Saturday, March 20, 2010

War of the Worlds Virtual Season Thoughts

After reading the excellent reviews of my beloved War of the Worlds at Disciples of Boltax , I went back and looked at my old War of the Worlds website and must say Jim Sorenson's episode recaps and analysis are far superior to anything I put on my site (so, whenever I can, I try to offer him as much tidbits about the show that I can provide). But, I also browsed all the virtual season episodes I did for the site (I did the virtual second season and was almost done with the virtual third season before I was detoured from finishing it).

Generally, the term "fan fiction" makes me cringe, because it makes me think of a sect of wannabe writers who shouldn't be writers to begin with- writing with reckless, talentless abandon. And trust me, I've read enough bad X-Files, Forever Knight, Buffy (you name it) fan fiction for twelve lifetimes, but- I preferred to call what I was doing a "virtual season". Mainly, because I was so impressed with the work of Dan Owen and Matt Asendorf, who were at the front of the superb, Millennium Virtual Fourth Season. Instead of churning out a short story or two, they made actual episodes in script format. And when you read them, it was so visual and tense. Plus, they also enhanced the show's mythology and tied things together.

I wanted to do the same thing for War of the Worlds. I felt the first season had so much mythology laid out to be explored. After starting the website, I soon learned much of the planned future seasons and storylines of the show via creative consultant/writer, Herb Wright- but even with the info he gave me, I still wanted to do my own spin of WOTW (without pissing on the first season beforehand).

My agenda was:

  • Peel back more of the layers with our established four leads in the Blackwood group- Harrison Blackwood, Suzanne McCullough, Norton Drake and Lt. Colonel Paul Ironhorse. I wanted to delve more into the characters and play up the human drama. To do that, I had Suzanne go through perhaps the toughest character arc in having her lose her daughter at the end of the second season viral plague. I knew a casualty had to happen at the end of the season, and quite frankly, the death of Debi would put Suzanne in a very interesting (although admittedly, heartbreaking) position. Which was more important- getting vengeance on those responsible for her daughter's fate- or saving the future for the entire world? That dilemma appealed to me and I tried to add as much foreshadowing as I could for that crushing end.
  • Show more of the aliens. Year One did a great job having the human side established but the aliens were still very mysterious. I wanted to explore more of their social caste system and strategies. The Advocacy were always favorite characters of mine and I made a point to give them more scenes in my virtual seasons. Instead of Advocate #1, #2 & #3, I went by the names they were referred to in the series pilot novelization (Horek, Oshar and Xana)- and I admittedly gave Xana plenty of the best lines and development (mainly because Ilse Von Glatz was so wonderfully eerie as that Advocate).
  • Play up the wild cards- Quinn and Sylvia Van Buren. Quinn became the alien Iago/Caesar of WOTW with his maneuvers and power plays. When the virtual second season rolled around, I wanted to show that Quinn already knew that fellow aliens would not just accept him as leader over the Advocacy. So, Quinn had to make things happen- by working with members of the shadow government and also various government leaders, wealthy men, etc- who will fund and assist him in his goals of world domination. By the end of the second season Quinn becomes the most dangerous character in the series. He manages to steal a virus from Project 9 (a shadow government organization introduced in "The Raising of Lazarus"- who get plenty of development in the virtual seasons), strikes a deal with the Advocacy to give them the virus, in order for him to be granted amnesty.

Then, we find out he's playing everyone against each other- as he beds the Project 9
member, Lauren Oliphant- who is conspiring with him for his goal of recreating this planet in his image. At the end of the season finale, he also kidnaps Norton Drake- and experiments on him in order to see if he will be immune from the inevitable alien apocalypse. Meanwhile, Sylvia's descent into madness continues- but she still is a valuable ally of the Blackwood team. In many ways, she's an unofficial member. Her exposure to the irradiated alien tissue has made her incredibly unhinged but incredibly special- sort of a seer and prophet.

The future plans were:

  • I was going to try to wrap the entire virtual season arc by the end of the fourth virtual season (or possibly fifth). I was going to have the 3 million alien colonists arrive on Earth in the middle of complete turmoil on the planet. The much referenced but very unseen Council of Mor-Tax would be thrown in the forefront. And the humans would all be on the run from the alien threat. However, Quinn would still very much be a part of this whole invasion as he has many aces up his sleeve- one being Katara, the Qar'To Synth, whom he destroyed earlier in an early virtual season episode- but later gathered the remains and reprogrammed (and successfully manipulated). Along with that, he has also tried to amass a means of defense against his own kind for the colonization of Earth. But, in the end, Quinn's master plan (other than global domination) was about saving himself. He planned for an "Adam and Eve" program based around his prototypes, Paul Ironhorse and Lauren Oliphant- but the plan fell through over Lauren's death (at Quinn's hands) and Ironhorse's resistance to Quinn's temptations (which begins the rivalry between the two). In the end, Quinn is wounded by Ironhorse and upon seeing his blood spill, sees that he is more human than alien now, as he bleeds human blood. It becomes a flip side to the whole Pinocchio story, where being a human is the absolute WORST thing that could ever happen to Quinn. He survives but lives in isolation as an artist. And he spends the remainder of his time-alone and trapped with his bitterness.
  • Several new characters created for the virtual seasons received proper story arcs. Lauren Oliphant, the Mata-Hari- inspired informant of Harrison's, continues to play all sides. She relays information to Harrison at Quinn's behest, she betrays Quinn by assisting the Advocacy as a source of information, and also works for Project 9 and then, betrays them by giving their classified data to Quinn (and who knows how many others). She sleeps with Quinn and is enamored with her- but she intends to survive by covering all of her bases. She also is the prototype female for Quinn's "Adam and Eve" program but her plans fall apart with a botched auction where Quinn and the aliens (with their representative, the Supreme Commander of the alien army, Vassily) bid against one another- with neither party realizing who the other bidder would be until the last minute. Once the aliens recognize Oliphant, the cat is out of the bag, and Oliphant is held at gun-point by both Quinn and Vassily. The two enemies have a moment of teamwork when they turn their guns on the person who has deceived them both. Before she dies, Oliphant tries to talk her way out of her predicament, but this time, she was unable to lie her way out.
  • Vassily, the alien Supreme Commander, maintains his status and serves the Advocacy without question and remains vital to their invasion campaign. He meets his former leader, Quinn, at the auction and the two men join forces to take down a common foe in Lauren Oliphant. However, both men promise that they will kill each other the next time they meet. Vassily carries out the Advocacy's will without question and is involved until the end of the virtual seasons. He will die shortly before things fall apart.
  • Mr. Garvey, the head of the Project 9 organization (seen in "The Raising of Lazarus") continues his plans for using alien technology to try to subvert the impending alien arrival but is thwarted by former minion, Michael Kendall, who kills him via poisoning. Michael Kendall at this point of the story is a rogue agent let loose- killing hitmen sent after him and trying to attain as much power as he can. He fights his way to meeting with Garvey, and poisons his tea. With no Garvey, Project 9 collapses- since he was instrumental in building the group. Michael Kendall goes back on the run after killing Garvey, steals some alien technology, and goes on the lam (after backstabbing the alien Greys that were featured in the virtual seasons)

