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Posts Tagged ‘The Jerk’

Come on over and see me at Faith and Family today (for real this time!), where I have a short interview with a young, gay, faithful Catholic man.  You’ll like him — he’s so clean and articulate!  But something tells me Joe Biden would not be impressed.

And hello and welcome to Faith and Family and Creative Minority Report readers.  Stick around for tomorrow, when we will  . . . okay, I have no idea what we will be doing tomorrow.  The Jerk, who usually reviews movies on Thursdays, is taking a few days off.  I think he found himself singing along with Pat Benetar during the big climax in The Legend of Billy Jean,

and is going on a retreat to reassess his life goals.   But he will be back!

Vaya con Dios, The Jerk.

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So far this week, I’ve talked about cute shoes, not-cute shoes, Burl Ives, Raffi, and photogenic lichen.  Time for a palate cleanser, don’t you think?  And so, with some well-justified trepidation, we welcome back . . .

Hi, I’m The Jerk. It’s awful nice of Simcha to let me back here after last week. Things got a little carried away. I said some things that maybe I shouldn’t have. You all said some things maybe you shouldn’t have. The way some of you got worked up, you’d think I wrote about modesty.

Since the resounding success of Tango & Cash, I found it really hard to get into this week’s feature, The Lost Boys. Witnessing Stallone and Russell awesome it up for an hour and 30 minutes  (OK, I kind of lost track of time after Russell first used his boot gun), my life has been changed. No movie will ever be that good.

Not even "Over The Top"?

But you folks asked for a review of The Lost Boys, and that’s what I promised. Though not in so many words. It was more of an implied promise that would be impossible for you to prove in court. I’M NOT ON TRIAL HERE!

The Lost Boys

There are really two movies called The Lost Boys. There’s the funny and scary horror movie with a hip soundtrack and clever dialogue that everyone remembers from the not-at-all dated period of 1987.  And then there is the movie that actually plays when you put the DVD in the machine. The one with this guy:

Make mine extra greasy!

For those of you in the know, by whom I mean older men with a horn fetish, this is Timmy Cappello, a successful body builder, musician, and the lynch pin for the whole damn movie.  Michael (played by Jason Patric, who makes Keanu Reeves look like a bit of a better actor than Keanu Reeves– maybe that guy who played Horshack) and Sam (played by Corey Haim, who makes Horshack look like Jason Patric) go to Timmy’s concert. Watch this clip. It’s all there. Michael’s first glimpse of Starr (Jamie Gertz in full Jamie Gertz mode); Sam’s attempts to keep his brother’s eyes on the greasy muscle man, and away from the possibility of a heterosexual entanglement; the extras “head banging” to the “rocking” saxophone from “Timmy.” It’s all there.

This scene should be your second clue that the movie you remember fondly is, well, crap. Big time. First clue? It was produced by Richard Donner. This is the  guy who got his start directing Gilligan’s Island and never really progressed. How seriously can you take a guy whose life as an artist began with him shouting “No, no, no, the Skipper needs to hit Gilligan harder!” Or, “More coconuts!”

Next up? How about this guy:

This shirt makes Elton John cringe.

The outrageous clothes, the shop-till-you-drop Valley Girl attitude, even the way the other characters in the movie react to him all pretty much spell out that this is a kid who really liked the volleyball scene in Top Gun.

This is the poster on his closet door.

More proof? How about the bath scene. Only girls get bath scenes. Period. Think Janet Leigh. Now stop thinking Janet Leigh, you pervs.

So, is Corey Haim’s character an early pioneer for gay pride?

Or is it just that an earlier draft of the script had the Sam character as Michael’s little sister? At some point in development, probably between the fifth and sixth eight balls, the producers decided they would go with Corey Haim–but no one bothered to do a re-write.  Haim, being a pro, ran with the part.

"Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo"

Or, it was directed by Joel Schumacher.

I directed him too!! Yum!!

