Thursday, April 30, 2015

Top 30 Favorite Films of 2014

Honorable mention: Snowpiercer, Sabotage, Gone Girl, Cold in July, Whitey: U.S.A. v. James J. Bulger, The Zero Theorem, Nightcrawler, Le Weekend, Witching and Bitching, Let the Fire Burn

30. Particle Fever (dir-Mark Levinson)

29. Drive Hard (dir-Brian-Trenchard Smith)

28. Foxcatcher (dir-Bennett Miller)

27. Jodorowsky's Dune (dir-Frank Pavich)

26. Predestination (dir-Michael & Peter Spierig)

25. The Skeleton Twins (dir-Craig Johnson)

24. Life Itself (dir-Steve James)

23. Young Ones (dir-Jake Paltrow)

22. The Interview (dir-Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen)

21. Top Five (dir-Chris Rock)

20. The Overnighters (dir-Jesse Moss)

19. White Bird in a Blizzard (dir-Gregg Araki)

18. Laggies (dir-Lynn Shelton)

17. Pride (dir-Matthew Warchus)

16. Young & Beautiful (dir-Francois Ozon)

15. The Drop (dir-Michael Roskam)

14. The Blue Room (dir-Mathieu Almaric)

13. Milius (dir-Joey Figueroa & Zak Knutson)

12. Chef (dir-Jon Favreau)

11. Nymphomaniac (dir-Lars Von Trier)

10. The Dance of Reality (dir-Alejandro Jodorowsky)

9. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (dir-Ana Lily Amirpour)

8. Ida (dir-Pawel Pawlikowski)

7. Like Father, Like Son (dir-Hirokazu Koreeda)

6. Why Don't You Play in Hell? (dir-Shion Sono)

5. Joe (dir-David Gordon Green)

4. Wrong Cops (dir-Quentin Dupieux)

3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (dir-Wes Anderson)

2. Boyhood (dir-Richard Linklater)

1. Birdman (dir-Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


If I understand Neil Degrasse-Tyson correctly, science is the balls. Without it, we would all be neanderthals stumbling around an untamed earth, leading an aimless, pointless existence bereft of Katy Perry blasting iPods, beer cans that change color based on temperature, and of course, the meat dehydrator, that marvelous invention of science that allows one to be able to make beef jerky at home without the hassle and judging eye of society when one takes a trip to the supermarket in order to buy nothing but outlandish amounts of beef jerky. However, people have taken advantage of the buildup of goodwill that has resulted from the fruits of science and technology. Take, for example, Scientology. It gets the rub from the smartiness of science by putting the word “science” in its title in order to fool people into thinking that it’s not, like, the dumbest thing ever.

Another such group is Science Team. Oh sure, Science Team is nowhere near as illegitimate as some religion invented to line the pockets of a shitty sci-fi novelist, but after watching this movie, I have come to the conclusion that this particular team of science is not purely rooted in the spirit of the self critical pursuit of knowledge. They’re a group that utilizes public and government funding in order to indeed tackle the problem of invading aliens and such, but something is askew. For example, the science teamers in training are all hot bored young ladies who perpetually do calisthenics while wearing matching t-shirts and shorts, leading me to believe that president and crippled nutbagger Dick Willington III is partially using Science Team as a front to realize his dream of overseeing an all girl pseudo-sleepaway camp where everyone is perpetually doing an Aubrey Plaza impersonation. I can’t say I blame him. 

Instead of an Aubrey Plaza impersonation, here is Aubrey Plaza impersonating.  It's the best I can do.

Anyway, angry douchebag Joey is in charge of field operations for Science Team, an interstellar diplomat in charge of extraterrestrial inquiry. He is the type of “diplomat” that inquires of an alien’s purpose for visiting earth by swearing at them at the top of his lungs and saying things like “do not fuck with me” without provocation. One gets the feeling that Joey spent less time in high school innovating in the chemistry lab and more time knocking lunch trays out of the hands of dweebs. Nevertheless, he convinced an insane cripple to hire him, and like many a corporate stooge, his only real skill is confidence. His approach to “diplomacy” ultimately proves ineffective with the alien as you might imagine, and this leads to people bleeding from their heads coupled with the tragedy of gamebreaking scientific knowledge slipping through the hands of humanity on account of cock-fueled antisocial bureaucracy. 

On the flipside is our hero Chip, a struggling writer who deals with his literary impotence with anger and yelling and breaking things. One gets the feeling that Chip was the kind of guy in high school that attempted to write the most epic poem ever during his lunch hour but some jock came by and knocked his lunch tray over and ruined his composition book in the process, and Chip has vowed ever since to skullfuck the world with his words. The skullfucking hasn’t gone as well as he had hoped, so he takes the frustration for his failures out on his passive girlfriend and destroys everything in their living room. Chip ditches her and tries to move in with his mom, acting like his girlfriend has given him no choice but to enter in the most desperate living situation imaginable despite doing nothing but sitting on the couch and eating from a giant tub of ice cream. His plan of rethinking his approach to writing while watching Japanese tentacle porn in his boyhood room goes astray when he finds his mom’s headless corpse and a blobby alien that just sits around. It stands to reason that the immobile blob alien and the headless mother are interrelated somehow, but to what extent is part of the plot that Chip seeks to unravel. 

Joey and his hazmat underlings eventually find their way into the home of Chip’s mom to investigate. As MTV’s The Real World has taught us, two angry douchebags cannot stay in the same house together for any significant length of time, which means that Chip and Joey are headed to an inevitable showdown.  In this case, it’s a knock out, drag out, “we can’t have sex so we’ll just fuck punch each other” tussle of epic and deadly proportions. While hero and villain on the surface, ultimately Chip and Joey are two sides of the same angry repressed male coin. The main source of scorn for both are passive entities (a girl and an alien), probably because they both don’t actively placate the respective egos of Chip and Joey and instead have the gall to just sit there and kind of ignore them. 

Rather than being a nonstop Troma fest of exploding heads and one-liners and exploding tits, Science Team takes the time to show how the two main characters react to the various situations with angry unhinged gusto, however unsympathetic they may be. This is punctuated with Cronenberg-esque bodily violence, lines like “I made you toast and you go and have sex with Donald”, and side characters like the cop who screams in horror about how much less pussy he’ll get with a melted off face as his face is melting off. The humor comes more from the characters being themselves rather than necessarily some forced titty pun like you might expect. It’s just that the world of Science Team is a patriarch of angry douchebaggery fused with cutting edge interstellar technology, and it’s only natural that a combination like that would lead to a clusterfuck of swearing and melting body parts instead of the actual pursuit of real knowledge or whatever.

P.S. Director/Writer Drew Bolduc was previously responsible for The Taint.