggy mountain men hunkering in a circle and doing imitations of autistic lumberjacks.”

Spice World (1998)

Choice Quote: “When the movie was over, I still didn’t know the Spice Girls by name, which is OK because I don’t know the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by name either. So I thought, maybe there could be a movie where the Spice Girls and the Ninja Turtles fall in love, run off together, and never come back.”

For more ’90s nostalgia, enter the Throw Break Thursday sweepstakes for a chance to win a retro arcade tower, a classic gaming console & games, or a vintage comic book pack. It ends Friday, so hurry!

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So When Did Fanboy Twitter Reviews Become Acceptable Film Criticism, Exactly? Thu, 14 Aug 2014 00:32:03 +0000 Jared Jones Dear Hollywood: Please stop acting like a 13 character hashtag counts as a legitimate endorsement of your subpar product.

The post So When Did Fanboy Twitter Reviews Become Acceptable Film Criticism, Exactly? appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

Because the Internet is a perpetually-expanding entity, pretty much anyone can become a quote unquote “movie critic” these days. Take a couple film studies classes in college, watch some Kurosawa to boost your street cred, start up a blog and BOOM: Your opinion is almost important. Hell, our sense of entitlement when it comes to film is so out of whack that a major studio can barely post a 30-second teaser from their new superhero movie before John Q. Livesinbasement posts an EIGHTEEN MINUTE RESPONSE to said clip on Youtube, honestly expecting that people will give two shits about it.

And for a certain period of time, long before Youtubes and Internets, movie studios actually *did* give two shits about what critics thought of their efforts. Getting the Siskel & Ebert stamp of approval on your film was like having Bruce Dickinson tell you that your song had precisely the right amount of cowbell, and while you could always throw a couple dollars at some hack like Pete Hammond to sing your praises, a glowing review could once persuade on-the-fence moviegoers to fork over $5 (movies were cheaper back then) to at least give you a shot. The world was an intellectual, artistic utopia without crime, poverty, or mean people, basically.

But lo, those days are long behind us, my friends. Moviegoing audiences don’t care about whether a movie is “good” or not, they just want to see two giant robots fuck in the woods, or have a guy in a cape/mask/codpiece constantly explain why their latest mission is super complicated and therefore awesome. Audiences have become the critics, which has led to perhaps the most disturbing trend of them all: Fanboy twitter reviews in movie trailers.

Take the above TV spot for Into the Storm, a wicked awesome tornado movie about tornadoes that tornadoed its way into theaters last weekend. Not many people who actually bothered to learn anything about competent filmmaking or storytelling seemed to like it (Tomatometer score: 21%), but no matter, because Twitter user @AsToldByGianna thinks it’s “Amaze-Balls.”

You hear that? It’s amaze-balls, you guys! That’s pretty high praise from the lady who once declared Schindler’s List to be ”Totes depressing lolz.”

It’s not that I blame the movie studios themselves for contributing to our cultural ADHD by highlighting one-(made up)word Twitter reviews of their shitty movies. Well, I do, but when you can’t even get a Hammond or a Shalit to whore out a positive review for you, it’s pretty much your only option left. I guess my question is: Are there people out there who are actually influenced by these “reviews”? Like, is there someone, somewhere, sitting on their couch and discussing the pros and cons of a tornado movie about tornadoes with their friends, when this trailer comes on and puts all doubts to rest?

Friend 1: “There’s no way I’m going to see that suckfest, you guys.”

Friend 2: “But…DJKFresh said it was insane.”

Friend 1: “God damn it, you’re right. I’ll get my jacket.”

Thankfully, there are movie trailers out there clever enough to mock our stupidity and the studios/marketing departments who enable it, like the one for The Muppets Most Wanted.

“I’ll prolly go see this.” Classic Fuzzy Ben.

Look, I know that I’m probably making a mountain out of a molehill here, and that most of the twitter accounts used in these trailers are probably fake, but for God’s sake, if you’re putting out a movie that you know is garbage, why even try and convince your audience that it’s anything but? They obviously don’t care — Trans4mers made roughly 20 billion dollars and it was the intellectual equivalent of a turd in a microwave. So for the love of God, Hollywood, please stop acting like a 13-character hashtag counts as a legitimate endorsement of your sub-par product.

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R.I.P Robin Williams: On the Passing of an Icon and the “Legalized Insanity” of Comedy Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:33:27 +0000 Jared Jones Robin Williams was a walking, talking stream of consciousness, an errant television signal from another planet that had (barely) been contained to a human vessel in some sort of freak accident. We'll dearly miss him.

The post R.I.P Robin Williams: On the Passing of an Icon and the “Legalized Insanity” of Comedy appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

It’s funny — the first thing I did after allowing the news of Robin Williams‘ passing to settle last night was rewatch his appearance on Inside the Actors Studio. A comedy and film icon with over 100 voice and acting roles to his credit (and more memorable characters than my video library could possibly hold) had just died, and rather than dust off my ancient VHS copy of Jumanji and remember the good times, I was looking for closure in the deadpan monotone of James Lipton?

I guess I sought out Williams’ appearance on Inside the Actors Studio out of the misguided sense that it would reveal who the real Robin Williams was. Surely, the episode would consist of a series of deep, “revealing” questions that hinted at the pain, the depression, the drug abuse that Williams had battled against throughout his legendary career. Surely, I would get a glimpse into the man behind the perpetually contorting mask.

Some eight minutes into Williams’ appearance, the only question he had even come close to answering was about his style of comedy, which he had dubbed “legalized insanity.” The rest was basically an extended improv, featuring prop work, audience interaction, and no less than 10 characters; an immigrant, a southerner, an old-timey politician, a smoker speaking through an electrolarynx, etc. Dizzying, hysterical, and almost overwhelming, the bit was the epitome of every joke that’s been made about Robin Williams’ style of comedy since he rose to popularity some 40 years ago, and it freaking killed. Most of the audience was doubled over with uncontrollable laughter, and even Lipton was in stitches. Robin Williams was treating this prestigious, learned audience like the Saturday night crowd at the Laugh Factory, and he was on fire.

Forty impression-filled minutes later, Williams borrowed a pink scarf from a woman in the audience and used it to transform into a female movie director from Bombay, then a terrified Iraqi woman, then Robin Van Schoppel: Gay Rabbi, and finally, an Iron Chef host.

And that’s more or less when I accepted just who Robin Williams was. The unprompted outbursts, the constant barrage of voices and characters; that was just him doing him. Robin Williams was schizophrenia fully realized; a walking, talking stream of consciousness, or an errant television signal from another planet, maybe, that had (barely) been contained to a human vessel in some sort of freak accident. He was certifiably bonkers, but managed to harness those crazy, kneejerk, Id-driven thoughts we all have into a routine. If he weren’t so damn famous, he’d probably be locked up. Hence, “legalized insanity.” He was also one of the kindest, most outgoing guys in the industry, which is probably why they allowed him to stick around as long as he did.