  • Norton would be the guinea pig experimented on by Quinn that proved successful. He would be immune to all viral threats, and has heightened senses- along with (as the end of the virtual third season would reveal), the ability to walk. Norton, is irate about being used in such a manner- but he continues to fight the war alongside Harrison, Suzanne and Ironhorse’s side (all of whom survive in the end).

  • The team were going to find the aliens underground cavern at the end of the third season as well, but the aliens (knowing who is involved in the resistance against them)- are thinking ahead, and evacuate beforehand to a new location, and rig the place to explode. Fortunately, Katara also happens to be there, and manages through her powers to stop the explosion from destroying them and spreading a cloud of radiation into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, the aliens finally get their means to conquer Earth’s bacteria by simply building up a tolerance to it. The aliens now could possess bodies forever, and the Advocacy have clones developed that they will use as host bodies (the Advocates have the design of the clones created to their specifications- while the other aliens just possess humans).

  • The aliens would fall eventually, but that ending was going to honor the premise behind the original H.G. Wells novel. After everything man had done, it was going to be something already established in the universe that would knock the aliens out. I didn’t want it to be inter-alien politics or a teenager with a gun (what the hell were you thinking Frank Mancuso, Jr.?!!)

    And I went back and read some of the episodes of the virtual seasons. It was a mixed bag. I felt the virtual season 2 opener (“They Fall Upon the Swords”) had a good idea but I don’t think I told the story in the most coherent or proper manner. I felt the pace was a bit too slapdash with characters being thrown all over the place until I kill off General Wilson. I don’t know, I think I could’ve written it (and General Wilson’s death especially- I don’t think he would be the type to quote Tennyson) a lot better in hindsight. I did like the second episode of the virtual second season (“Children of God”) a lot better mainly because the premise of the aliens experimenting on children receiving what they believe are allergy shots- with alien DNA is creepy to me.

    The third episode of the virtual second season (“The Three Wise Men”), is something I can’t defend. Perhaps, it’s a good scene here and there but the premise is just something that unraveled on me (alien supersoldiers losing their minds on the drugs they’re being pumped up with? Ehhh, I could’ve done better). I don’t think I got a good grasp of things until episode 7 of the virtual second season (“Sodom and Gomorrah”) with the aliens using a Neo-Nazi group to incite an open race war. Everything seemed to flow in that episode, the black humor, the story and I love the ending with Vassily in the body of a black man, scaring the bejesus out of the Neo-Nazi and gift-wrapping him to be slaughtered in the communities he terrorized. Very poetic. “For He Cometh In With Vanity” (episode 9 of the virtual second season) is my absolute favorite episode I wrote in the entire run because to me it’s an absolute black comedy laced with sadness (my attempts to channel my inner Darin Morgan or Charlie Kaufman…although, I have nothing on the genius of those two). To say that Walter Parks mirrors me in ways would be an understatement. I consider this to be the best of the virtual seasons because you have an absolute parody of the ugliness of Hollywood and something truly sad, a man whose only dream is to make something great. But broken hearted that his dream is taken away and shitted on by studio bigwigs. It’s my favorite.

    After that, the episodes seemed to be consistently better in my opinion. “Leviathan” (episode 10 of the virtual second season) worked well and seemed to be well-received, as the aliens completely outwitted the team. And following that, I think the episodes got very entrenched in the mythology but were plotted very well. I’m proud of the work I did for the virtual seasons overall (along with the occasional guest-writer I worked along with or who wanted to write an episode).

    All in all, I’m very proud of my work. As a writer, sometimes you feel disconnected with what you right before, but this time, I look back on these episodes with fondness. I feel like a proud father of a child that had some problems in the beginning, but came along beautifully after the first few missteps.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Charlie Brooker Is Right On The Money

I found this on youtube, and I must implore to people who have never seen the show- get it on DVD now!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

David Simon article on "Treme"

Here's a great article on the new series, TREME, which is created by David Simon:

David Simon: 'Treme is a story about how American urban culture defines how we live'

The creator of The Wire discusses Martin Amis, Baltimore accents and Treme, his upcoming TV show

David Simon, creator of The Wire.

David Simon, creator of The Wire. Photograph: Graham Jepson/Writer Pictures

Tell me about Treme, the show set in New Orleans you're currently producing.

It's a very different piece from The Wire. We're not trying to do a crime story or a political story. This is a story about culture and how American urban culture defines how we live. New Orleans is an extraordinary and unusual culture, but it comes from the same primal forces in American society of immigration and assimilation and non-assimilation and racism and post-racialism that really are the defining characteristics of this melting pot society. What is it about Americans that makes us Americans? The one thing we have unarguably given the world is African-American music. If you walk into a shebeen in South Africa, or whatever version of a bar they have in Kathmandu, if they have a jukebox, you're going to find some Michael Jackson, some Otis Redding, some John Coltrane. It has gone around the world. That is the essential American contribution to worldwide culture. The combination of African rhythms and the pentatonic scale and European instrumentation and arrangement. That collision of the two happened in a 12-square block area of a city called New Orleans that had a near-death experience in 2005.

What shape is New Orleans in now?

Before the storm, the city had the highest ratio population in America of natives, because nobody left. But people have not been able to get back. I would say only about two-thirds have returned. The housing stock is still diminished. The political infrastructure is still dysfunctional – it still has lots of crime problems. But the culture is resurgent and right now the city is ecstatic. Mardi Gras has just finished but also the Super Bowl has brought the city together. There was an allegiance over the Saints march to the Super Bowl that transcended all other arguments over race and class. How long that lasts is another thing. But right now the city's riding a peculiar high that's wonderful to be around.

There were plenty of in-jokes in The Wire, with local figures like the real police commissioner cast in an unlikely role. Do you get up to similar antics in Treme?