Could Schumacher be the sole reason for this movie’s oddness?

Sadly, no. Look at the casting: Keifer Sutherland as a vampire?

He looks like one of those illegal roofers.

I had no idea vampires could be so … potato faced. You know why I had no idea? Because they can’t. Vampires are evil and menacing. Pasty doesn’t cut it.

Then there are the Lost Boys themselves. They dress like escapees from a Duran Duran video. I would say they are all nondescript, but they had to cast Alex Winters. Yeah, from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. We all like him, right?

He was either Bill, or Ted.

Hey, you know, there something about his face …

Ooh-ooh-ooooh!

Then we have two real actors, Diane Wiest and Edward Hermann, slumming it. Wiest won an Oscar shortly before this for Hannah And Her Sisters. While that is a revolting movie, she is really good in it.

Hermann is best known for playing Goldie Hawn’s husband in Overboard, a romantic comedy featuring Kurt Russell. That was just a revolting movie.

Finally, we have Barnard Hughes playing Grandpa. His character is a curmudgeonly taxidermist who knows more about the vampires than he lets on. Hughes, of course, played the curmudgeonly taxidermist named Grandpa in East of Eden with James Dean. He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Grandpa, a curmudgeonly taxidermist, in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. And he got his start in theater playing Grandpa in Olivier’s Hamlet, Prince of Danish Curmudgeonly Taxidermists.

Is this a badger I see before me?

Oh, I almost forgot the Frog Brothers. Corey Feldman and Jamison Newlander are honestly the best part of the whole movie. The comic book store clerks / vampire killers provide the only humor in the movie.

Newlander and Feldman fight for the phone. It might be their agent calling. It never is.

I know Feldman made a sequel, but Newlander wasn’t in it, so I refuse to watch.

Well, the librarians are getting that look like they might call the FBI on me, again, so I better wrap this up. Stupid Patriot Act.

Angela Lansbury sends her regards, jerk!

For a parental warning, I don’t know what to tell you. This is an R-rated horror comedy. This movie isn’t really that funny. Not particularly scary. There is some gore. Gertz and Patric do have a “love” scene, but it is about as convincing as Tom Cruise in Interview with a Vampire.

Good thing we're straight.

Next week’s movie will be decided by another poll. I am going to leave the poll up through Friday at midnight. Here are your choices: Last week’s runner-up, The Legend of Billie Jean, Helen Slater’s magnum opus; The Omega Man, Charlton Heston’s quick pay-day; or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a movie that is fine example of our collective guilt.

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Greatest Movie Ever

(Note:  The Jerk swears a lot.  What do you want?  He’s The Jerk.  Tomorrow, the blog will be heartwarming again.  –Simcha)

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I’ve been bumped!

Here’s the deal: Tuesdays seem to be prime blog viewing days (what do you ladies do with your weeks?) and every time I post a movie review, Simcha loses at least one subscriber. OK, four.

Now, I could get all angried up about getting moved, but I get paid the same amount no matter when this thing runs. Also, now I don’t have to be that careful with what I write anymore. (That was a warning for the squeamish.)

Onto the movie!

Tango & Cash

Embrace the Awesome!

Holy shit! This is the most awesome fucking movie ever made! Fuck you, Orson Welles, Citizen Kane is nowhere near as awesome as one half of a drop of sweat coming off of Stallone during any one of his sweaty, sweaty scenes. I don’t really know what that means.