Williams always came across — to me at least — as someone who chose comedy out of a greater desire than making other people laugh. It wasn’t a mindless indulgence to Williams, although the speed at which he could fearlessly fire off material might lead you to believe it was. It was a necessity, a distraction from the soul-crushing normalcy of people who weren’t Robin Williams. To write it off as a coping mechanism would be too easy, but comedy seemed to be the only way he could exist in a world so mundane, so profoundly inhibited.

And that’s perhaps the saddest truth about comedy (and the success garnered by it), that those gifted with it are seemingly the most conflicted, depressed people among us, often as a result. Because comedy is creation — a single person’s unique understanding of the world around them, from premise to execution — and creation often breeds dejection. Where there should be self-confidence, there is only doubt in one’s abilities. Like any drug, comedic success builds a tolerance within you that can only be satisfied with a bigger, better high. Perfection becomes your endgame, impossible as it may be, and eventually, the bottom always drops out.

We’ve seen it with countless comedy greats: Chappelle, Seinfeld, Pryor, and so on. The pressure to constantly best yourself, to make each and every person you meet laugh no matter what condition you might be in…it’s too much for most. Eventually, you just drop all your shit and flee to Africa, so to speak, or become a recluse. You do anything within your power to avoid the mountain of expectation your own damn mind has convinced you that you need to rise above. It’s exactly what happened to Williams, and exactly what has happened to dozens of praised funnymen before him.

Moments before bringing about the apocalypse in Stanley Elkin’s The Living End, God revealed himself to the legions of the assembled dead and the living billions and addressed them all at once. He was moments away from bringing about the annihilation of everything he had created, and his reasoning behind it was simply “Because I never found my audience.”

“You gave me, some of you, your ooh’s and aah’s, the Jew’s hooray and the Catholics’ Latin deference — all theology’s pious wow. But I never found my audience.”

I’d like to think that Robin Williams found his audience. Maybe not during his time here on Earth, or maybe not in whatever afterlife you prefer to picture him in, but within himself. Robin Williams was the only audience necessary for Robin Williams, and the only audience that could truly appreciate his greatness. A hyperbolic or egotistical or plain rude statement it may be, but it’s ultimately fitting for a man as truly original as Williams. Go ahead, try and name one person who you could even begin to compare to him, celebrity or otherwise. Name one person so unashamedly wacky, so multifaceted and uninhibited, that they could even begin to understand the constant influx and outpour of thought that Williams has displayed in almost every public appearance since 1975. I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely grateful that I cannot.

To pull a quote from one of William’s more recent efforts, World’s Greatest Dad, “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up alone, it’s not. The worst thing in the world is to end up with people that make you feel alone.”

Here’s hoping you found your audience, Mr. Williams.

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 7: “Solace for Tired Feet” Mon, 11 Aug 2014 19:54:08 +0000 Jared Jones Prophetic hallucinations, a crazy old man on a rampage, and the May 1972 edition of National Geographic were at the center of last night's The Leftovers. I still have no f*cking idea what this show is about.

The post The Leftovers Recap, Episode 7: “Solace for Tired Feet” appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

I’m start to get that feeling again, you guys.

You Lost fans know the one — it’s equal parts excitement, nerves, and plain confusion, and it usually occurs when Damon Lindelof starts hinting at the kinds of existential and pseudo-religious questions he cannot possibly answer in a satisfying manner.

It’s not that I have a problem with Lindelof’s storytelling style (which I can only describe as masochistic ambiguity), as I actually found last night’s episode of The Leftovers, “Solace for Tired Feet”, to be one of the better of the season. It’s just that someone eventually needs to be held accountable when all the pieces of the puzzle don’t add up, and it sure as hell ain’t going to be me this time. To quote George W., “Fool me once, shame on you. You fool me-I can’t get fooled again.”

I know I might be jumping to conclusions in my criticism of The Leftovers, but that’s at least partially because last night’s episode of The Leftovers seemed to be hinting at the greater purpose it has been quietly building throughout its first six episodes: A reason behind The Departure, aka something Lindelof specifically said the show would never reveal.

A quick recap: Kevin’s crazy Dad escapes from the mental institution, returns to a library he previously burned down and trashes it, and attempts to lure Kevin to the dark (crazy) side with prophetic talks of “accepting it.” Kevin, on the other hand, has been seeing Nora regularly while battling his own hallucinations via a series of dream sequences that are growing increasingly tiresome. Kevin’s stepson, Tommy, on the other other hand, is still on the run with a very pregnant Christine and beginning to lose faith in Holy Wayne, who he has not heard from in months.

That we are some 7 episodes into The Leftovers and still know nothing about Tommy, how he got involved with Wayne, or why he believes Wayne is the prophet he claims to be, remains one of the show’s biggest oversights. Then again, so is Meg’s storyline, Paddies lack of a storyline, and the backstory of damn near every character in this show. The Leftovers insists on wearing so many hats at once that it never seems to keep track of the ones it is already wearing — in addition to the litany of mysteries surrounding the Departure, the GR, Kevin, and Tommy, “Solace for Tired Feet” also gave us:

-A dog in a mailbox and a bite mark on Kevin’s hand that looked very human

-The dead dogs in Dean’s truck turning into GR members mid-dream sequence

-The May 1972 edition of National Geographic

-Kevin and Tommy incurring similar injuries (on their left hands) and experiences (smashing a phone, the mailboxes, etc.)

While all these are compelling little vignettes in their own right, given what we know about Lindelof, it’s hard not to look at Kevin Sr.’s pleas to his son, or the National Geographic magazine, or Holy Wayne and his army of pregnant Asian women as red herrings being pretentiously painted over as plot developments. At a certain point, throwing as many Biblical references and ambiguous symbolism at the audience as you can without resolution is not clever, it’s incompetent storytelling. Think of all the countless hours many of us spent trying to piece together all the symbols in True Detective, only to find out that, fuck you, none of those things were supposed to mean anything. I loved True Detective, but that doesn’t excuse it (or shows like it) from introducing a gun in the first act only to tell me that I never actually saw the gun in the third.

Then again, The Leftovers, like True Detective before it, seems to focus more on how the members of Mapleton (and specifically, the Garveys) react to the inexplicable than anything else. Which is interesting in theory, but doesn’t exactly make for compelling television if its wrapped in a mystery more compelling than the characters within it. Still, I will watch The Leftovers till season’s end to see what, if any, storylines it chooses to resolve and how it chooses to resolve them. Based on the general reaction to the show thus far, I’m guessing that’s why we’re all sticking with it.

Are Holy Wayne’s children a bridge between the Departed and those left behind? Between the living and the dead? Are Kevin’s hallucinations directly related to the higher sense of purpose his father (and Reverend Jameson) seems to think is destined for? Is Holy Wayne a sham? Does Jill’s friend Aimee know more about the cause of Kevin’s hallucinations than she is letting on? Does Carrie Coon look absolutely incredible naked? I can only answer that last question with a resounding SCHWING, but I’ll stick with The Leftovers for now to see how it answers the rest of them.

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Don’t F*ck With This Uncensored Clip From Last Season’s ‘Walking Dead’ Finale Fri, 08 Aug 2014 19:18:05 +0000 Jared Jones Not since Drunk History have I seen a curse word used so effectively.

