About This Blog

A place to find my reviews not featured on epinions.com or horror-asylum.com, as well as opinions and lists on everything from movies to TV to music. It's all about me! Send hate mail to vegie18th@hotmail.com or just leave a comment beneath the posts. Review grading system assumes C+ is somewhere in the vicinity of a Passing grade or minor fail.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

15 Songs with the Worst Lyrics

In reverse order of suckage (Does that mean #1 sucks and blows?) I present to you the top 15 songs that have the worst lyrics ever written.

15. Mr. Roboto- Styx

Domo Origato, Mr. Roboto. WTF? No, really, WTF? A real head-scratcher even to this day. Were they trying to break into the Japanese charts or something? However, you haven't lived until you've seen Pinocchio do a karaoke version of it on one of the "Shrek" DVDs. That was all kinds of awesome. This version however? It’s like the worst science-fiction movie put into song lyrics. So, I guess it’s kinda like “Battlefield: Earth”.

14. Buses and Trains- Bachelor Girl

Hopefully in the years since Aussie pop one-hit wonders Bachelor Girl were last heard of, they have learnt that falling in love is completely different to getting hit by a bus or train. I'm pretty sure that if you fall in love, you probably won't die or suffer permanent brain damage. At least, I’d certainly hope not. I mean, what kind of kinky tantric sex are these people having?

13. I Wish I Was a Punk Rocker- Sandi Thom

Sandi wants to be a punk rocker. Unfortunately she also wants to wear flowers in her hair. Hopefully someone has explained to Sandi in the years since this twee piece of folky crap was released that punks and flowers do not under any circumstance belong in the same sentence. So shockingly oxymoronic that I'm surprised the song was even released. Intentional or not, it unquestionably sucks.

12. Key Largo- Bertie Higgins

'We had it all. Just like Bogey and Bacall'. Do I need to go on? It's enough to make you think "(Escape) The Pina Colada Song" ain't so bad. Well, almost. Guys who own boats are such douchebags.

11. Itchycoo Park- Small Faces 

Tree-hugging hippie crap with a title that sounds like baby gibberish. Drugs are bad, m'kay? Coochy Coochy Coo indeed.

10. Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back to My Room)- Paul Lekakis

Anyone who refers to their bedroom as the 'Boom Room' deserves to get knocked on their arse. A pick-up line masquerading as a song.

9. Rock Soldiers- Ace Frehley

Terrible vanity project from the KISS guitarist, full of terrible 'Ace' puns throughout. And now you know why Paul and Gene pretty much control everything in KISS. They might be giant egomaniacs, but at least they didn't write this shit.

8. Baby I'm-A Want You- Bread

Baby, you need to learn the English language first, because your song title and accompanying lyrics are grammatically incorrect and stupid.

7. Da Da Da- Trio

Seriously, that's it. That's all the lyrics. It makes "Popcorn" sound like freakin’ purple prose. It also sounds vaguely Commie to me.

6. Stand- REM

I doubt even REM know what this nonsense is about. I mean, I've heard Michael Stipe struggle to explain “Losing My Religion”, let alone this one.

5. I Am the Walrus- The Beatles

I love "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds", but this is just an LSD trip committed to music. Unbearable and nonsensical. The Fab Four had their heads up their arses for this one.

4. Milkshake- Kelis

What is it with modern R&B/hip-hop and the objectification of women? It's a song about tits, people. I love tits. Love 'em. But this is awful, and frankly, I don't find Kelis' milkshake to my personal taste anyway. I think her milk is probably long past its use by date anyway.

3. MacArthur Park- Richard Harris

Or any other version of the song you hate the most. This is just insane and stupefyingly incoherent nonsense that is either about the end of the world or someone who left a cake out in the rain.

2. The Friday Song- Rebecca Black

You knew it had to be on the list somewhere. Black's nasal (yet still clearly auto-tuned!) voice is bad enough, but listening to her babble on about which seat to take in the car or debating what day comes before or after Friday...it's pure torture. I don't care how young she is, I doubt she even wrote the thing herself, it was probably some 35 year-old dude who should've known better. Then again, everyone knows the song.