Yeah, we do. There are references to locals and some lines that only New Orleanians will get but they won't interfere with the contextual understanding of the scenes as a whole for viewers outside New Orleans. But for people in the music community and in the cuisine culture, these lines are going to be inside jokes. It's one way of saying that we want the show to be written from within rather than without. When you write from the inside, it creates a credibility for the piece for a whole. There were lines in Generation Kill that only a marine would laugh at.

Martin Amis was an early fan of yours. Do you reciprocate that interest?

Before I got together with my current wife, we were co-workers in prior relationships at the Baltimore Sun. One day she came back from interviewing Martin Amis and he had been reading Homicide in preparation for writing Night Train. To her, I'm the ink-stained schnook and she came up to my desk and said: "You're not going to believe this but I've just interviewed Martin Amis and he thinks you're the bee's knees." Because I was so ignorant, I said: "Who's Martin Amis?" She ran through his canon and I got nothing. And she goes, "Kingsley Amis's son?" And I go, "Who's Kingsley Amis?" Last year we went out to dinner with Martin – I've since read a lot of his books – and I told him that story by way of saying, "This is the ignorant unread ass I was and, look, she still married me!"

Your work pays a great deal of attention to authentic detail. It was surprising to discover, therefore, how many British and Irish actors you cast in The Wire.

Sometimes a guy comes in and nails a part in an evocative way and you think he can do it. And when you get a read like that, you hear the accent and the cultural differences and you say, "Well, can we get there?" That's what happened with Dominic [West], Idris [Elba] and Aidan [Gillen]. None of them was able to get a Baltimore accent. But none of the black or white actors from New York or LA was able to get a Baltimore accent. It's the toughest. There are people who tell me it is reminiscent of what you hear in Devon and Cornwall. I went to see War Horse in London last year. When the woman who played the Devon farm wife came out with her first line of dialogue, my son and I turned to each other and we both said: "She's from Baltimore."

Any compromising stories about Dominic West?

His first season in Baltimore seemed to suggest that bacchanalian feats would be legendary and the town would never be the same again. Then Dominic hooked up with his wife midway through our run, and he became as quiet and temperate as a church mouse. The thing is, Dominic is really smart and he hides it. There's a degree from Trinity College there and a lot of book learning and a lot of cultural points that do not elude him. He plays the Jack the Lad character, but he directed for us and he did a good job. I want to use him on Treme if we get a second season.

How do you think Obama is doing?

I'm a little disappointed, but actually what I'm most disappointed in is the Democratic leadership in the Congress. This new administration's own inexperience, coupled with some really ineffectual law-making, have conspired to grind the body politic to a halt. The money interests have managed once again to make us inert.

You've gone from the desert to a flood, a biblical transition. What's next up, pestilence?

Yeah, or frogs, or vermin, or death of the first-born. The next project, in terms of producing, is this mini-series based on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. It was an act of terrorism in war time that shocked the entire nation and it resulted in some very rational immediate reaction on the part of the government and then some other things that were irrational and destructive, right down to military tribunals. It has a lot of parallels to the 9/11 moment.

Interview by Andrew Anthony

THE WIRE gag reel

On the whole subject of THE WIRE, I happened to find this today and it made me smile.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"The Avon Barksdale Story: Legends of the Unwired" review

When I saw the trailer for this, I wasn't impressed, but I wanted to be fair and see this documentary of the real Avon Barksdale (his full name is Nathan Avon Barksdale with the nickname "Bodie").

I should have trusted my instincts.

I don't think I have the proper adjectives to fully describe what a deplorable piece this truly is. It may indeed be one of the worst things I've ever seen on film, and that's saying a lot, because I have truly seen some garbage in my years.

This movie is basically a feature-length glorification of this mass-murderer who feels exploited by David Simon and the crew of THE WIRE. Apparently, he believes that THE WIRE should be an accurate recounting of his life- as opposed to what it is, a very realistic- yet, fictional tale. Yes, the show has an Avon Barksdale- but THE WIRE's Avon Barksdale is created from a variety of criminal composites- mainly, Warren Boardley.

The entire first season Barksdale case also was inspired by the cases of Little Melvin Williams and Lamont 'Chin' Farmer. I'm sure that some instances may have been inspired by "Bodie" Barksdale, but he doesn't seem to understand that David Simon created a fictitious storyline for five years. So, excuse me if his whole angle of being misrepresented makes me just want to cry invisible tears.

In fact what offends me so much about this movie is that it is the polar opposite of what THE WIRE represents. THE WIRE is a very harsh show, but it's a very human, deep series that juggles a variety of socio-economic issues that America is afraid of talking about.

Whereas, THE AVON BARKSDALE STORY, is a cheap attempt to cash in on the popularity of the series. This film is just a giant glorification of drug dealing and murdering. And the re-enactment scenes are just atrocious. With the bad acting, directing and choice of music, it just fails on every level (the thing that offended me the most is the murder scenes having a ridiculous hip hop soundtrack with the chorus, "Time to die motherfucker, time to die..."). And call me crazy, but shouldn't re-enactment scenes be semi-realistic of that time and era?

These re-enactment scenes have people wearing modern clothes for scenes supposed to happen years ago- and the most laughable was a copy of THE WIRE season 4 prominently displayed on a desk in one flashback.

It's just so abysmal, and may feature the worst narration in cinema history. How bad you say? The narrator refers to Barksdale's crimes as "shenanigans".

Yeah, I would define shenanigans as harmless, practical fun. A mass-murdering sociopath who reigned terror on a city with his violent ways is pretty fucking far from any definition you may have of harmless.

Here was David Simon's response to the whole thing:

Reached via e-mail while on location in Europe, David Simon rejects any notion that Bodie Barksdale or Kenny Jackson or anyone for that matter is a model for any character in The Wire. "It seems that Mr. Jackson and Mr. Barksdale feel it was our obligation to tell an empirical truth about the history of the drug trade in Baltimore, or at least their version of that truth and further, to consult them about their version of that truth," Simon writes. "Given that The Wire is fictional, we are at a loss to respond intelligently. Specifically, Nathan Barksdale and Kenny Jackson do not exist in the world of The Wire. And indeed, if we are writing fiction, aren't we trying at points to avoid empirical truth entirely?"

Final verdict: THE WIRE is the greatest piece of art ever put on television and one of the finest things ever filmed. This Avon Barksdale DVD is trash and if you see it and pick up the DVD, wash your hands please- the stench may stay with you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Grindhouse review

Written on April 8, 2007.

