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Sunday, February 14, 2016

#DLMChallenge: Mid-February Update

I can't tell you how many people have seen me on the street and shouted, "Hey, Matt, how's the DLM Challenge going?"  Sometimes I'll stroll over to the shouter and say, "Buy me a cup of coffee, and I'll tell you all about it."  The shouter, who was sooooo interested five minutes ago, interested enough to interrupt the weekly stroll I take with my family in fact, suddenly gets all nervous and twitchy and says, "That's OK," and I'll say, "Damn right it's OK!  I'm with my family, jack ass!  Why can't you people understand I'm just like you...I need my privacy too."  Most of the time though, I just point to my shirt--I always wear a shirt with the web address for this very blog printed on both the front and back whenever I'm in public--and say, "Check out the site!"

So, here's your mid-February update.  Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day.  I hope you got lots of chocolate and sex!

13. People, Places, Things: Nouns (as us hardcore People, Places, Things-heads call it) fits into the whole "slight, but charming, indie rom-coms starring comedic heavyweights being funny and a little sad" my personal DLM Challenge list has going on so far (see also: Slow Learners, The Overnight, We Need to Talk About Kevin).  Nouns is about a comic book writer/artist, played by Jemaine Clement, with twin daughters and a complicated love life.  Nouns is very enjoyable, thanks to a strong central performance by the endlessly funny Clement.  And, you know, nouns are a pretty great part of speech!

14. Eagle vs Shark: After watching Nouns, I was inspired to have myself a little Jemaine Clement Movie Marathon.  Unfortunately, Netflix streaming currently offers a mere two Jemaine Clement-starring films, and I'm not sure that's enough for a marathon proper.  Maybe I'll check Hulu's Jemaine Clement selection.

I hesitate to describe the movie this way, because I feel it will turn off some readers while exciting other readers into an orgiastic frenzy, but Eagle vs Shark is like the New Zealand version of Napoleon Dynamite.  There are two major differences however.  First, Eagle vs Shark has a discernible plot (Two social misfits, Lilly and Jarrod, meet, have awkward sex at a party where people are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite animals and then engage in a Mortal Kombat-style video game competition, and fall into a kind of love.  The pair then travel to Jarrod's hometown where he is determined to fight the bully who repeatedly beat him up when they were children.).  Second, I hated Napoleon Dynamite, and Eagle vs Shark, while saturated in pure, undiluted quirk, is sincerely funny and charming, and I like it a whole lot.

15. Collateral Damage: In my advanced age, I've found that I'm drawn to generic Arnold Schwarzenegger action flicks with vague titles.  This one is about firefighter who watches his wife and son perish in a terrorist attack, and instead of sitting back and letting the American government deal with things, journeys to Colombia himself to murder the bastard responsible, a bloodthirsty terrorist known as The Wolf.  Only, The Wolf isn't who he seems to be.  Huh, wha!?!  Intrigue!  It's all very dumb, but I don't regret inviting Collateral Damage into my brain.  

I do have one question that lingers however: Why is The Wolf front-and-center at all of his various acts of terror?  That isn't typical when it comes to leaders of terrorist organizations, is it?  I mean, Osama Bin Laden wasn't in either of the planes that hit the World Trade Center on September 11th, right?  He didn't parachute out at the last minute, land in a secret location somewhere and then escape back to his cave, right?  This Wolf does everything himself.  He's there on the ground, doing the work.  He kind makes your average terrorist mastermind look lazy.  I'm just saying.

16. Snake Eyes: Nicolas Cage in bug-eyed crazy mode + Brian DePalma pulpiness + a handful of stunning one take shots = Dumb fun.

17. Flashdance: 18-year-old Alex, a welder in a Pittsburgh steel mill by day and an exotic dancer at a blue collar bar/performance art space (???) by night, aspires to be a ballerina with a prestigious dance company regardless of the fact she's never had any formal training.  Various montages ensue.

I remember watching Flashdance with my mom when I was a kid.  They showed it on Channel 20, the same crummy, local channel on which I saw The Shining and Chopping Mall (AKA Killbots) for the first time.  I believe she turned it off following the scene where Nick takes Alex out for a fancy lobster dinner, and Alex removes her coat exposing that she is wearing only a tuxedo bib and shirt cuffs underneath (and probably pants, as I assume most restaurants, even those located in Pittsburgh, require their patrons to wear pants).  I feel like I remember my mom thinking that Alex had finally gone too far, thus making Flashdance wholly unacceptable viewing for her impressionable young son.