OK, OK, OK, OK, so Tango (Sylvester Stallone) is this rich guy, who is one of L.A.’s best narcotics cops, and Cash (Kurt Russell) is this slobby, scruffy guy who is also one of L.A.’s best narcotics cops, AND, get this, they don’t like each other! Did you even see that coming? I know, right, totally unexpected, then, the super bad guy no one knows about (Jack Palance playing some guy whose name I forget) totally frames Tango AND Cash for a murder … THAT THEY DIDN’T EVEN DO! Oh, man, then, they have to escape from prison, and their captain can only give them 24 hours to clear their names, and Cash meets Tango’s little sister (Terri Hatcher) who is like some stripper, except she keeps her clothes on and plays the drums during her dance,  and Cash really likes her, and Tango totally doesn’t like that, but she’s like “I can do what I want,” and Cash is totally into her, and then they track down all the guys who frame them, and it leads to Jack Palance, who is always in his super secret lair kissing rats, and they go to the guy who made boot guns for Cash and he gives them this totally sweet truck with like machine guns on it, but he’s like “I need that back,” and Tango and Cash are like “We won’t scratch it,“ and they use it to find the super secret lair and the truck gets SQUISHED by some really big things, and then Jack Palance pushes the self destruct button, right? I know. And Tango and Cash chase him to his hall of mirrors (just like Enter The Dragon!) and Jack Palance has Tango’s sister, but Tango and Cash totally save her and kill Jack Palance just in time to run out of the super secret lair before it EXPLODES!!! OK, OK, OK, OK, whew.

Totally. Fucking. Awesome.

As you may have guessed, I kind of like this movie, a lot. Perhaps this hampers my ability to provide a critique, but I don’t care.

Let’s start with Sylvester Stallone.

Yo

Most people know he got his start with Rocky, but they forget he wrote that movie. Yeah, I know, this guy is not actually illiterate. Watch Rocky again, it is a bittersweet drama with a ton of gritty heart. That guy went on the be Tango.

Who says cocaine and steroids are bad for you?

Kurt Russell is the ultimate utility infielder of movies. This guy started acting as a kid, doing real solid work his whole life, but never being in the truly big pictures. Got a modest budget action movie but  you can’t afford Harrison Ford, or Tom Cruise, or John Saxon? You go get Kurt Russell. Not only will he be a decent leading man, he’ll do whatever carpentry you need done on the set.

Did I forget to mention he's in the union?

The other thing you have to kind of like about Kurt Russell is he is one of the few actors out there you seems like a semi-decent human. He’s been with Goldie Hawn forever. They have bunch of kids and they seem like nice people. So what if she’s transgendered.

I shtupped Angela Lansbury.

Jack Palance is a genuine Icon. Shane, and, um, Shane. Crap. I thought this guy made better movies than he really did. I know he won an Oscar for City Slickers, but that was one of those, “We feel bad you’re gonna die soon,” awards.

I also starred as Mr. Kitch in The Secrets of a Sensuous Nurse.

In any normal movie, the scene where Jack Palance starts kissing the two rats he has named Tango and Cash would be the biggest WTF moment of the whole enterprise. Not this movie. Not by a long shot.

OK, so the director, Andrey Konchalovski, co-wrote Andrei Rublev. That’s something. Right? It shows this is a man with real, lasting talent, despite whatever duds he might has made in a long career. Right?

Oh. I see.

Well, then there’s Terri Hatcher. Who am I kidding. This is a woman who can’t hold her own acting in a scene with Sylvester Stallone. She probably took her clothes off for money in real life, yet look how unconvincing she is as a drumming stripper.

Probably because in this movie, she kept her dignity, as it were, by keeping her top on. That must have been a new experience for Terri. Speaking of dignity, check out Russell in drag.

Wait a damn minute! Has anyone ever seen Kurt and Goldie in the same place at the same time?

The guy’s a pro, like I said. The script calls for him to get up in drag, he’s gonna do it, and be at least twice as convincing as Terri Hatcher!

OK, so the parental warning: If you like this kind of thing, maybe you should not ever become a parent. We’ve got bad language, lotsa violence, some random boobs, and Sly and Kurt doing a prison shower scene.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is how you get Andrew Sullivan to read your blog.

So, that’s Tango & Cash. No one will be able to top it. Ever. Unless they make a sequel. I’m gonna start on my spec screenplay tonight. Tango & Cash & The Jerk!