There were movies that I am interested in for 2007 but the one that meant the most to me was the debut of GRINDHOUSE- the Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature collaboration. The more I read about the film, the more anxious I was to see it. Now, Quentin Tarantino means the absolute world to me. I love his films. I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Writing was always the thing I loved doing the most- however, I never knew how I wanted to utilize it. Whether it would be in film, television, poetry, novels, etc. Then when I saw PULP FICTION in the theater, I had a revelation. Film was definitely the path I wanted to pursue. No matter how hard it was. I wanted to do it.

I never saw someone flip the script on generic movies and just really make something so captivating. Clever storytelling, great characters, excellent direction and dialogue. And it's dialogue that is witty yet if you really think about it, the shit that most normal people talk about. Ever since then, I've been a devout Tarantino follower. So devout that I would watch anything Quentin makes- even if he makes a 3 hour period piece to the wonders of menopause. I would still watch that. Quentin was just a regular guy who never went to film school- who was just a geek of cinema/tv like myself. I always saw a kindred spirit in him thus, I am a disciple of Tarantino. And not ashamed to say that.

Rodriguez I love as well (although admittedly, I'm not as avid a fan of his as I am Quentin)- I think El Mariachi is a masterpiece and SIN CITY remains the best film Rodriguez has done as of yet. But he's balls to wall action and delivers the high octane thrills that are missing in film. And he earns my respect because Rodriguez is one of the best action directors out there. And quite frankly, he understands the beauty of visuals and he is responsible for great imagery in his movies.

So, Tarantino and Rodriguez team up for the double feature, Grindhouse- their homage to exploitation flicks that were so out there and hardcore that they could only play in the grindhouse movie houses that were so popular in the 1970s particularly. The joy I felt when I saw this movie is hard to describe. I just didn't feel like I was watching a movie- I felt like it was an event. This movie basically had me feeling the nostalgia I would for a movie from the 1970s- a time when movies actually meant something and allowed certain freedom with storytelling.

I have seen the movie twice already- once was on Tuesday for a premiere screening that was mainly for press but there were fortunately free tickets being given away the previous weekend for the premiere. After the premiere, I walked home until past 1am in the morning- on foot. But it didn't matter. Because a Tarantino flick is worth my feet hurting me. I will only go out of my way for his films. Fuck pain- if I can have the joy of seeing a new Tarantino film- I'll go through pain.

The movie opens with the old school "coming attractions" tag that one would see in theaters way back when. The first faux trailer plays to the audience it is:


Oh could tell this was the work of Rodriguez (which it is) because of the shameless absurdity of the violence and for shining the spotlight on one of his favorites- Danny Trejo. This fake trailer was outstanding- it captured what the feel and attitude of these grindhouse flicks really are. Basically, "Machete" is a federale from Mexico who is hired to do assassination jobs for hardly any money- but to him is a great amount of cash. But he is set up, which drives Machete to revenge. He teams up with his priest brother (Cheech Marin who plays according to what the credits say- Father Benecio Del and seeks vengeance on those who tried to wrong him. You can't go wrong with anything with Danny Trejo. You can't go wrong with Cheech Marin shooting at everyone while a priest. And also you can't go wrong with the tagline of Machete:

"They just fucked with the wrong Mexican!"

Fucking priceless.

Now time for the feature presentation:

The first part of the double feature starts and it's Rodriguez's contribution. We start off with Rodriguez's rollicking GRINDHOUSE main title score and visuals of Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan) dancing erotically at a gogo club. As the song ends, Cherry is crying- with tears streaming her face. Love that visual. Sort of reminded me on Man Ray's "Tears" photo. I've often complained in the past about Rose McGowan's lack of range but I've also attributed that to the lackluster roles she was given throughout the years. Rodriguez seems to UNDERSTAND her completely and gives her meaty material to actually work with. Anyway, Cherry decides to leave her gogo job and pursue other avenues with her life/career. She departs and sees briefly on the road- Abby (played by Naveen Andrews- who plays Sayid on LOST)- a scientist who is about profit more than he is about actual science. We see Abby finding out that three zombie like creatures have escaped and could possibly contaminate the town.

Well, Abby requests something from the guy who botched up and allowed the test subjects to escape. What that is? Well besides his life- he wants the guy's balls. Literally. Then, tables turn on Abby when Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis) wants to know "Where is the shit?"

Abby dodges death by shooting at tanks releasing a gas into the air- which pleases Muldoon and his men (whose faces are near to explode from bubbling pustules). Abby escapes and we see Cherry Darling eating at JT's Grill ("Best in Texas" as JT often likes to remind us)- she meets up with her old boyfriend, El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez in a stellar performance). The two discuss the ending of their relationship and Wray keeps lamenting that Cherry stole his jacket that he has been looking for nearly 2 weeks. He does oblige to give her a ride while we meet the unhappily married couple of Dr. William Block (Josh Brolin) and Dr. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton). Dakota is planning on running away with her ex lesbian lover (played by Fergie). However, Dakota's plans go awry when the zombie infection plagues the hospital- and ultimately ends up with her ex lover, Tammy being a casualty of the zombies in the process.

Doc Block adds up two and two and confronts Dakota about it in a chilling scene- and breaks her down (with the assistance of some "friends" that Dakota discussed earlier) and confirms her betrayal. Before he can kill her, Doc Block is called to oversee the whole hell that has been flooding the hospital. El Wray and Cherry are attacked by the zombies- causing Cherry to lose her leg. We cut to Wray in the hospital and the arrival of Sheriff Hauge (Michael Biehn who was wonderfully cast- the guy was Hicks in ALIENS, fucking Reese in Terminator- was in the Abyss. The guy is SOLID for days)- who believes that Wray is a menace, arrests him. Also I had to love that Biehn is supported by Tom Savini and Carlos Gallardo (the original fucking El Mariachi!) as his deputies. Savini is given some good material and although Carlos was offed very quickly by the bloodthirsty zombies- the guy is always great.

By the way, lots of small references here in there in the movie. El Wray is given a pack of Red Apples cigarettes (referring to PULP FICTION and KILL BILL- that brand name is a QT staple) and also a major death in the next movie, DEATH PROOF is mentioned. "Jungle Julia: In Memorial" is said on the radio. So, Death Proof is chronologically ahead of PLANET TERROR if we are to take things into consideration.