Also, has there ever been a bar/strip club/art gallery/performance space like Mawby's anywhere in the world?  Probably, but in this sketchy section of 1980's Pittsburgh?  Really?  Maybe Pittsburgh has a higher class of pervert.  These Hardhat McGees and Johnny Lunchpails don't seem to mind the lack of nudity in this particular "strip club."  After a long day at the steel mill, these ham-and-eggers apparently want nothing more than a pitcher of PBR and a night of edgy modern dance.  Sure.  Uh-huh.

18. Witness: Harrison Ford lives--and loves--among the Amish, while protecting a boy from being murdered by Danny Glover.  Lest you think Witness is a stuffy, Oscar-winning drama filled with quiet moments of forbidden yearning, know that in its penultimate scene, a corrupt cop drowns in an avalanche of corn.

19. Equinox: Four teenagers discover an ancient book in a cave that unleashes all kinds of demonic baddies.  Equinox is allegedly the inspiration for Evil Dead.  The only thing it inspired in me was a desire to take a nap on the couch.

20. Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens: Treated my dad to a Saturday matinee.  He called it the best of the Star Wars movies because he "understood everything that happened."  I ate an entire tub of popcorn by myself.

21. The Amazing Spider-Man 2: In this sequel to the 2012 reboot, Spidey dukes it out with Electro, and the results are nothing short of 'electric' what I would've said if this movie hadn't been so tremendously mediocre.  Much like my viewing of the first Amazing Spider-Man, my expectations were super low.  Unlike my experience with the first Amazing Spider-Man, low expectations didn't help.  Look, this DVD had been hanging around my house since mid-December, I was out sick from work and I watched it.  Here's hoping the next five Spider-Man reboots are better.

22. I Love You Phillip Morris: Based on the true story of brazen con man Steven Jay Russell, I Love You Phillip Morris, is dark, funny and endlessly fascinating.  One of those stories that if you didn't know it was based on actual events, you wouldn't buy any of it for a second.  Speaking of fascinating true stories...

23. An Honest Liar: An Honest Liar is one of the best documentaries I've seen in a long time.  The subject, James Randi (AKA The Amazing Randi; Randall James Hamilton Zwinge; The Bane of Uri Geller's Existence), started out as a magician/escape artist and went on to become the foremost debunker of fraudulent faith healers, phony psychic surgeons and all manner of New Age bullshit artists.  I'd watch a four hour documentary about this guy.  Thanks to An Honest Liar, I now know who Ramtha is.  Want to take a fun stroll down Bullshit Lane, type "Ramtha" into YouTube next time you're bored.  Great film about a very important, and downright charming, man.

Love Me: I'll watch any documentary about the mail order bride industry.  This one is specifically about men traveling to the Ukraine to find life partners.  As in every documentary on this subject, some of the participants are creeps, some are pitiable, but lovable, losers and some seem perfectly normal.  Love Me features a particularly creepy creep from Australia who I did not care for, but most of the men and women featured come across as perfectly fine, well-adjusted even.  In fact, two of the stories are downright touching.

I shouldn't add that my interest in this topic has grown exponentially since a co-worker of mine began his own search for a wife via the online international dating/mail order bride route, keeping me (and everybody else in the office, it turned out) informed of his progress with weekly updates.  His nation of choice was China.  It ultimately didn't work out.  I was convinced he was confiding in me about his search because he thought my wife, who, readers who are new to the blog might not know, is Korean, was acquired by these means.  I was a little offended, but even more offended when I found out he was telling everybody about his extra curricular activities.

25. After Porn Ends: After porn ends, I usually just turn off my computer and go to bed.  Thanks, everybody!  Don't forget to tip your waitress.

It appears after they abandon their porn careers, porn actors go on to do a lot of different stuff.  They become members of MENSA, isolate themselves from society by moving to Utah, turn into raging alcoholics...and that's just Asia Carrera.

26. Frozen: I have a four-year-old daughter, so, statistically, I have seen Frozen, roughly, 15,000 times since it's release.

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