Next week, if Simcha hasn’t broken my fingers, I will review one of the following movies: Man With the Golden Gun, which features Christopher Lee’s third nipple; The Lost Boys, a fabulous vampire movie featuring nothing gay whatsoever; or The Legend of Billie Jean, featuring Helen Slater’s, um, shall we say, assets.

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Enter, The Dragon?

Well, looks like I haven’t been fired yet, so here goes with this week’s thrilling adventure.

Before I start, I’d like to thank all of the readers who sent in suggestions for future reviews, both of you. Once I can track down those titles, Troll 2 and The Island of Dr. Moreau, for $5 or less, I will put them on the list. (Hey Paula, your package is being delivered.)

I also want to thank Simcha for giving me the space for this nonsense. Yes, I do have incriminating pictures of her, for those of you wondering why she puts up with me. (I told her it was for my sketching class!)

Enter The Dragon

Tragedy surrounds this 1973 release. No, I’m not talking about Bruce Lee’s untimely death shortly after it was completed. This was to be his first big American picture, one that would catapult him to super-stardom. He was gonna be bigger than those guys from Shanana!

Bowser-Fu

Nor I am talking about John Saxon’s career, which also died shortly after this movie was completed. He went from being the next Armand Assante to being the next, um, John Saxon. In no time, he was playing a vampire on Starsky and Hutch. Though, he did get to be in a two-part Hardcastle and McCormick.

To Agnes, sorry about the herpes! Ron Mexico

Yes, I’m talking about Yang Sze’s perfomance as Bolo, the big, muscular villain who menaces our heros on Mr. Han’s island. This could have been one of the great villains of all time, or at least of Bruce Lee movies featuring John Saxon and Jim Kelly. But the film makers blew it. Does Jim Kelly looked scared to you?

Hmm, this might be the wrong guy.

Bolo should have been a heck of a lot scarier. Bolo should be right up there with Jaws, from the crappy Roger Moore Era of James Bond movies, or Bobba Fett. You know, cool bad asses who can kill indiscriminately. Instead, he’s just the big oaf John Saxon kills. Oh, yeah, um, spoiler. The film makers didn‘t give Bolo the humanity he needed to take his place along side the greatest galoots of all time. Check out this clip, from the master. (Seriously, go here. Now. Watch it all. It’s like 3 minutes. It’s not going to ruin your day. What, you don’t have time? You need to get something done? Maybe the baby needs a change? You’re here. Until you change out of your pajamas, you have the time.)

I would like to propose we create a personality profile for Bolo.

Likes:

Mimosas, petting puppies, Kathryn Jean Lopez.

Dislikes:
Mean people, Mondays, Hardcastle and McCormick.

Onto the plot!

So the movie comes with a pretty interesting title. I have never been able to figure out what it means. Are we, the audience being asked to enter the dragon? Does it mean the dragon is entering the movie? Is it a stage direction that accidentally got typed on the front of the script?

The movie centers on the martial arts tournament hosted by the evil Mr. Han. You can tell he’s evil just by his Nixon hairdo.

John Dean was always a punk.

He invites martial artists from all over the world to the event, which is held on his island of mystery.  They make opium there, and keep women as slaves for the sex trade, oh, and they run a nice bed and breakfast. The Sunday Brunch is lovely.

Bolo warms each and every bed.

This movie has not one, but three martial arts action heros. Kind of like The Magnificent Seven, but minus four dudes, and pretty much anything good from that movie, actually.

Bruce Lee, is, well, Bruce Lee. The Dragon! He’s recruited by the British government to go to the tournament and help bring down Mr. Han, as explained in this scene that makes little sense. The exposition starts at 54 seconds, but feel free to drink in some of that Lalo Schifrin score first.

Of course, our Bruce has more personal reasons to go to the island. His sister, (I think, though the relationship is not that clear from the script,) was once chased and almost raped by one of Han’s goons. A big bearded guy with an Irish name, who is also some martial arts expert, cornered her in a warehouse. She defends her honor by killing herself.  (Don’t worry, Bruce Lee gets his revenge at the end of the movie. Oh, damn. That was a spoiler too. Sorry.)