1. My Humps- The Black Eyed Peas

I don't even care if this is tongue-in-cheek or not, it's the most insipid and insanely misogynistic song I've heard in my life. A putrid objectification of women, shocking in the post-feminist era, and indicative of the worst in modern R&B/hip-hop.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review: Gun

Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson is perhaps ironically cast as a guy named Rich (see, ‘coz he’s only got half a dollar!), a mid-level Detroit arms dealer. He’s looking to expand his currently modest trade with the help of the mysterious Gabriella (AnnaLynne McCord) and her big-time employer, gun runner John Larroquette. Meanwhile, Val Kilmer plays Angel, a recently released ex-con who once knew Rich in prison, and decides to take up Rich’s offer to join his gang, to the annoyance of Rich’s comrades (Hassan Johnson and Charles Malik Winfield). However, just as a big deal is about to go down, Gabriella informs Rich that he appears to have a mole in his team, informing the cops. In the words of Eddie Murphy’s Mr. Robinson: Who could dat be? James Remar and Paul Caulderon play the frustrated cops who might finally be able to nail Rich. Danny Trejo plays a rival whom Rich clashes with.

Directed by Jessy Terrero (“Soul Plane”, of all films) and scripted by none other than 50 Cent himself, this 2010 urban crime-thriller is at least better than the last pairing of 50 Cent and Val Kilmer (which still only adds up to half a buck. Sorry...), “Streets of Blood”. That was a complete stinker and horribly shot on shaky HD where you couldn’t see a damn thing. This one is at least competent and watchable (and it looks OK for a digitally-shot film), even if one of the main stars is miscast and 50 Cent’s screenplay is as old as the hills. He also delivers an unsatisfying ending, where a few loose ends are left untied. I will say this though, he delivers the best performance of his career so far (he wasn’t bad in “Streets of Blood”, either. That film wasn’t his fault). As a mid-level gun-runner, 50 Cent is authentic, which is all anyone can really ask of a non-actor. I just wish the former Wanksta (Seriously, the worst album title ever) was a little more articulate in speech.

The film also boasts solid performances in smaller roles by reliable hands like James Remar, Paul Caulderon (who may be one of the coolest guys alive), Danny Trejo (who steals his one scene), and John Larroquette. John Larroquette really does love being John Larroquette, doesn’t he? He’s given a clichéd role here, as a racist rich white arms supplier, but he oozes smarminess and the smug satisfaction that goes with being John Larroquette. That’s a compliment...I think. He plays a cliché very well, anyway. AnnaLynne McCord as the middle...er...woman between Larroquette and Half a Buck is less impressive on account of her inability to act. She is freakin’ hot, though.

The big casting issue is Val Kilmer. At least I’m reliably informed that it was a long-haired Val Kilmer. I swear, when I first saw him in this I thought that the Indian chief from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” had been resurrected. Dude got fat, real fat. Did Terrero find Kilmer just wandering the streets and coaxed him into appearing in the film? He actually looks like a homeless person. A really, really well-fed homeless person, which is probably the only reason why he doesn’t wear a ‘will act for food’ sign on him. Insults aside, he’s actually a very hard sell in this role. I bought him as a reckless bank robber in “Heat”, but here his presence is so hard to accept that it serves to make obvious the twist with his character long before it is revealed. Nothing about his participation here is right, and it makes 50 Cent’s character look like a moron. Talk about ‘One of these things is not like the others...’. And when did mid-level gun-runners start employing bums anyway? Also, it must be said that whilst the title is aptly chosen, the film seems awfully fetishistic about weaponry for a film that is presumably anti-crime and anti-gun trade. Strange, no?

The film isn’t anything new, profound, or even terribly interesting, but it’s competent, and that makes it infinitely better than “Streets of Blood”. 