But I almost forgot about the plot...I'm sorry, I was getting lost in the sheer joy of the flick. The movie kicks into overdrive with the zombies now increasing their numbers and attacking everyone. Doc Block has been infected but Dakota escapes being trapped in a closet and manages to contact her father- Texas Ranger Earl McGraw. Great choice to bring Earl back (he was in FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, KILL BILL)- he's one of the greatest characters that Tarantino ever wrote for and for God's sake, Michael Parks OWNS that role. His delivery, and his lines are sheer genius. He's the quintessential movie cowboy. You have to love him. And the line: "Goddamn woman, you're farting like a pack mule" is classic. You just have to hear Michael deliver that line. And Earl is on his way- while Dakota grabs her son from (and this is what the credits labeled them as and I get a little giddy saying it): The Crazy Babysitting Twins. Can Rodriguez put them in every single one of his movies? I love these insane putas.

"We gonna kill you ya fucking bitch!!!" You have to see these real life twins being complete terrorizing bitches. I absolute adore them. Kudos Robert on casting them. So, during the midst of the action, El Wray manages to rescue Cherry and replaces her missing leg with a table leg which has to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen. And El Wray also manages to enter the hospital and kicks ass in one of the greatest bad-ass entrances ever. The dude does a gravity-defying Bruce Lee run up and off the wall before dispensing of the zombies in all its gory beauty.

Later on Cherry and El Wray realize they have feelings for each still and have sex. In the midst of the steamy love scene- we see that there is a MISSING REEL and that the rest of the sex scene is gone along with important plot points. We cut to JT's Grill- which is now on fire. I love shit like that in the film. Intentionally doing that and despite that, the transition seems like a natural one. However, The Sheriff learns El Wray's true history according to dialogue (and must have happened during the missing reel)- and orders his surviving deputy (who accidentally shot Hauge in between the missing reel) to give El Wray all the guns he needs. With El Wray's leadership- the town survivors manage to escape. Dakota is in tow (her son died by accidentally shooting himself. Too bad cause the kid's line, "I want to eat your brains and gain your knowledge" when he was playing with his toys was absolutely adorable) with them along with the Crazy Babysitting Twins, Cherry's former boss and others. Poor Tom Savini gets offed in a very grisly way that honors Savini perfectly.

Muldoon's men capture the survivors and throw them in with other "rebels" including Abby from earlier. He reveals to them that these men are depending on the gas like a drug of a sort- and Quentin guest stars in the outing by playing Louis "The Rapist"- a deviant who cannot wait to fuck Cherry. He likes her stump because it makes her less likely to get away. Why is Quentin always cast as the pervert/deviant? I swear, first it's Richard Gecko and now it's this. But Quentin is good and manages to deliver chills with his line about Cherry not looking like Ava Gardner if he shoots her. Cherry calling him a tool afterwards was beautiful.

El Wray manages to round up everybody and escape- while Sheriff Houge and JT (brothers in the film) stay behind. Abby and El Wray find out from Muldoon what the hell is going on. Apparently, he killed Bin Laden- and his great reward was his men and him being infected with this gas. They need more of it to survive but Muldoon laments that he had no choice. El Wray manages to end Muldoon's pain by killing him. The Rapist is looking for a fun time with Cherry but she manages to use her "useless talents" to hurt The Rapist. And I MEAN HURT HIM. El Wray finds his girl and equips her with a gun for a new leg. How the fuck can you top that? That is just too cool. Cherry starts kicking ass and the rebels realize they are the potential antidote because they are not infected. They try to board two helicopters that will take them to Mexico. Abby dies (more like his head gets blown up) and El Wray dies in the firefight. He tells Cherry that it will indeed be the "Two of them against the world". Soon it will be at least. He never misses- as he points towards her soon to be pregnant stomach. With tears in her eyes, Cherry leaves with the survivors as El Wray dies.

Later, Cherry explains that things worked out exactly like Wray told her it would. She is leading the hopeless, the survivors- and taking them to the new home for the second wave of humanity in Mexico. Complete with an update for her leg naturally.

Great first installment. I like the in your face gore and non-stop action of this film. And again, Michael Parks was utilized wonderfully as Earl McGraw. He came back at the end to waste the zombified Doc Block. "I never liked that sonofabitch anyway". I'm telling you- Michael says the lines with such sly delivery. I adore the guy. It was nice to see Rose actually have some material she can do something with. And man, I loved Michael Biehn in this film. It was good to see him with material that he could sink his teeth into (so to speak). And there's something so enjoyable about watching Fergie be an early victim of the zombies. I don't know why I enjoyed it so much- but I did. And Freddy Rodriguez OWNS as El Wray. He just has this bad-ass attitude but manages to convey great warmth in his performance.

What I love about grindhouse (the actual genre itself)- is that even though the budget isn't there- the heart is. And "Planet Terror" has both working for it. And even when Muldoon explains exactly WHY what is happening is happening- you just accept it. This is a rollercoaster ride and you are enjoying yourself the entire time. The film is intentionally deteriorated and scratched- like true authentic grindhouse films. Beautiful.

Okay before I can comment on Quentin's contribution...we have some fake trailers to look at that played during the intermission. First is Rob Zombie's offering:


I could actually imagine this movie being made way back when. Rob has a good knack of understanding wacked movies from back in the day- and this is sublime. I love the fact that they had Nic Cage as "Fu Manchu"- "THIS IS MY MECCA!!!!!!!!" Awesome. The whole audience really loved this one.

Next up is a commercial for the Acuna Boys Authentic Tex-Mex Food. Wait a second, that was the name of Esteban Vihaio's gang in KILL BILL Vol. 2. Very good reference that your casual fan might miss. Now it's time for Edgar Wright's (Shaun of the Dead)contribution, DON'T...

By far this was the funniest trailer (although Machete is close behind)- with the repeated "Don't" used for excellent comedic effect. I love how accurate this is though about how the narrator would put a spin on a movie being scarier than it actually might be.

And finally, Eli Roth's offering- "Thanksgiving". What can I say about it that hasn't been said already? Wow. He totally captured the whole slasher trend of the early 1980s that focused on holidays. And the trampoline split? Yikes.

My favorite part is the deputy licking the blood and going, "It's blood"- and Michael Biehn does the dramatically cheesy, "Son-of-a-bitch!"

And now on to the second feature.


The movie opens with classic Quentin- a closeup of feet on a driving wheel. Quentin is an unabashed foot fetishist and makes it a point to focus on that body part in all of his films. The film opens with a rollicking opening which is "The Last Race" by Jack Nitzsche. We find Jungle Julia Lucai- a popular Austin DJ hanging out with her friends, Arlene and Shanna. The first half of the film has us getting to know these girls through dialogue. It's Julia's birthday and she is enamored with a filmmaker named Christian Simonson who we come to understand through dialogue is not as enamored with Julia. The girls spend a good portion of the movie talking about life- and their love lives. Arlene seems to be a bit on the conservative side as well.