The post Don’t F*ck With This Uncensored Clip From Last Season’s ‘Walking Dead’ Finale appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

I think we can all agree that our society’s double standard when it comes to violence and naughty language (or naughty bits, for that matter), is f*cking ridiculous. What, watching a man have his f*cking intestines ripped out by a pack of voracious f*cking cannibals is acceptable, but only as long as his final words are “Gosh darn it!!” and not the righteous “F******************CK!!” that poor bastard deserves?

Don’t get me wrong, TV censorship can sometimes be utilized to hilarious effect — I am of course referring to the moment in (edited) Snakes on a Plane when Sir Samuel L. declares that he has grown tired of these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday-to-Friday plane. But for the most part, censorship is a weak-ass practice perpetuated by cowards. It’s the nadir of artistic expression. It’s plain un-American, is what it is.

This was never more apparent than during the closing moments of last season’s otherwise excellent Walking Dead finale, where after RIPPING OUT A MAN’S THROAT WITH HIS TEETH, Rick Grimes was not allowed to drop an F-bomb after being SHOT AT AND CAPTURED BY A GROUP OF CANNIBALS. “They’re screwing with the wrong people,” Grimes instead muttered, drawing a collective groan from hardcore and casual WD fans alike.

But now, AMC has released an uncensored clip of the original, more swearier version of season 5′s closing line. Not since Drunk History have I seen a curse word used so effectively.

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Do Movies With Intentionally Misspelled Titles Always Suck? An Investigation Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:18:03 +0000 Jared Jones You can tell a lot about the intentional misspelling of a word in a film — mainly, that it is poison and should be avoided at all costs.

The post Do Movies With Intentionally Misspelled Titles Always Suck? An Investigation appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

Just yesterday, we all learned that the title of the new, completely necessary Terminator film will be Terminator: Genisys. You see, it’s clever because the non-Terminator word in that title is normally spelled “genesis.” Apparently, the film’s assertion is that illiteracy, not technology, will be the cause of man’s ultimate undoing at the hands of our future robot overlords. It’s an interesting premise, I’ll give it that much.

As luck would have it, you can actually tell a lot about the intentional misspelling of a word in a movie title, band name, MMA fighter nickname or whathaveyou — mainly, that any person or product that opts for one is terrible and should be avoided at all costs. An intentionally misspelled movie title is like the shake of a rattlesnake’s tail, warning you that it would be stupid bordering on deadly to proceed any further with the thing you are looking at. A few prime examples…


Well, my theory is off to a rough start, because David Fincher’s Se7en is an undeniably awesome film. Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, and a box with Gwyneth Paltrow‘s head in it is, like, exactly how I’d describe my dream vacation, you guys. That said, whoever chose to replace the “v” with the number 7 should have their head placed right beside Gwyneth’s in that box.

How am I even supposed to pronounce that? Se-seven-en? Sev-even? Sussudio?

It’s probably Sussudio. It’s always Sussudio.

Simon Sez

It took me a good half hour to realize that Simon Sez was not Double Team, that *other* late 90′s action movie starring Dennis Rodman. I probably should have realized that one of them co-starred Jean-Claude Van Damme while the other co-starred…Dane Cook?! That can’t be right. The timelines of fame don’t line up, and plus, there is no union on the Venn Diagram between Rodman and Cook fans.

This is ridiculous. We should all probably give this one a look…

Well, that’s definitely Dane Cook all right. In 30 seconds, I counted a Chewbacca impression, a dinosaur impression, and a dog impression. The man is truly the Michael Winslow of non police-themed comedy. And if you somehow make it past all that, you will find John Pinette (R.I.P), a Grey Poupon joke, and a villain who uses the phrase “Tea time!” to commence nuclear destruction. I am so goddamn depressed right now. Like, with humanity.


It’s bad enough that this movie was a cheap, transparent ripoff of A Bug’s Life which owed its creation to a grudge between movie studios, but if you were to ask me (which you are doing by virtue of reading this article), the most shameful atrocity Antz committed was that upon the English language.

Replacing an “s” with a “z” is neither, hip, chill, cool, or clever, and our country has arguably never recovered from the S to Z movement spurred by this film. I don’t care how important your main character is, he is not allowed to have an impact on the nomenclature of his species. What, are we all suppose to start calling ourselves Homobama Sapiens because Barry O’s in the White House? And do the people who created this bastard Bug’s Life abomination honestly expect to us pronounce the “z” as an actual “z”, making it sound as if we are buzzing in on a game show while discussing movies with our friends? And if they wanted that, why not make the movie about bees and call it Buzz?

There. In three seconds, I have come up with a better film than you, Dreamworks. Enjoy your studio that was built on a throne of lies.



This movie was actually OK though.

Click the “next page” link for more movie titles that were too hip for their own good…

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 6: “Guest” Mon, 04 Aug 2014 21:26:02 +0000 Jared Jones Gunshot fetishes, Slayer's "Angel of Death," and a brilliant performance from Carrie Coon highlighted an incredibly strong episode of The Leftovers this week.

The post The Leftovers Recap, Episode 6: “Guest” appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

“Oh, fuck your daughter!”

So began last night’s episode of The Leftovers, “Guest”, as cute-as-a-button grieving wife/mother Nora Durst attempted to woo Sheriff Garvey away to Miami for what I could only assume would be a weekend spent crying into pillows. Thankfully, Nora’s request was more figurative than literal, but it left an awkward (and memorable) impression on Kevin nonetheless.

Actually, that’s not how the episode began. It began with Nora purchasing groceries for her departed family members, spying on the preschool teacher who was sleeping with her husband prior to his departure, and asking an escort to shoot her in the chest while she donned a kevlar vest, Slayer’s “Angel of Death” cranking in the background. It was an odd sequence that will undoubtedly spawn no less than five Facebook Challenge-related deaths.

Possible incest jokes and gunshot fetishes aside, “Guest” easily made for one of the strongest episodes, if not the strongest episode of the season thus far, with Carrie Coon absolutely destroying my soul with her portrayal of Nora. From the moments spent staring out the window of her car at the slutty preschool teacher to her confrontation with Holy Wayne at the episode’s close, Coon’s performance was at times heartbreaking, uplifting, and oddly enough, sexy. If she didn’t earn herself an Emmy nomination for her scene with Wayne alone, my God.

Having lost her entire family in The Departure, Nora has understandably been trapped in a vicious cycle of grief and guilt for the past three years. The blame for her self-loathing cannot entirely be placed on The Departure itself, however, as Nora has spent the years since making sure said grief was always held close. She continues to purchase food for her family, has taken a job with Department of Sudden Departure, asking other families inane questions about those they lost (Did so and so drink more than two alcoholic beverages daily? What about sugary cereal?), and believes that the only way to connect to her family’s pain is to take a bullet to the chest every now and again.

But it is during Nora’s trip to New York for a Departure-related conference that we begin to see her transformation from victim of hope to someone capable of quote unquote “moving on.” She wants her family back, obviously, but her decision to keep living as if they will walk through the door at any moment has only fueled her depression over their disappearance. Of course, that she shows up to New York only to find her conference identity as a “Legacy” (or someone who lost a family member in The Departure) stolen isn’t helping things.