Rating: C+

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Review: The Killing

Tough crim Johnny Clay (Sterling Hayden) is at the helm of a racetrack robbery, set to steal all the cash in broad daylight, during the races. Among his accomplices are; cop and gambling addict Randy (Ted De Corsia), racetrack bartender O’Reilly (Joseph Sawyer) who has a sick wife to care for, and racetrack cashier George Peatty (Elisha Cook Jr.), an insecure man who makes the mistake of blabbing to his scheming and unfaithful wife (Marie Windsor, in her element). She then schemes with her lover (Vince Edwards) to take the profits. The otherwise careful Clay never quite counted on that, and the robbery plans get further screwed up from there. Jay C. Flippen plays Marvin, a somewhat elderly, mild-mannered accountant who fronts up the money through embezzlement in order to hire hulking wrestler (Maurice Oboukhoff) and creepy, psychotic sniper (Timothy Carey) to create diversions for the robbery. Oboukhoff is meant to start a big fight, whilst deadly accurate Carey is meant to shoot a horse in the race. Jay Adler turns up as Randy’s bookie, James Edwards is an African-American racetrack gate attendant who tries to befriend sniper Carey whilst he’s trying to get into position. In a somewhat frivolous role, Coleen Gray plays Clay’s girlfriend.

Considered the first ‘true’ Kubrick film, this 1956 Stanley Kubrick (“Killer’s Kiss”, “Lolita”, “A Clockwork Orange”, “The Shining”) crime/noir is one of the best films of its type, and along with “The Asphalt Jungle”, one of the most influential. It’s a really taut (running at a lean and mean (80 or so minutes), exciting and well-acted film, even if Kubrick was forced to add a “Dragnet”-style voiceover at the studio’s request. Personally I don’t think it adds or subtracts much from the film, I was too busy enjoying everything else. The thunderous music score by Gerald Fried (Kubrick’s “Killer’s Kiss”, “The Killing of Sister George” and the legendary TV miniseries “Roots”) grabs you from moment one, and indeed the first half in particular has a surprising amount of energy and excitement.

The B&W cinematography by Lucien Ballard (“Ride the High Country”, “The Wild Bunch”, “True Grit”) is sensational, mixing noirish lighting and handheld camerawork. The depth of field in particular is wonderful, giving certain scenes a Deep Focus vibe. I also think the film has one of the more impressive sound designs of its era, and it still holds up today. Based on a paperback by Lionel White, the script by Kubrick and pulp novelist Jim Thompson (who mostly worked on the dialogue and co-wrote Kubrick’s subsequent “Paths of Glory”) is pretty damn interesting for its period given the rather obvious (and to me, surprising) gay subtext in a scene between Sterling Hayden and Jay C. Flippen.

The characters are also memorable, several of whom have pretty interesting side-stories of their own. The cast is rock-solid up and down, with the usually lunkheaded Sterling Hayden never better (I usually find him amateurish). He’s got a gravitas and assuredness here that I’ve not felt from him before, and had he played his dumb thug from “The Asphalt Jungle” here, it would’ve seemed totally out of place for a mastermind. In fact, had he played this character in “The Asphalt Jungle”, that terrific film would’ve been even better, as he was the weak-link. There’s also some scene-stealing support by Elisha Cook Jr. (one of the all-time great character actors), oddball hipster Timothy Carey (as a psycho beatnik of sorts), Jay C. Flippen (perhaps the most likeable presence in the film), and Marie Windsor (perhaps cinema’s most underrated portrayer of femme fatales) standing out in particular. Cook’s sad-sack George proves one of the more heart-breaking, pathetic, yet ultimately surprising characters in any noir. He’s too pathetic to be likeable (especially towards the end), but you do feel pity for him. He’s a good husband married to Satan in a blonde wig. Hulking, heavily-accented Maurice Oboukhoff is a little tough to understand at times, but that’s a minor issue.

Terrific ending, even if you can see it coming (it’s kinda depressing actually), and the non-linear structure will likely appeal to Tarantino buffs. QT is obviously a fan of the film, whether he admits it or not, as “Reservoir Dogs” has a similar narrative structure. Personally I prefer “The Asphalt Jungle”, but this is a solid genre entry from a bonafide filmmaker. Even non-Kubrick enthusiasts should enjoy this one. It’s a simple tale well-told. Or a B-movie with more class than many.

Rating: B