I hate to say it, but Bruce’s sister, or whatever, could have totally avoided this whole scenario if she listened to a concerned friend.

If you go out dressed like that you are going to get raped by a pack of Ninjas!

Then there is Saxon as Roper, a professional gambler, down on his luck. As you can see from this fight scene, Saxon has less business being in a martial arts movie than I have writing about one.

I would like to draw your attention to Roper’s outfit. The too tight turtleneck, the pressed slacks, the comb over; this is pretty much how I dressed through to the fourth grade. The only thing missing are the husky sizes.

Our third hero is Jim Kelly as the black guy. Williams, I think. He knows Roper from ‘Nam! He bangs prostitutes five at a time! He has the world’s greatest ‘fro! Aww, who cares. Just check out his flashback sequence and see if you can spot Morgan Freeman.

Kelly, like Lee, actually knows actual martial arts and went on to make more actual martial arts movies. Saxon went on to not getting parts on Murder She Wrote.

I schtupped Angela Lansbury!

Once they get on the island, all sorts of crazy stuff happens. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, but Bruce Lee kills Han in the hall of mirrors.

Crap! I did it again. I’m never gonna get the hang of this. I might as well quit now.

Oh, so a warning for the prudes in the reading audience, there is some mild violence, gore, some not so mild violence, some topless ladiness, and Saxon does take his shirt off.

I’m gonna give you all the choice for the next movie. I will either review Tango and Cash, a movie starring Kurt Stallone and Sylvester Russell. That’s right, they made a movie together and the world did not explode in an orgasm of awesome. Or, Thunderball, the most inexplicable James Bond movie not starring Roger Moore.

In the meantime, you can send your suggestions to thejerkdoesnotlikeyou@gmail.com, or catch me at the Twitter @thejerknotlikeu.

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You all surprise me.  You really do.  As I write, there are seven comments on The Jerk’s first movie review, and not a single one expressing moderate to quivering righteous indignation at the implicit endorsement of a trashy piece of work like Roadhouse.   I was expecting a nice loud chorus of, “AND YOU CALL THIS A CATHOLIC BLOG?”   Boy, if this were Inside Catholic, I’d have been excommunicated at least twice by now (although the second time wouldn’t count, because Pope Michael of Kansas has had his excommunication privileges temporarily taken away by his parents, who do, after all, own the garage apartment he lives in).

My flexible friend.

I guess I’ll just chalk your laxity up to the heat, and go ahead and write what I was planning to write anyway, because I think it’s an interesting topic.

I mean, we have to have some standards, yes?  You really can’t call yourself a good Catholic and then just go ahead and do whatever you want.   Seriously, no matter how many college courses we took, there must be some movies that Catholics shouldn’t watch, some music we shouldn’t listen to, some clothes we shouldn’t wear, words we shouldn’t use, quantities we shouldn’t drink, and so on.  That’s the whole catch in that “Love God, and do what you will” thing:  if you actually do love God, then you’re not going to want to move away from Him; and certain activities certainly do make that gap wider.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am fairly susceptible to the “It’s okay because I’m edgy” trap.  It’s not conscious, but I tend to feel that I’m sooo smart and ironic and a anyway a good mother and all, so it’s probably really okay for me to do . . . well, just about anything, as long as I have lots of babies and pray most days.

In fact, it’s more than okay:  why, I’m rendering a valuable service to the reputation of the modern Church. By indulging in various seemingly unholy activities (and I’m talking about medium-bad stuff like drinking too much, showing a little too much skin, swearing, speeding, telling dirty jokes, etc.), I’m  not only not a bad Catholic, but it makes me an extra-good Catholic, because I’m not one of those fearful, novena-haunted zealots who can’t see past their own mantillas to the rich and burgeoning sensual world of culture and art.  No water in the wine!  We’re Catholics, not Puritans — we can handle it!  After all, how are we going to share the Good News if we’re too timid to step out of our crisis bunkers?  How will secular folks take us seriously if we look like weirdos?