“You’re doing so much better now,” sarcastically states Margery, a woman Durst had a previous run in with in the past at one of the Departure conferences. And truly, Nora has allowed her grief over The Departure (and hope for her family’s return) to define her as a person, rather than joining the likes of the replica-corpse selling Marcus, who believe that her job is nothing more than a scam.

A night of hard partying and a confrontation with the fake Nora Durst later, the real Nora Durst is still struggling to find the meaning in her grief. In her mind, there is no life, no chance at happiness, after The Departure. The grief is neverending, and those “Legacies” left behind are nothing more than the perpetual reminders of the event itself. How Nora has avoided joining the Guilty Remnant up to this point is anyone’s guess.

Yet it is in that moment with Margery that Nora may have realized her need to change. That, or when she was verbally abusing “What’s Next” (with a period, not a question mark) author Patrick as a “phony” full of “bullshit.” She could either choose to continue wallowing in remorse or push through it and embrace what life she still had, and thankfully, she chose the latter. Nora comes away from the conference a reinvigorated, happier person, or rather, someone capable of registering happiness…all thanks to a wild night of booze, pills, and one of Holy Wayne’s patented hugs.

Out with the grieving, in with the optimism. That’s what The Leftovers is ultimately about, anyway; more than the characters involved or even their stories, The Leftovers is about grief, and how we choose to move on from it (or don’t, as is the case for many of the show’s characters). The Departure may have ripped Nora’s previous life from her, but she is still there. She’s still alive, and needs to start living accordingly. So when Sheriff Garvey shows up at her door to ask her on a date, she quickly accepts.

Am I sensing a love connection here, chief? Yes, yes I am. (Let’s just hope Kevin is into women who like being shot.)

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Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:42:24 +0000 Jared Jones Guardians of the Galaxy can best be described as a two-hour montage set to a 1970's Jock Jams mixtape (and that's a good thing).

The post Review: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ appeared first on Screen Junkies.


By Jared Jones

It’s rather fitting that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy would be the first film I’d review for Screen Junkies, as it’s a movie that seems damn near impossible to critique. Sure, Guardians adheres to many of the conventions we’ve come to expect from a comic book movie (dead parents, cryptically-introduced characters who speak entirely in exposition, etc.), and betrays most of its plot conventions before they are even established, but its absolute refusal to take itself seriously doesn’t exactly open the door for criticism.

Of course, then you see a wisecracking racoon unleash a barrage of machine gun fire while riding on the back of a talking treebeast, and you nearly pass out from the deluge of blood that rushes from your head to your nerd boner.

Guardians of the Galaxy can best be described as a two-hour montage set to a 1970′s Jock Jams mixtape, complete with some of the most intense and plain beautiful CGI your puny eyes may ever gaze upon. It’s the kind of movie Pete Hammond would describe as an “uproarious, fun-filled thrill ride!” while sucking on the taint of whatever PR firm had hired him to write it. For once, his blatant hyperbole would be accurate.

The story is a rather familiar one in terms of comic book adaptations: Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) is abducted by a gang of intergalactic mercenaries (led by the always delightful Michael Rooker) after watching his mother succumb to cancer, and twenty some-odd years later, he is roaming the galaxy as a common, if wickedly inventive thief. That is, until he stumbles upon the Infinity Stone capable of destroying entire civilizations (DUN-DUN-DUN!) and is forced to band together with a crew of misfits and miscreants in order to save the galaxy. Yadda yadda yadda hijinks ensue.

But yes, back to the CGI. As someone who has always preferred his world-building to take place in our actual world, even I must admit that Guardians was able to create the kind of exceptionally detailed, fully realized CGI-scapes that make paying the extra $10 for 3D glasses worth it. Not that I have to, being a fancy film critic that I am now and all (*spins bow tie*). The post-opening credits scene, which sees Quill a.k.a “Star Lord” shimmy his way across a barren planet to steal the Casket of Ancient Winters/Tesseract/whatever, was the highlight for me in that regard. The whole sequence plays out like a steampunk take on the 1912 Utah opening from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and if you can’t get into that, the door is right over there.

That said, the inevitable success of Guardians will ultimately (and rightfully) be attributed to its cast and the witty repartee they develop. Marvel movies — and really, any comic book adaptation — only shine when they opt for the absurdist route, in my opinion, and director James Gunn‘s script never once pauses to talk about “destiny” or “fate” or whatever hackneyed cliches often punctuate comic book faire. A gravel-voiced Christian Bale speaking in platitudes about the moral weight that comes with being a cape-wearing crime fighter? I fart in your general direction, sir. A gravel-voiced Dave Bautista discussing his inability to understand metaphor? I’ll take two, please.

*Every* character in Guardians is the comic relief, Zoe Saldana‘s somewhat flat Gamora excluded, and that’s what makes the movie such a fun, effortless experience to watch. That, and the breakneck pace at which the film itself moves, because good God, does this flick hustle information past you like an irritated flight attendant on a frat bro-filled plane to Spring Break, Cancun. But on top of it all, Guardians of the Galaxy is just funny, plain and simple. Who would’ve guessed that a WWE star not named The Rock has legitimate comedic timing, or that Vin Diesel repeating the same line of dialogue over and over and over again would never not be hilarious? Spoiler alert: Bautista kills it, and I want a baby Groot-sized potted plant on my desk ASAP.

If I could lob one legitimate criticism at Guardians, it would be that of its villains. As I’ve noticed in more and more blockbuster action movies to come out in recent years, Guardians in the Galaxy would like you to believe that its bad guys — mainly, the Vader-esque Ronan — are all-powerful, menacing, genocidal killers, yet it never really commits to that narrative or establishes what exactly is motivating them (other than the classic standby of “world destruction”). Ronan and his cronies are merely blips on the radar who pop up when needed to cause a little mayhem, but they never really give the impression that they possess the destructive power that warrants the fear they instill.

Guardians’ PG-13 rating is most likely to blame for the movie’s lack of any real stakes or sense of impending doom, and I guess that’s forgivable. But just once, I’d like to see a quote unquote “popcorn flick” have the balls to actually commit to decisions it makes. If you’re going to kill off a character, kill off a character. If you’re going to have one character betray another, maybe establish a relationship between the two that last more than 30 seconds to give said betrayal some actual gravitas.

It’s a minor complaint in an otherwise glowing review, but something Marvel should maybe consider when developing Guardians of the Galaxy 2-8. Oh, did you not know that this movie is going to a box office juggernaut greenlit for a sequel by night’s end? Or that Chris Pratt is probably the next king of the box office? Because yeah, that’s all about to happen.

Grade: B+

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The Six Best Kills From ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’ Thu, 31 Jul 2014 22:05:02 +0000 Jared Jones Many brave souls were lost in the worst shark-infested weather catastrophe to hit the Big Apple since The Great White(Shark)out of '84, so it is in memoriam that we pay tribute...