Julia informs Arlene about a bit she did on the air. If any man calls Arlene "Butterfly" and buys her a drink, and recites certain segments of the poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"- will be rewarded by a lap dance. However, Julia tells Arlene that she can discriminate who she can or cannot give the lap dance to. Arlene is not too happy to go along with that but Arlene spots a car that belongs to a character we will know soon as Stuntman Mike.

Celebrating at a bar, there were no takers on the lap dance- which saddens Arlene a bit. At the bar, a childhood rival of the girls named Pam (Rose McGowan) arrives and needs a ride home. Lo and behold, the mysterious Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) volunteers to drive her home. Pam is skeptical of the name "Stuntman Mike" until she asks Warren (Quentin Tarantino)- the head of the bar. He informs her that his name is indeed Stuntman Mike and Stuntman Mike is what else- "a stuntman". Pam notices that Mike has a vested interest in Arlene, Julia and Shanna. Speaking of Shanna, I loved her rant about "girls named Shanna hate being called Shauna"- because I have heard the same rant in real life from a real Shanna. So, Quentin knows how to pay attention to shit.

Mike begins to talk to Julia and her friends and asks if Julia is the local DJ. She confirms that she is and then Mike recites the segment of the poem to Arlene, buys her a drink and calls her "Butterfly". Originally, Julia tells Mike that Arlene already did the lap dance tonight- but Mike determines that she didn't. In fear of being called chickenshit, Arlene promises Mike the lap dance which leads to...

A MISSING REEL that is intentionally left out. By the way, I know the lap dance scene was filmed because it was shown in the trailer and also written in the script. So, in the DVD- I'm sure they will show the lapdance.

Pam and Mike leave- and Pam wonders exactly why the passenger seat is so fucked up. Mike discusses that its because Hollywood directors want cameras in those seats for certain shots. A bit confused, Pam still sits in the "passenger side". Mike then shows why his car is death proof (or at least his side) as he speeds the car and swerves it to have Pam injured and then speeds it up and breaks it hard to kill her by the impact of her body hit the Plexiglass side she's on. I felt bad that Pam died so brutally but they painted her to be so innocent and killing of an innocent is always the most traumatizing. And then Mike decides to kill the rest of his girlfriends (Julia, Arlene, Shanna) and in a beautifully constructed death scene put to the music of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich- he does.

We see various shots of the each girl's demise. Julia's leg flying out the window- Shanna flying in the air and hitting the pavement hard- and Arlene closing her eyes bracing herself for the death as her head gets obliterated. Mike's car crashes and we are stunned and shocked at the carnage.

What Quentin managed to do is to have us know these girls and get to like them- and just with one fell swoop- kills them all. He has a knack for us hanging out with the characters that he will most likely take out somewhere during the movie (Jackie Brown is a prime example, and also Jules and Vincent talking in PULP FICTION is another).

We see that Texas Ranger Earl McGraw (Michael Parks again- fuck yeah!) and his son, Edgar (James Parks- the real life son of Michael who was in KILL BILL with him) are investigating the murders. Mike is alive and not too bad off- but the girls are all dead. Earl is convinced after talking with his daughter, Dr. Dakota Block (from PLANET TERROR) that Mike is the one who killed those girls. "A case of vehicular homicide"- with the car being used as the weapon. The D.A. won't do anything to Mike but Earl intends for Mike not to do that in Texas again.

Mike relocates to Tennessee and follows four new girls- Zoe Bell (a real life stuntwoman from Xena and KILL BILL), Abbernathy (Rosario Dawson), Kim (Tracie Thoms), Lee Montgomery (Mary Elizabeth Winstead)- an actress. Zoe and Kim are stuntpeople as well. And now, we get to know this group of girls as they exchange stories on their love lives and how Abbernathy deserved to have her filmmaker beau cheat on her when she wasn't giving it up. And Kim explains how she carries a gun and the necessity of using it. The best part was when Kim explained how carrying a knife is pointless.

"The thing about people who carry knives- you know what happens to them? THEY GET SHOT!"

Zoe's into getting a 1970 Dodge Challenger like the one in VANISHING POINT and test driving it. The girls meet the owner of the car, and Zoe/Abbernathy/Kim decide to test drive it while leaving Lee as collateral for the owner, a redneck named Jasper (who was the Trucker who was going to fuck the Bride in KILL BILL when the orderly was pimping her comatose body out).

Zoe and Kim then test out the car by having Zoe laying out on the front windshield as Kim drives at high speed. Mike- who has been watching them- speeds after them and crashes into them repeatedly- almost killing Zoe numerous times. After congratulating the girls on a good chase and a fun time- Mike is ready to leave but Kim shoots him in the arm. As he speeds away, and with Zoe ("The cat" who can survive anything) okay- the three girls decide to teach Mike a lesson.

Mike- who gets off on the collisions, cannot come and is forced to drink to soothe his wounds. Then, her comes Zoe who starts striking Mike with a metal pipe. Driving away, the girls chase Mike and then finally crash into him- causing him to break his arm. The girls proceed to beat the living shit out of him- and Abbernathy impales him with her boot.


I stood up and applauded the end and so did the rest of the audience. It didn't just end- it ended on a fucking exclamation mark. As much as I love Planet Terror, Death Proof really resonated with me. Perhaps, it's because it's Tarantino and I love his style and dialogue so much. Or perhaps, I'm a fan of movies like this. We got to hang out with the original first three "girls" and it really was painful to watch them die in such grisly ways (mainly Arlene who had such a sweet pain about her). It was so final, and there was such a horror about that. So, when he received his comeuppance at the hands of three girls who were the wrong ones to fuck with- I was overjoyed. His "apologies" at the end were hilarious.

I know originally Mickey Rourke was supposed to play Mike and I think he would have done a great job but this was really Kurt Russell's time to shine again and he absolutely kicked ass. The look he gave before he drove away with Pam was too cool. It's time for Kurt Russell to start fucking kicking ass in films again.

I felt horrible for Pam because she was so terrified and helpless. The look on her eyes before she passed was really powerful. Again, his payback at the end, was well worth it.

How awesome it was to see more of Michael Parks as Earl McGraw. And Edgar- his "Son Number 1". I want QT to do a whole spin-off series with those two. They're cinema gems.

And now I realize why I love Rosario Dawson so much. She's so sexy by not even trying to be sexy. I just adore her. And I have fallen for Zoe Bell. Her accent, her strength and sweetness.

All in all, a slam dunk. Quentin delivered just like Robert. GRINDHOUSE is not just a fucking movie, it's an epic event. If you don't see it in the theater- you are missing out and are a loser in my eyes. If you don't watch it period- you are twice the loser.

