Monday, November 23, 2009
Lemme tell ya, you just have not lived until you’ve seen a mile-wide wall of flame, hundreds of feet high, creep inexorably down a hill, punctuated every once and again by the fireballs from exploding houses or gas stations.
The Ivanlandia High Command needed some time away from the Imperial Palace, so took a mini-vacation at the end of August/beginning of September to the Western Coastal Megaplexity of The United Provinces of Californialandia.
A strict reconnaissance-style mission was considered at first, but was abandoned for a more free-form approach.
Not quite clothing optional, but feathers were ruffled nonetheless. Especially when attempts to see old Mexican monster movies or the reincarnation of Edgar Allan Poe were thwarted.
The nuclear exhaust from the Ivanlandia X-1 supersonic jet must have caused a heat wave,
as there was much complaining by the Angelinos,
and the ants were driven into every home,
becoming wretched pests,
infesting even the Klinkmobile we’d rented.
Much was accomplished on the Los Angeles Expedition,
but mainly of the Zen variety.
Chillin’, dude, that’s what it was about.
But the terrifying power of The Station Fire mellows out for no one!
Like a Bosch or Breugel painting…
And it was during my trip,
while on the way to King Taco
(BTW: YUMMY burritos! I wish I’d eaten there more),
that the Tzar of Ivanlandia and
Secret Agent Jesus Manson
(pronounced: Hay-zoos Mon-sohn)
got a chance to see
The Flaming Putter of Doom:
It was about 10 miles away, and we guessed about one mile wide: a wall of flame, shaped like a putter for golf, if you laid it on its side.
Then, to the left, in hills much closer, were the Burning Hellfires—these fires were hidden by trees and their own smoke, so appeared to be hidden glowing coals, or dragon eyes glooming out at you. Very ominous…
While it routinely looked like there was an erupting volcano in its backyard, Los Angeles never got too much smoke from the fires, even when they looked like a mushroom cloud.
Didn’t see any stars, but plenty of flames…
Wandered Downtown L.A.; kinda deserted—I guess the heat drove everybody off the streets.
Toestubber griped about heat stroke—the weakling!—but that’s okay, he took us barhopping and dart playing.
Although both Toestubber and Secret Agent Jesus Manson totally blew it with the opportunity to bump uglies with Mrs. San Pedro at the awesome sushi joint. Poor damn fools…
I’m such a fan of George Pal’s The War of the Worlds
that wandering around Downtown L.A.,
plus the snakehead lampposts everywhere that look like the cobra-head heat ray of the Martian death machines
made me feel like the Martians had already invaded/
Are they already underground, just waiting to emerge?
Holy shit—is that where Steven Spielberg got the idea for the aliens coming up from underground for his version of War of the Worlds?
By wandering around Los Angeles stoned out of his mind, imagining that streetlamps were the harbingers of DOOM?!?
Hmmmm….Makes sense to me.
Martians blowing up L.A.! Gotta love it!
Downtown, as a tribute to Michael Jackson’s death (faked, I tells ya, Jackson’s death was faked!), the Palace Theater, despite being closed and defunct, put on its marquee the title of the flick young MJ was going to see at the beginning of the John Landis-directed mega-video, “Thriller.”
GUNS, GUNS, GUNS!
(to be said like Kurtwood Smith in Robocop)
is a pistol I’d heard about only through the writings of Gustav Hasford:
He has his main character Joker carrying a dead Vietcong officer’s captured Tokarev
as his sidearm in both The Short-Timers
(made into Full Metal Jacket)
and that book’s incredible, even better sequel The Phantom Blooper.
So when Toestubber, Secret Agent Jesus Manson and I arrived at the LA Gun Range, I was therefore excited to see them offering sessions with the Tokarev, I took it. The range’s Tokarev I was to fire was made in Romania according to the stamp on the grip.
I wound up going through about 100 rounds of ammo.
About five bullets misfired and had to be slide ejected.
The rounds are pretty big. Homes behind the counter said the pistol took “submachine gun bullets.”
The magazine only seemed to take eight rounds at a time—I thought semi-automatics took up to eleven rounds—maybe I am a weakling—
The fucker is LOUD when fired: big, startling BOOMS that I could hear through the baffles over my ears.
Which felt awesome, I must say.
However, the gun didn’t have as ferocious a kick as I was expecting—maybe I was tensed enough in preparation not to notice?
It is a somewhat heavy piece, however, and so there’s a tendency in lazybones like myself to let gravity start to take hold, drifting the barrel downward—even a little bit and you’re off target!
Because I don’t live in California Uber Alles, I couldn’t buy one to bring home and accidentally shoot myself or a loved one with.
The TT-33 is still in service in the Chinese and North Korean armed forces today.