The post The Six Best Kills From ‘Sharknado 2: The Second One’ appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

Leave it to the Syfy channel to prove that the idea of a shark-filled tornado can somehow be improved upon with a second viewing.

That’s basically what Sharknado 2: The Second One was, after all — a rehash of the first Sharknado but with a buttload of celebrity cameos — from its name to its plot to its explosive finale. That is in no way is meant as an insult, mind you, as Sharknado 2 was able to accomplish what few cult hits can: create a sequel that captures the nostalgia of the original (recent as it may be) while never once winking at the camera or beating us over the head with those “Remember This?” moments that have all but served as the latter halves of Sly Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s careers.

A brilliant, unexpected triumph Sharknado 2 ultimately was, featuring more brutiful deaths (gorgeously rendered in Microsoft Paint) than you could really wrap your head around in one sitting. My God, there were so many sharksecutions in this movie. Shark beheadings. Shark crushings. Death by flaming shark. The list goes on.

From Kelly Osbourne to Daymond John, many brave souls were lost in the worst shark-infested weather catastrophe to hit the Big Apple since The Great White(Shark)out of ’84, so it is in memoriam that we pay tribute to the following…

Airplane Toilet Lady

Of all the ways I thought that Airplane Toilet Lady (who I’m told is famous on Twitter or something) was going to go out, this was the only way I thought that Airplane Toilet Lady was going to go out.

Tara Reid’s(Hand)

Tara Reid‘s returning performance as April Wexler, Fin’s (Ian Ziering) on-again, off-again wife was as raspy-voiced and on four hours of sleep as ever, but watching her pick off sharks with a Air Marshal’s pistol while hanging out the door of an airplane was nothing short of visual poetry. Listening to her attempts at conveying fear and pain, on the other hand, can only be described as “like hearing a vacuum cleaner choke to death on a dust-covered tator tot.”

A scream queen the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis Reid may not be, but a gunslinger the likes of Doc Holliday? Indubitably.

Kelly Osbourne

I’m just saying, Ozzy would have caught that shark, crushed it up into a line, and snorted it.

Tiffany Shepis

Why would you choose to stand so close to the water during a sharknado? That’s like, the *worst* place to stand, dum-dum. I’m not saying Shepis deserved to have a shark nom on her face like a goddamned chew toy, but I don’t touch fire and expect not to get burned either.

I’m just starting to realize how many of the victims in Sharknado 2 are women. Let us all take to Twitter and challenge Syfy’s blatant misogyny with #YesAllSharknados hashtags.

Daymond John

Death by Lady Liberty is arguably the most noble death an American could ever experience, and it was all the more fitting that Daymond John — a guy with a true rags-to-riches story that epitomizes the American dream — met his demise in like fashion.

Or was his death by Liberty head-crushing perhaps a comment on the capitalist greed and corporate-backed impoverishment of the modern day proletariat through unjust taxation that has made the American dream all but unobtainable to those but a select few?  F*cking Sharknado, why can’t you just let me shut off my mind for 90 minutes?! WHY MUST YOU ALWAYS ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS?!!!

Flaming Shark Bystanders

I take that back, Death by Flaming Shark is definitely the most American way to go out. (*salutes, single tear rolls down eye*)

BONUS: The Sharks!!


Any notable deaths we missed? Give us a shout in the comments section. 

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Test Footage of the Deadpool Movie Has Leaked, and It’s F*cking Brilliant Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:43:33 +0000 Jared Jones Based on this clip, Deadpool already looks like it will be a better movie than The Green Lantern, and this isn't even actual footage from the film yet.

The post Test Footage of the Deadpool Movie Has Leaked, and It’s F*cking Brilliant appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

While not being the biggest superhero/comic book movie fan myself, I am still forced to admit that the leaked test footage from 20th Century Fox’s upcoming Deadpool movie is undeniably awesome. It’s got everything; Ryan Reynolds‘ patented cheeky one-liners, absolutely gruesome deaths played for laughs, and the existential musings of Gwen Stafani’s “Hollaback Girl.” Based on this clip, Deadpool already looks like it will be a better movie than The Green Lantern, and this isn’t even actual footage from the film yet.

Then again, I thought The Avengers was just OK (*dodges bottle*), so what the hell do I know?

Check out the leaked test clip above while you still can, then start wetting yourselves with excitement in the comments section.

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 5: “Gladys” Mon, 28 Jul 2014 21:49:15 +0000 Jared Jones The tl:dr version: Gloom, doom, and a good old fashioned stoning highlighted television's consistently most depressing show.

The post The Leftovers Recap, Episode 5: “Gladys” appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

It’s a testament to The Leftovers – or perhaps the skills of Mimi Leder, who directed last night’s episode, “Gladys” — that the show can still make me feel bad for a person who refused to help a fallen stranger when she is brutally stoned to death mere moments after doing so. Karmatic comeuppance* is my jam, yo, and toss in the somewhat Biblical twofer that Gladys a.k.a Cathy Geiss from 30 Rock met her demise via a good old fashioned stoning, and you’d typically have my bell ringing louder than a morbidly obese opsophagos at a Long John Silvers (Author’s note: Dennis Miller has been crashing at my place all week and sometimes hijacks my computer. I am sorry.).

Rather than fill me with the sardonic joy of Daria on a two-day pleasure cruise through Transylvania (God damn you, Dennis!), however, last night’s opening sequence somehow made me, an emotionless drone of a human that the Guilty Remnant would probably aspire to be, feel something. I don’t know if it was guilt or sorrow or plain anger, but it was something and I honestly resent The Leftovers for making me feel it.

Gladys’ untimely death, horrific as it may have been, was arguably the high point of the season in terms of levity for HBO’s The Leftovers, a show so goddamn dark and depressing that I often find myself wandering through a Hot Topic in search for a pick-me-up in the days after watching it. At the center of all this gloom and doom lies Sheriff Kevin Garvey, who in addition to dealing with an awol wife and a rebellious daughter ripped straight out of a sitcom starring Charlie Sheen, now has to deal with uproarious/murderous townsfolk, secretive “Feds” attempting to eliminate the GR entirely, and either incompetent or plain deceitful dry cleaners.

Even his name sounds depressing. Garvey. As in “Garvey, go fish that dead baby out of the river, will you?”

Beyond our initial reaction/revulsion, the mystery over who killed Gladys Geiss should serve as a compelling turn of events, I suppose. Except that, as Liv Tyler‘s character stated after discovering her body, it was only “a matter of time” before one of the cultists wound up dead. The Guilty Remnant has given us less than zero reasons to care about whether its members live or die, and even less insight into what exactly the cult’s endgame is. Other than “to feel nothing”, which I assume is a classic Lindelofian nod to the masochists like myself who actually watch this show. In either case, watching Gladys’ body engulfed by flames at the episode’s end did not register nearly as much as it probably should have. Bitch be dead. Nothing to see here, folks.

Actually, given the GR’s “feel nothing” agenda, it would be no stretch of the imagination to declare that Gladys was just as likely killed by some of her fellow GR members than by the angered townsfolk whose family photos the GR stole in last week’s episode. Pattis interaction with Gladys in the opening scene of the episode, in addition to her well-documented pattern of underhandedness, only reinforce this theory.