Tell me they don't look like weirdos.

Actually, despite the above picture which I couldn’t resist posting, the matter of how we dress is a whole other kettle of fish, which I definitely want to talk about later.  But for right now, in light of yesterday’s post, let’s just consider the movies we watch. We watch a lot of movies at our house.   Fairly often, my husband and I discuss whether or not it would be a good idea for us (just us, not the kids) to watch something–usually because it has too much graphic sexual stuff in it, but sometimes because it just has too much of a nasty feel.  We talk it over, based on what we know of the reputation of the director, the trailers we’ve seen, etc., and then decide together whether or not to see it (and if only one of us says, “Let’s not,” then we both don’t).

Sometimes it’s pretty obvious that a movie is not for us (or for anyone).  We discussed  Sin City (this link is to the parents’ guide, which, in describing why the movie is inappropriate, is itself fairly inappropriate!) for about two seconds before we nixed it.   It looked like it might have some artistic merit, and yet it didn’t seem worth going to Hell for.  On the other hand, we did watch Eastern Promises, which was sexually explicit and violent and grim as all get out.  But it was a good movie, maybe great.  I cautiously recommend it.

We don’t want to miss out on good movies.  But I guess the best possible thing to do would be to err on the side of caution, and always always skip movies that we’re afraid might have a bad influence on us.

Or is that the best possible thing?  We love movies so much, and have such good conversations about them, that I have a very hard time believing that Catholics should confine themselves to G movies (do they even make those anymore?), although I do have some respect for people who have that much will power.  After all, approximately 94%* of western culture was made possible by the Church in one way or another, and not all of it is paintings of fat cherubim.

Here is what we have figured out:  it’s kind of like chastity**.  Say you’re abstaining.  So you’re not going to have sex today.  But, dammit, you are a married couple, and the chaste behavior of a married couple is different from the chaste behavior of a pair of dating teens.  So, yes, you’re allowed to do more, without doing everything.  But you have to be smart about it.  And you have to understand that your standards and limitations might change from month to month, or even day to day, depending on your mood, your attitude, your spiritual state, your current relationship with your spouse, what you did yesterday and the day before, etc.  What could be some good clean married fun one day can be a disaster the next, even if it’s objectively the exact same behavior — it all depends on the context, your motivations, and on what you know will happen to you if you do it, if you can be honest with yourself about your own weaknesses.  (And of course, there are some things which are always off-limits, no matter who you are or how you feel today.)

So, in the same way, a movie that is fine to watch one evening, and gives us food for thought, and provokes rich, marriage-building conversation and camaraderie–this same movie might be an occasion of sin, or even a sin, the next week.  It all depends.

So, what’s a movie viewer to do?  I think this is the point at which many good Catholics throw up their hands and decide to play it safe, and just stick with super-safe fare.  Which means you are going to end up seeing a lot of Doris Day

and then you will have to claw your own eyeballs out, which would be a shame.  There are other approaches, however.  Here is what we do:

  • As I mentioned, we discuss movies ahead of time, and we try and be honest about our mental, spiritual, emotional, and, ahem, physical state.
  • Then we watch the movie.  If someone starts, say, taking their clothes off, we cover our eyes.  To cut the tension, we make spitting noises at each other, or occasionally punch each other.
  • If it gets too bad, we turn it off.

Well, that’s it.  There’s my brilliant three-point strategy for avoiding hellfire without having to watch Calamity Jane.

I once posted a silly review of Martin Scorsese’s After Hours (in which I compared it to the Odyssey; yes, I did), and warned the readers that the movie contained “some tough scenes, including partial nudity and various creepy and depressing conversations.”  Well, someone who signed himself “Scandalized” responded:

I watched this movie based on the author’s recommendation. I’m sorry I did as I believe it’s offensive to God to sit through a movie like this. The nudity, the gay kissing scene, the trashy dressed room mate? What the author describes as ‘tough’ scenes to watch would be more accurately defined as occasions of sin.