The Tokarev is gaining in popularity with pistol collectors and shooters in the West because of its ruggedness, reliability and ready availability of cheap ammunition (in the US).
However, some complaints include poor-quality grips (which are often replaced by the wrap-around Tokagypt 58 grips) and a hand grip which extends at a vertical angle awkward for many Western shooters.
Nonetheless, the Tokarev, as well as its variants in 9mm, is renowned for its simplicity and accuracy.
While in Los Angeles, no Mexican sci-fi/horror flicks were screened, but the latest by QT was.
And it had flames, too!
Unglorificatious Stinkerz (2009)
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
A fun flick--with plenty to mull over afterward, but hardly an instant classic, let alone the second coming as some have been claiming.
The biggest problem for me was that no characters were ever as compelling
as the film's primary Nazis, actors Waltz and Bruhl, respectively--both of whom are excellent.
(And using a bad 1980s David Bowie pop song--that was the theme song to another movie!--was a terrible, terrible idea. It stopped the flick cold for me.)
I think I’ve figured out why I don’t think QT is the bee’s knees—he’s good, I like his stuff, etc., etc., etc., but I don’t love it—
And it’s because I don’t like Godard.
Sheeeeeit. Let’s be honest here: I fuckin’ hate Jean-Luc Godard.
Breathless was a total snooze,
Made in USA made me gnash my teeth, and
Weekend was, well, okay, but man-oh-Manischewitz, it was slow.
And Godard is one of QT’s big influences.
Great criticism of Ruffhewn Rottrz HERE:
However, I will admit that maybe I’m not getting something—
In conversation with the fab Tenebrous Kate at the after-party for the awesome Destructible Man live show (yes, Ivanlandia namedrops),
she said that much of Msipled Auntyheroez was a tribute to Nazi exploitation flicks, like Salon Kitty and Ilsa, Sweetheart of the Secret Police—and Ivanlandia admits to an only passing knowledge of the genre.
But I will still rent Shaymlez Mersinareez when it’s released on DVD.
Especially to check out Maggie Cheung’s deleted cameo! Yowzah!
Fears that the fabulous Clifton's Cafeteria was closing prompted a special diplomatic culinary envoy to the world famous eatery.
Thank goodness, Clifton's Cafeteria is not closing.
That would be heartbreaking.
Visited the beach with Toestubber, even jumped into the ocean, then spent time with Darth Mischievous and his fambly.
No museums, no theme parks,
Just fires and a lot of driving.
It was a nice vacation.
I also gained about 10 pounds: lots of greasy burritos, chicken fried steak and eggs (with toast, taters and gravy), really awesome sushi—not a lot of snakcing per se, just several heavy meals and no exercise (driving may be a sport, but not a form of exercise).
Meanwhile, an excursion to In & Out Burger proved fruitful, with an order off of The Secret Menu!
A double-double animal style is dee-lish!
For no other reason than the fact that I just saw it, here’s a review of…
Thirst (“Bakjwi”) (2009)
Produced and directed by Park Chan-wook
Written by Park Chan-wook and Seo Gyeong-jeong
(inspired by the novel Therese Raquin by Emile Zola)
Cinematography: Jeong Jeong-hun
Edited by Kim Sang-bum
Cast: Song Kang-ho (Sang-hyun), Kim Ok-bin (Tae-ju), Shin Ha-kyun (Kang-woo), Kim Hae-sook (Mrs. Ra)
Korean director Park Chan-wook just keeps getting better and better. If you don’t like reading subtitles, you don’t deserve this movie.
About Thirst, the director says—and I have to agree,
“It is about passion and a love triangle. I feel that it is unique because it is not just a thriller, and not merely a horror film, but an illicit love story as well."
Truer to the spirit of romantic vampirism than any of this new teenybopper crud, Thirst is practically the best.
It’s certainly one of the best movies of this year, no lie.
While stylistically reminiscent of 1980s Cronenberg and/or Kubrick’s more clinical work,
the characters are absolutely three-dimensional, making this flick feel very real—while maintaining a good level of sick humor—
And the humor grows organically from the characters’ behavior that feels just like what people might do under these specific circumstances,
things that would appear horrific or funny or horrifically funny to an outside viewer.
It boils down to people and their problems, not so much the supernatural.
Brilliant and inventive,
but gruesome and macabre
(certainly not for the squeamish),
erotic and kinky, but very sensitive to its characters, Thirst is probably the most unique remake of A Place in the Sun ever possible.
And I mean that as a compliment!
[Read Zeroville and find out more!]
I think the movie could have been trimmed by about 10 minutes, but I’m not sure how that might change the often-claustrophobic epicness of Thirst.
Some of this entry's photos were taken by Toestubber, some by me, and the rest stolen from the usual suspects....