But back to Sheriff Garvey: Retriever of Waterlogged Dead Children. You see, ol’ Garvey is hoping that the people of Mapleton don’t declare an open season on the members of the GR, with his wife/soon to be ex-wife being one of them and all, so he tries to impose a curfew, to which the townspeople declare a unanimous “But, ‘Merica!” and overrule him. This upsets Kevin, who has himself fallen into such a deep depression that he completely forgets what to do when a pretty lady (Carrie Coon/”Nora Durst”) is obviously flirting with him at the dry cleaners. Or when his daughter’s pretty friend (Emily Meade/”Aimee”) entices him with the promises of pancakes in her smallest nighty.

Kevin’s game is undeniably weak, ye, which might be why his wife left him in the first place. Too soon? That was probably too soon.

Here’s my problem with The Leftovers, a show I have until now attempted to recap with 100% earnesty and seriousness: I don’t see how all the pieces are coming together, or more importantly, why they are. As with Lost, a show that will forever be used as a barometer for Lindelof’s works to come after it, I don’t know whether to place any emotional or intellectual investment in things like the ambiguity of the GR’s cause, or the absence of Kevin’s shirts, or the significance of Kevin’s repeated “Stop Short” moments in his car**, or just write them off as another Lindelofian thing that will be hinted at repeatedly but never actually resolved. My masochism has its limits, and Lindelof has pushed me beyond them before only to punish me for my loyalty. I should probably be praising his sadism, now that I think about it.

And just like with Lost, The Leftovers is too busy creating new mysteries to even attempt and resolve the old ones that have been compelling the narrative thus far. Old ones like: What is driving Liv Tyler’s character? Why are the GR members allowed to take “a day off?” Who is Dean the Dog Killer, and what is his place within Mapleton? How can Laurie be so empathetic one moment and unfeeling the next? How many times must we see Kevin violently jarred from his sleep to understand that he is not sleeping well? I call this American Horror Story Syndrome, and after a certain point, no amount of “Oh Shit!” moments can possibly do the buildup justice.

If this is all sounding incredibly cynical, it’s only because that’s precisely the mood that The Leftovers seems to want to extract from its audience (“We *are* the 99% Guilty Remnant!”). But as with every episode of the show thus far, “Gladys” was not without its fair share of well-captured moments. From Reverend Matt’s story about wanting to “bring the GR back to life” to the heartbreaking moment between Kevin and his daughter, there’s no denying The Leftovers ability to captivate when it needs to. If everything else about the show wasn’t wrapped in such obvious allegory and simultaneously confounding plotting, it’d be much a less tasking viewing experience.

By episode’s end, Laurie, Kevin, and the audience have been put through the emotional ringer. The former resisted the temptation to give into useless “emotion” and likely propelled herself into Gladys’ no. 2 position with the Guilt Remnant for doing so (no idea if she was actually involved in Gladys’ death, though). The latter has finally accepted that his wife is never coming back, and likely stole a bunch of people’s shirts because he is an occasionally (often) drunk asshole.

And yet, I am still intrigued. And yet, out of some diluted sense of loyalty, I still want to know what will happen to this group of mostly unsympathetic a-holes. Once again, I must give daps to The Leftovers for making me care whose particular a-hole it is and why it’s farting (to loosely borrow a phrase from a much smarter man than myself), despite their blatant insistence that I shouldn’t. It breeds the kind of masochistic viewing tendencies that I thought only reality television could.

*New band name, called it. 

**For those keeping track, those have happened as Kevin was saying “God Damn it!” and “funeral” so far. 

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Kevin Smith’s “Tusk” Trailer Gives Us Justin Long With a Pedostache, Haley Joel Osment, and a Human Walruspede Mon, 28 Jul 2014 17:24:33 +0000 Jared Jones "A man is captured by a maniac and tortured, physically and mentally, into becoming a walrus." If that doesn't scream BOX OFFICE GOLD, then everything I know about the current state of cinema is absolutely correct.

The post Kevin Smith’s “Tusk” Trailer Gives Us Justin Long With a Pedostache, Haley Joel Osment, and a Human Walruspede appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

Upon retiring from Hollywood last year, Kevin Smith vowed that his days of directing throwaway efforts like Cop Out and Jersey Girl were gone for good. “I’m only ever gonna make a flick that only I would/could ever make,” said Smith, presumably before launching into his epic Superman Lives story for the umpteenth time and/or eating a burrito. His first “Post-Empire” effort (as Bret Easton Ellis might dub it) resulted in Red State, a scatterbrained horror/thriller that was a critical and commercial failure in almost every regard, but a firm kick in the balls of “the man” nonetheless.

At Comic-Con over the weekend, Smith released a trailer for his next independent effort, Tusk, which true to his word, is a movie that only he or maybe Tom Six could make. Why? Because Tusk is essentially The Human Centipede meets “I Am the Walrus,” starring Justin Long with a pedostache and Haley Joel f*cking Osment. The plot is as follows:

 A man is captured by a maniac and tortured, physically and mentally, into becoming a walrus.

If that doesn’t scream “BOX OFFICE GOLD”, then everything I know about the current state of cinema is absolutely correct.

I’ll be honest, though, this trailer contains just the right amount of “What the Fuck?” to intrigue me, despite the fact that it’s operating under the belief that a podcast journalist with a pedostache can pull in trim like Genesis Rodriguez. Plus, the trailer had me at “Michael Parks as a creepy old Canadian.”

“What do you mean we’re out of Kraft dinner?!”

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I’m Your Huckleberry: Five of the Greatest Movie Faceoffs of All Time Tue, 22 Jul 2014 21:47:39 +0000 Jared Jones The faceoff sets the tone for the violence that is about to occur. It builds tension, anticipation, and whips our unquenchable bloodlust into a frenzy. Here are five great ones.

The post I’m Your Huckleberry: Five of the Greatest Movie Faceoffs of All Time appeared first on Screen Junkies.


By Jared Jones

Over at CagePotato, I write about all things mixed martial arts (MMA)-related — fight bookings, event recaps, and the occasional head-to-head fighter breakdown — all while making sure to include as many fart jokes as possible. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned that MMA fans love in my time at CP, it’s a good old fashioned faceoff, a staredown, or whichever term you prefer.

For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, maybe step outside every once in a while, but also know that a faceoff is what you get when you place when two opposing forces in each others comfort zones while expecting them to remain completely civil, usually in the interest of selling more pay-per-views. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it does not. This is the best staredown of all time. This is the worst one.

The faceoff is one of the more cinematic elements to be adopted by mixed martial arts, boxing, etc. It sets the tone for the violence that is about to occur. It builds tension, anticipation, and whips our unquenchable bloodlust into a frenzy. Faceoffs are truly the calm before the storm, whether in movies or martial arts, and it is with that notion that we look back at some of the greatest faceoffs in film history, ranked in no particular order.

Jules vs. “Pumpkin”/”Ringo” — Pulp Fiction

If you thought I would make it more than two entries into this list without mentioning Samuel L. Jackson, you are one dead wrong motherf*cker, motherf*cker.