This movie is worth every penny I paid for it. And I am so thankful that I've gotten to see it. Kudos to everyone involved.

The Dark Knight review

Written on July 18, 2008

First things first:

Christopher Nolan, thank you for doing the Batman series justice. If he was here now, I would give him the best handjob that he would ever have the displeasure of receiving. I would have to give it out of respect and admiration. "The Dark Knight" isn't just good, it's amazing. It is (at least in terms of sequels) to "Batman Begins" what "Aliens" was to "Alien", and "The Empire Strikes Back" was to "Star Wars".

Sycophantic fanboy hyperbole on my part? Hardly.

Anyone who knows me can vouch that I'm a huge Batman fan. Damn near bordering on fanatical obsession. And over three years ago, I was convinced that the Batman series on film was dead. I mean, after the steaming pile of cinematic turd that is "Batman and Robin", I didn't think the franchise could rebound. How do you come back from a bad-pun filled movie with bat-nipples, lame gags and goofy characters? Then, I was reading that they were going to reinvent the franchise with Chris Nolan's take on Batman (from David Goyer's script). I was curious because I thought Christian Bale was a perfect choice because he had the abilities to be both Batman and Bruce Wayne.

I walked out of "Batman Begins" absolutely knocked for a loop. It not not only resurrected the Batman franchise but finally Batman was done right. The character arcs were developed and the tone was as serious as the comics/animated series. Also, Gotham itself was a character in the movie. It didn't feel like a cheap prop that was just in the background. But I was even more excited after seeing the ending with Gordon showing Batman the Joker card. I was anxious to see their interpretation of the Joker and if it was going to be accurate. The Joker after all is my favorite character in the Batman world (Harley Quinn is tied up there as well for my love) and if you do this character, it needs to be done right.

People- Heath Ledger is the only Joker that matters (the only other Joker that I love beside him is Mark Hamill's Joker in the cartoon). He IS that character. I nearly did a backflip at how well Chris Nolan (and co-writers Jonathan Nolan and David Goyer) understood this character. Unlike Tim Burton's 1989 movie, we have no simplistic way of explaining the Joker- he isn't some thug named Jack Napier who falls into acid and then becomes a homicidal arch-nemesis to Batman. In this film, he is how he is portrayed in the comics- he's just a nameless sociopath who put on clown makeup and decided to wreck havoc on the city.

The way Heath is able to become this character is truly superb and I think it would be sacrilegious for anyone other than Heath to portray Joker in the Nolan-produced Batman movies. This Joker is some comedic goofball, this man is a deranged, brilliant psychopath who the mob of Gotham unknowingly put their trust behind. And what misplaced faith it will ultimately be.

I love how every rendition of the story of how he got his mouth to be cut is different than the other. I think the Joker is such a compulsive liar- that he actually believes each version he tells. Perhaps, because the story seems better when he tells it. I think my favorite one is the one he tells Rachel, just because of how passionate Joker gets when he tells it.

When I think of this movie, I remind myself of Yeats, "The Second Coming" poem. "The center cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world". Batman has unleashed that anarchy on the world, and that anarchy is The Joker. And like a great painter, the Joker paints on a canvas of chaos with gunpowder and explosives being his paint. He cannot be bought, reasoned to, or bullied. He is as devoted to his cause as Batman is devoted to his. And Ledger's performance is so brilliant, you almost feel sympathy for the character. I had to remind myself at how the Joker is just a mass-murdering monster- and that the plane that the Joker is coming from is madness.

But ahhh, does he ever look good in a nurse's get-up and my God, can he ever do a magic trick (hide your pencils).

Unlike Bruce Wayne, who tries to see the best in people- the Joker only sees the worst and can only view the fallacies of mankind. He views life as a constant joke and the only point a person's life has is their punchline in death. Operating on sheer unbridled hatred, the Joker is a force of nature that cannot be stopped. And his motivation is to try to push people (mainly Batman) over the edge and become as corruptible as he is. Although, he doesn't succeed with Batman, the Joker does find a surrogate with Harvey Dent. The Joker wants to destroy every institution- criminal syndicates, the law, etc. Nothing would amuse him more than watching the citizens of Gotham turning on each other. And for a while, I was convinced that he would do it. Flicking his serpentine tongue throughout the film, the Joker is the closest thing to Lucifer the Batman world has experienced.

As dark as this movie is (and I love how Nolan makes this film a genuine film noir), I love how there are slivers of hope. Humanity will still triumph in the darkest hours (kind of paraphrasing Harvey Dent's speech).

The scenes with the Joker and Batman actually talking with each other is some of the best dialogue I've heard in cinema ever. You have two men diametrically opposed to each other but laying everything out on the table. It's damn near literary-worthy.

Heath better get an Oscar for this performance. It's not just Oscar worthy, it's a career-making performance. He has done something never done with the character and the Joker leaning outside the police car listening to the symphony of destruction he is creating, is haunting. Jack Nicholson's Joker doesn't even fucking exist to me. Heath's Joker is the only one that matters.

I would say the movie is dominated by the Joker and Harvey Dent. Actually, Harvey may have the biggest character arc of the film. When we see him, he's an idealistic district attorney who is dating Rachel Dawes, but commands Bruce Wayne's respect. He is "the white knight of Gotham" and perhaps, what this town needs to clean up the mob and make Gotham no longer need Batman.

Aaron Eckhardt's performance is nothing short of remarkable and he makes you love Harvey Dent so much that when he eventually becomes Two-Face, and will lead to the inevitable conclusion, you cannot help but feel heartbroken. You really get to love Harvey and admire the man's gusto and dedication to cleaning up the streets. And he does keep with the flipping coin bit, however, when he is Harvey he has control. He doesn't let chance control him. When he is Two-Face, he is so torn by duality, he allows all of his decisions to be controlled by chance. His evolution is fully fleshed out. There is no Spiderman 3-rushed development as with Venom. This is a well-written arc.

Chance, sacrifice and the duality of man are all themes that play into this film and by the end of the movie, you feel that every character cannot walk away unscathed. Everyone has their hands dirty by the end and The Joker is pulling the strings the entire time, watching as men devour each other in calamity.

Maggie Gyllenhaal, steps in for Katie Holmes in the Rachel Dawes role and gives the character depth and range that Katie had no ability to convey. She is spunky, smart, conflicted and a ray of hope that Harvey and Bruce cannot help but gravitate to. And there will be a crucial moment for Rachel's character, which is so rich in tragedy, that you cannot help but feel torn up. Mainly because of the consequences the scene will create.