[snip]

There was a time when this kind of entertainment would have been blacklisted by the Catholic Church (under pain of mortal sin we would have watched it)….but now (for the mature viewer, anyway) it’s become entertainment good enough to be praised on a Catholic blog.

So I says to him:

I’m truly sorry you were disappointed. If you never watch movies that have nudity or immorality in them, however, I’m not sure why you decided to watch this one, when I warned you that those scenes were in it! I thought the photo of the shark graffiti would serve as warning, also.

Maybe it will make you feel better if you know that my husband and I cover our eyes and make stupid noises during certain types of scenes in movies. Then we quickly peek at the screen – uh oh, they’re still naked – look away again, bah bah bah bah – and then look again to see if it’s safe yet.

You see, I agree with you that movies can be an occasion of sin. We make an effort not to watch those scenes which are bad for our souls, and we do make the decision to skip certain movies altogether, even if they seem like they would be entertaining.

The Church no longer lists forbidden movies, but she still holds us to the same standards — it’s just that we’re supposed to impose those standards on ourselves.

So, one question: did you watch the whole movie, or did you turn it off when it started offending you?

Durned if he never got back to me on that last question.  But that’s what it boils down to, it seems to me.  If the movie offend thee, then turn it off.

_______________________________________________

*Shut up, I said “approximately”

**By this hugely misunderstood word, I do not mean “celibacy.”  I mean living in such a way that your sexual behavior is appropriate to your station in life.

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Pain Don’t Hurt

NOTE:  Welcome, Faith and Family readers!  The following post is a new feature on I HAVE TO SIT DOWN.  You  may find it somewhat less edifying than my article on Faith and Family Live today.  That’s because it’s written by my new co-contributer, who is a much less edifying person than I am.  Beyond that, there really isn’t any explanation for what you are about to read.

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Hi, I’m The Jerk. You may remember me from such blog comments as “Shut Up You Stupid Face,” or “Jews A-Poppin!” I have been a semi-regular commentator on this blog going back to when it was just Simcha scribbling desperate notes asking for help with her escape plans in the margins of baby books. Anyhoo, Simcha has asked me to provide some movie reviews.

I love movies, but not necessarily good ones. Sure, I can argue the meaning of art house fare (I think the car crash at the start of the movie was all in the character’s mind, pointing to the uncontrollable violence to come), allude to the way certain scenes are reminiscent of particular directors (the overlapping  conversations are really a tip to Altman), the way dialogue flows, or halts precisely, to reveal the true emotional and spiritual state of the characters (he said ‘Balls!’), or the way an actress held her purse.

But I really like the cheap movies that you can get at Walmart for $5 or less. In fact, until I had my bank card taken away by concerned family members, I amassed quite a collection of movies that I seemed to remember were pretty good even though I only saw them once, on TBS, back when I was 17, I swear.

Here’s the deal: I’m gonna start with reviewing from my massive collection of crud, but if any of you readers has a suggestion, I will review that movie. The rules are simple. I have to be able to buy this thing at Walmart for $5 or less, or it has to be on the Watch Instantly menu on Netflix. Oh, and no Nick Nolte movies. Send your suggestions to thejerkdoesnotlikeyou@gmail.com. If you put your suggestion in the comments box, not only will I not review that movie, I’m gonna find a way to make this happen.

Before you read any further, please keep in mind:  if your favorites include blogs with the word “Musings” in the title, skip this. Stop reading. Go check out those sob sisters at some ladies blog, like National Review.

Here goes:

Road House

Oh Boy. Director Rowdy Herrington’s masterpiece is one of those Swayzessential movies, by which I mean,  it has everything you could ask for in a Patrick Swayze movie, including extra Swayze. Let’s run down the list:

1. Swayze? You better believe that’s a Check

Swayze leads the "Tai Chi for Oily Beginners" class.