You see, even when I attempt to evoke the intimidating presence of sir Jackson’s voice in writing, it still comes out sounding like it’s being spoken by the scrawny-legged, pimple-popping dweeb that I was from ages 9-13 and also 13-present. That’s just the kind of gravitas Jackson speaks with, and it was his closing monologue as contract killer Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction that really boosted Jackson’s bad motherf*cker cred to a level unattainable by most mortals. Even now, when he’s dressing like an old, female librarian in those Capital One commercials, I still have no doubts that Samuel L. could find out what’s in my wallet through sheer force in under 30 seconds flat.

Quoting Ezekiel 25:17, Jules manages to pull off the rare feat of comparing oneself to God and sounding 100% believable in this scene. And like a true badass, he doesn’t even need to fire a shot to get his point across. For although Jules may be brandishing 9 mm, it is his word bullets that do all the damage here.

I apologize for all that confusing writer-speak I used just then, but let’s move on.

Rocky vs. Thunderlips — Rocky 3

Speaking of the Bible, Rocky Balboa vs. Thunderlips: The Ultimate Male is about as accurate a David vs. Goliath story as we will ever see out of Hollywood. Standing at approximately 4’3″, Balboa literally did not possess the physical mass to register as a blip on Thunderlips’ radar. That he had been beaten into a state of semi-retardation by the third Rocky film did not aid him in his fight with Thunderlips, as you can tell by their derp-filled pre-fight faceoff.

Of course, cooler (softer?) heads once again prevail in the Rocky franchise, as Balboa manages to take down his massive opponent using nothing more than his fists, a chair, and the help of a dozen or so security guards. Just like his Dad raised him.

Batman vs. The Joker — The Dark Knight

CALM DOWN NERDS. I’m only including this so I don’t have to deal with all the “But what about my pwecious Dawk Knoight?” comments that would follow its omission.

In the second chapter of a dark, gritty story about a man who wears a cape with the honest-to-God intention of scaring people, Batman faces off against his greatest rival ever: a man in clown makeup dressed like a rejected gang member from The Warriors. Super-serious stuff that we should take super-seriously follows, including this scene where Christian Bale needs a lozenge and mercilessly beats Heath Ledger for not giving him one.

Honestly, I can’t look at or listen to Bale’s Batman anymore after seeing Pete Holmes do it way better.

Doc Holliday vs. Johnny Ringo — Tombstone

The art of the staredown was practically, if not literally invented by the Western. There are over 3,000 staredowns to choose from between the films of John Wayne and Clint Eastwood alone, but for me, it always comes back to the OK Corral. While the 1957 original starring Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster is undoubtedly a classic, my favorite faceoff comes in 1993′s Tombstone, and more specifically, the “I’m your Huckleberry” scene pitting Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday against Michael Bein’s Johnny Ringo.

To say that Val Kilmer absolutely slays it in this movie would do his performance no justice. Thankfully, Holliday hands out enough justice in Tombstone for the both of us, and usually in the form of a bullet between the eyes before a breakfast consisting of whiskey and a good blood cough.

Two films later, Kilmer would don Batman’s cape in 1995′s Batman Forever. His career would never recover. I’m just saying, Duster > Cape.

Lt. Vincent Hanna vs. Neil McCauley — Heat

While not a “faceoff” in the traditional sense, the diner scene between Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) and Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) in Michael Mann‘s Heat is one of those “defining moments of cinema” that you always hear critics talking about while sniffing their own farts. It’s a meeting of two powerhouse actors at the peak of their relevance. It’s one of the greatest movies of its decade. It’s Godfather vs. Godfather for Christ’s sake!

There are so many quotable lines from this exchange, but my personal favorite has to be:

Hanna: “So you never wanted a regular-type life, eh?”

McCauley: “What the fuck is that, barbeques and ball games?”

Hanna: “Yeah.”

That is some Samuel Beckett-level existentialism right there, and one of the many reasons why we will forever be in debt to Heat for bringing together two acting greats for one memorable faceoff.

You can list your personal favorite faceoffs in the comments section if you’d like. I will consider considering them. 

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The Leftovers Recap, Episode 4: “B.J. and the A.C.” Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:34:43 +0000 Jared Jones Heavy-handed metaphors were ripe for the picking in last night's Christmas-themed episode of The Leftovers that was anything but Christmasy.

The post The Leftovers Recap, Episode 4: “B.J. and the A.C.” appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

Heavy-handed metaphors were ripe for the picking in last night’s Christmas-themed episode of The Leftovers, “B.J. and the A.C.” From the opening sequence, which depicted the manufacturing process of a doll that would eventually serve as the baby Jesus in Mapleton’s nativity scene, to the obvious treatment of Tommy’s role as the Joseph to Christine’s Mary Magdalene, the episode was rote with Biblical references that were anything but subtle.

This observation is not necessarily meant as a criticism, as last week’s excellent episode, “Two Boats and a Helicopter”, played very closely to the book of Job. It’s just that last night’s episode of The Leftovers didn’t allow you to search for allegory or hidden context as much as it beat you over the head with it like an eighth grader’s Animal Farm book report.

But first, a little backtracking. This week’s storyline focused once again on Mapleton’s manically depressed town sheriff, Kevin, his family, and the members of the Guilty Remnant (not that “family” is a concept that the GR believes in anymore). You see, some three years removed from the event that saw 2% of the world’s population disappear, Kevin’s daughter, Jill, is still venting as only teens written by adults for television shows can. She’s distant, angsty, and should probably focus her energy into writing a blues album called “I’m a Poor Little Sad Sack.” And because Jill’s such a poor little sad sack, she goes out of her way to make her father’s working life all the shittier by stealing the Baby Jesus (the “B.J” from the episode’s title, presumably) from the nativity scene, which he immediately calls her out for doing.

Jill’s not all mischief and black eyeliner, though, as we learn when she refuses to set the baby Jesus aflame (largely at her friend Aimee’s behest) and more significantly, when she gives her mother, Laurie (who joined the Guilty Remnant shortly after the event), a lighter engraved “Don’t Forget Me” as a Christmas gift. It is a truly heartbreaking scene that is heightened all the more by the fact that Laurie had shown up to serve Kevin divorce papers just moments earlier.

Laurie’s decision to throw the lighter down a gutter afterward was foreseeable, as was her decision to fish it out of said gutter at the episode’s end. For a character who hasn’t spoken a word thus far in the show, Amy Brenneman has perhaps developed the most fully realized character of them all. While we still don’t know her exact reasons for joining the Guilty Remnant, we are beginning to see her conviction melt away with each passing episode. Leaving her family behind was not a clean break, as one would expect, and the dissonance the decision has created within her has made for some brilliant (and more importantly, subtle) moments in the show thus far.

Outside of Mapleton, Kevin’s son Tommy (or half-son, as we later learn that Tommy was a child from Laurie’s previous marriage)  is forging ahead with his quest to protect Christine, the woman carrying the child of guru Holy Wayne (the Antichrist/A.C. perhaps?). Having killed a SWAT team member in episode two and fought off a crazed naked man early in this week’s episode, his faith in Holy Wayne is beginning to falter. He hasn’t heard from the supposed prophet in weeks, and has next to no idea what part Christine and her baby play in the grand scheme of things. “I want to go home,” as he states aloud to himself, before an all-too convenient phone call from Wayne puts his doubts to rest.

Again, the metaphors are a bit hamfisted in Tommy’s plot. There is a brilliant moment in which he and Christine come across an overturned truck of mass-produced corpses, mirroring the doll production from earlier in the episode, but everything else from his story all but screams “Message!” as it is occurring. Tommy is a fiercely dedicated follower of a prophet who has been deemed the protector of a pregnant woman he is not intimately involved with, who by episode’s end, is both barefoot and marked with a stigmata of sorts that will make him invisible to the people trying to find him and Christine. Who, oh who, could he be serving as a metaphor for?

Though not without its high moments, the problem with “B.J. and the A.C” overall was its distinct lack of actual stakes. In a world where cults are amassing faster than loved ones are disappearing, the emphasis on a missing doll seems a bit underwhelming, blatant metaphor aside. It wasn’t an entirely pointless plot, as it led to a fantastic exchange between Kevin and Nora Durst, the sister of pastor Matt Jamison and the only member of Mapleton to her lose her entire family in the event, but one that offered very little in terms of resolution and necessity this early in the show.

The lack of resolution, or even a basic understanding of motive, can also be applied to the members of the Guilty Remnant. The final moments of “B.J. and the A.C.” sees Patti and a few of her followers arrested by Kevin as part of a ploy to allow other members of the GR to sneak into the homes of the townsfolk and steal all their family photos, but for what purpose? Obviously, the short-term goal is to “help” these people move on and continue spreading the GR’s message that “life is pointless, so just give up.” But beyond that, it is still hard to tell what the Guilty Remnant’s endgame is, or what they want the townspeople to do.

My guess: Die….

The post The Leftovers Recap, Episode 4: “B.J. and the A.C.” appeared first on Screen Junkies.

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Seth MacFarlane is Being Sued for Stealing the Idea of a Potty-Mouthed Teddy Bear Wed, 16 Jul 2014 23:58:54 +0000 Jared Jones No word yet whether or not the creators of Greg the Bunny will turn this into a threeway sue-off.

The post Seth MacFarlane is Being Sued for Stealing the Idea of a Potty-Mouthed Teddy Bear appeared first on Screen Junkies.

In news that will likely fill a lot of you with joy, Seth MacFarlane is being sued. In news that will bring you right back down to earth, there is no way in Hell that the lawsuit will stick.

That’s because the copyright infringement suit, filed by California production house Bengal Mangle Productions, alleges that the idea of a potty-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for prostitutes depicted in MacFarlane’s 2012 smash-hit was actually a blatant ripoff of “Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear,” a character from a web series of the same name as well as the web series Acting School Academy. You can read the whole suit here, if you have that kind of time. If not, Deadline has the details:

“Both Charlie and Ted reside in a substantially similar environment, including that both Charlie and Ted spend a significant amount of time sitting on a living room couch with a beer and/or cigarette in hand,” the suit claims. “Charlie and Ted each have a substantially similar persona, verbal tone, verbal delivery, dialogue, and attitude.”

Additionally, the suit alleges that whoever is running Ted’s Twitter account is also stealing jokes from Charlie’s Twitter, listing several absolutely pathetic examples:

Charlie 2009 Twitter post: “What the f**k is Twitter?”

Ted 2012 Twitter post: “Hello, Twitter. Kindly go fuck yourself.”

Charlie 2009 Twitter post: “I like Fox News. They’ve made s**t talking an art form.”

Ted 2012 Twitter post: “I like Game of Thrones for tits and blood and Fox News for laughs.”

Charlie 2009 Twitter post: “I don’t like cocaine. I just like the smell of it.”

Ted 2012 Twitter post: “Just acid, and coke, and Ex, and DMT. That’s where I draw the lines.”

MacFarlane, Fuzzy Door Productions, Universal Studios, and whoever else is named in this lawsuit will, of course, crush it like the shit-grubbing bug it is. That, or the creators of Greg the Bunny will get involved and turn this into a threeway sue-off. Honestly, I say they place the rights to a concept as clearly original and brilliant as a talking teddy bear in a briefcase, hang it from the rafters, and have MacFarlane and whoever the f*ck created Charlie the Abusive Teddy Bear compete in a ladder match for it. Then have Alf waterboard the winner to death.

Here’s a clip of Charlie in action, if you still aren’t sold on how much of a stretch this transparent attempt at a cash grab is.

Meanwhile, filming for Ted 2 begins next Monday in Boston, uninterrupted. Chalk up another one for the deep pockets of Hollywood.

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Conan O’Brien Is Headed For the Big Screen (Sort Of) In Syfy’s ‘Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda’ Tue, 15 Jul 2014 18:20:33 +0000 Jared Jones Whether it's Piranhacondas, Gatoroids, or Mansquitos, the Syfy channel has become the foremost creator of poorly-rendered monstrosities. Conan will fit right in.

The post Conan O’Brien Is Headed For the Big Screen (Sort Of) In Syfy’s ‘Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda’ appeared first on Screen Junkies.

By Jared Jones

What the Syfy channel’s line of original films may lack in competent acting, direction, writing, visual effects, lighting, sound, and craft services, they more than make up for in their ability to combine two giant creatures into one giant hybrid creature and have that giant hybrid creature fight another giant hybrid creature for our entertainment. Whether it’s Piranhacondas, Gatoroids, or Mansquitos, the Syfy channel has become the foremost creator of hybrid, poorly-rendered monstrosities — most notable among them being the Sharktopus, which was birthed unto this earth back in 2011 only to vanquished via brain bombs by noted thespian Eric Roberts shortly thereafter, Amen.

Regardless of the Sharktopus’ fate (or the film’s abysmal reception even among Syfy movies), the Syfy channel has announced plans to release *two* sequels featuring the half-shark half-octopus this year, starting with Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda. Given how much attention Syfy has received for Sharknado and its upcoming sequel, Sharknado 2: The Second One, it was only a matter of time before they started pulling in celebrities of a higher caliber than Jared the Subway Guy and Mark McGrath, right?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…

Yes, this is a real poster. In fact, it is one which Conan O’Brien actually had plastered on a Hollywood billboard to hype his upcoming cameo in Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda, which he announced on his show last night. It’s so goddamn glorious I think I might cry.

A quick look over O’Briens Wikipedia page reveals that he has never appeared in a live-action movie where he didn’t play himself. While it’s not known whether Conan will be donning an actual role in Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda or simply showing up to be eaten by one of the creatures, Joey Fatone in Jersey Shore Shark Attack-style, you can pretty much guarantee that this movie will go down as the most watched Syfy original film in the channel’s history thanks to the fierce dedication of #TeamCoco.

One can only hope that Sharktopus vs. Mermantula is able to pull a twofer and bring in both O’Brien and Chuck Norris as Walker, Texas Ranger.

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