2. The beautiful lady-doctor who takes her clothes off for Swayze? Check.

3. Ben Gazzara as a Chicago gangster (named Brad Wesley!) who runs a small southern town? Check.

4. Sam Elliott’s mustache? Check.

I'm in a movie?

5. Villains who run stake out surveillance from their monster truck? Check.

6. That blind guy playing the blues? Check.

Not gonna make fun of the blind

7. Boobage? That’s a big double Check, good buddy.

8. Extra Swayze? Oh yes, Check.

The horse is about to have his ass kicked by Swayze.

9. Great Swayzetastic dialogue? Checkaroo.

10. Keanu Reeves? Sadly, no.

I'd really like to do a Point Break sequel with Kurt Russell.

As you can see, when you have a list like that going, the script practically writes itself. That’s a good  an explanation as any for this movie, so let’s stick with that.

This is the story of Dalton, a world-famous (in bars and honky-tonk dives below the Mason Dixon Line) “cooler.” That’s the guy in charge of all the bouncers at your favorite skeevy bar, where they play the blues (or a country-fried approximation thereof) and serve bourbon, and all the ladies are not ladies, if ya git my drift. (No, not trannies. That would be the remake starring Eddie Murphy.)

Dalton is first seen in a bar he supposedly made safe, where he battles with knife wielding drunks. This display is enough for some guy who specializes in playing creeps to recruit Dalton to turn around the troubled Double Deuce (anybody ever use the phrase ‘Drop a Deuce’? Just wondering.)

The owner of the Double Deuce. His favorite comic is The Lockhorns.

If I were looking to hire a cooler. I would want the guy from the place that has no knife wielding drunks, but that’s just me.

The owner wants to turn the DD from a slaughterhouse where violent D-bags get drunk  into a profitable, swinging night spot where a slightly better class of D-bags get drunk. Dalton does this by fighting the staff and laying down the law:  “It’s my way or the highway.” I love this scene.

Dalton rubs up against the local gangster, falls in love with the lady-doctor, spouts off some Eastern nonsense, and beats the snot out of gangster/hillbillies with the help of his mentor, Sam Elliot’s mustache.

That’s the movie in a nutshell. There may be more (or less) to the goings-on, but that is about it. Basically, it’s Shane, but with boobs. Now, there are a lot worse things you could say about a movie than that. Such as, “It’s like Road House, but without any boobs.”

None of this explains the presence of Ben Gazzara as the lead villain. I mean, this man is a solid character actor with decades of experience,  a real screen icon. He turned down the guest star role in T.J. Hooker! He’s better than this. Right?

I schtupped Angela Lansbury.

Favorite Scene: where Dalton gets staples to close up a wound. “Pain don’t hurt.” The lady-doctor reads Dalton’s medical transcript, which includes his educational transcripts as well, for some reason. It’s in this scene we learn Dalton studied philosophy. So yeah, having a character going from reading Kant to being a bar bouncer may be the most realistic aspect of this whole movie.

Best Line:  “You’re too stupid to have a good time.”

You can’t have a movie like this, without a scene like this. Wouldn’t be right.

I guess that about wraps this up. Couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Patrick Swayze is not the same person as Kurt Russell.

Don't tell Keanu. Kurt could really use the work.

2. I do close my eyes during the naughty bits of the movies I watch, mostly.

3. No joke, you need to watch this. It is the greatest Christmas Carol ever.

Next review: I’m gonna plan to write-up Enter The Dragon, starring Bruce Lee and John Saxon’s slacks.

I hope to get together a list of recommendations I can check out between now and then. Remember, please send suggestions to thejerkdoesnotlikeyou@gmail.com. You can also follow me on The Twitter @thejerknottlikeu. Unlike some people, I will be Tweeting more than just my blog posts.

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