Michael Caine- what else can I say? Has there ever been a better Alfred? He remains Bruce's truest ally and his constant in his worst moments. And Morgan Freeman steals every scene as Lucius Fox, who brought the house down with his line after a man was trying to blackmail Wayne Enterprises about Batman's real identity.

No plot thread is left dangling.

We see how the criminal underworld has changed and the climate will never be the same. There is a brief scene with Scarecrow (played beautifully by Cillian Murphy) as we realize that Nolan's world will have continuity. While the regular criminals are concerned with the effects that the drugs Scarecrow is distributing are having on their customers- the Scarecrow doesn't care. He is all about bringing out fear. The old school mob cannot comprehend the Rogues Gallery of villains that are taking control of the city.

Gary Oldman brings new depth to Gordon and he and Batman both play off each other wonderfully. And the climax involving Gordon, Batman and Dent is so intense, you may bite your nails off from the anticipation.

Also, I love how Melinda McGraw got to show her talents as Gordon's wife. To those uninformed, Melinda played Melissa Scully on "The X-Files". Take that Chris Carter for killing off my eye candy on that show!

What else can I say except that this movie is a masterpiece. Go see it! I need to rest and figure out when I am going to see this film again (most likely on an Imax screen).

Inglourious Basterds review

Written on August 21, 2009:

Okay, if you're still reading this after I wrote SPOILERS in big letters, then I do not want to get messages about me ruining the movie for you. If you are idiotic enough to read this after fair warning, then smack yourself in the head Three Stooges style. Several times until you are rendered unconscious.

Enough about that. Whew.

I cannot sleep after seeing this movie. All I can think about is the type of cinematic high I always get when I walk out of a Quentin Tarantino movie. Say what you want about the man (and I'll always be there with 700 defenses for any accusation you may throw his way)- but he knows how to make fucking entertaining movies. He understands what makes a film entertaining from beginning to end- and keep the audience enthralled. This movie is no different. In fact, I would dare say, it may be one of his masterpieces- right up there with PULP FICTION, and my personal Quentin film, the vastly underrated, JACKIE BROWN.

I cannot get this film out of my head- I just want to get another ticket so I can enjoy more of the Basterds, Shoshanna, Colonel Landa, Marcel and the entire motley crew of characters Quentin created. I read the script for the movie over a year ago- and I must say, the story is pretty much intact. The only difference is that Quentin just made this movie feel as epic as it deserved to be.

As much as I love the Basterds, I have to say, I feel the characters that stole the movie for me- were Shosanna Dreyfus and Colonel Hans Landa (known as the Jew Hunter). Both characters' lives interacted throughout the film. It started when Landa questions a French dairy farmer in the beginning of the film about harboring a Jewish family in his family. Landa is able to break the farmer down, and Landa orders the execution of the entire family of Jews- except for one girl he allows to flee. That girl is Shosanna Dreyfus.

Before I start discussing Shosanna, I have to discuss Colonel Hans Landa. What a fascinating character. He is completely a cold calculating beast- but he does his work so expertly and charismatically, you actually like the guy a bit. Even if he is a complete opportunist, who will stab anyone in the back in order to get ahead and save his own ass. Christoph Waltz was amazing in the role- he made you sit and take notice every time he was on the screen. The man embodied the character perfectly. You felt dread when he began a line of questioning- you knew that this guy always knew more than every fucking person on screen. He was just that much of a sleuth and that good at what he does.

The begining wa shot beautifully and just as tension filled as I expected it after reading the script.

Shosanna, I can proudly say, like Hans Landa, is one of Quentin's best characters EVER. Not just one of his best female characters, but best characters in general. Melanie Laurent was able to get the character completely. When I originally read the script, I wondered who could portray Shosanna. I knew it had to be an actor of determination and great strength. A woman who would not wither under pressure- because Shosanna is a natural survivor. But, Melanie, not only nailed the role but brought Shosanna truly to life. She survived the mass execution of her family- to run a movie house, that eventually allowed her to get her revenge on the Nazis that ruined her life.

One of the best moments of the film for me, was when Shosanna is prepping for the night where she burns down the theater. She is dressed like a classic film star, and applies her makeup like war paint over the unmistakeable sounds of David Bowie. This is her big moment and she knows she's going to die. There's no two ways about it. But, there is such a look of fierce determination and reward in knowing that she's taking a whole bunch of Nazis down with her.

Speaking of Shosanna, I did enjoy Frederick Zoller's unrequited crush on Shosanna- that culminated in her having to shoot him (with some hesitation) in order to accomplish her goal to show her reel. And, it was even more fitting for him to kill her- but in death, Shosanna got her revenge. Even though it ended in the deaths of her and her lover, Marcel. Speaking of Marcel- I want to know more about this guy. I was just feed a slice and I want the whole damn meal. I want to know when he met Shosanna and how did they become a couple. In fact, I'd love to know more about Shosanna after she fled.

That's the sign of a great film. When you want more after a 2 hour and 32 minute film, that means amazing things.

Okay, now the Basterds.

Brad Pitt was outstanding as Aldo Raines. It's funny, after reading the script, I thought that Brad would be a great choice as Aldo. I didn't expect Quentin to actually cast him, but lo and behold, he actually did. Brad plays him with such likeable Southern hardcoreness, that you were charmed by him. Because no one is as good in the killing Nazi business as Aldo.

Eli Roth was fucking outstanding as Donnie aka the Bear Jew. When it came to fucking up Nazis (with a baseball bat of all things)- Donnie was one of a kind. Eli was a complete bad-ass in this movie. After seeing this, I must say, I think Eli is good if you give him the proper material. And in a Tarantino script, you know the material is going to be killer.

The Basterds were just dynamite every time they appeared on the screen. Naturally, the first thing I could compare this ragtag group of ruthless killers was THE DIRTY DOZEN- but the Basterds are so much more. You love these guys, you love Aldo. Everytime a Nazi is scalped, you cheer.

And Bridgit Von Hammersmark was a nice character (played beautifully by Diane Kruger) that served as the Mata Hari of the piece. She was a tough woman who played both sides against the middle (although, she was serving the British and working with the Basterds). Her demise was pretty intense- with Hans choking the living daylights out of her.

The ending was classic Tarantino with the theater erupting into flames. Shosanna gets her revenge, the Basterds in the theater go down killing every single Nazi and associate in the theater before the explosives went off (watching Hitler be lit up with bullets in this alternate WWII universe was so rewarding).

And Landa? Well, Landa throughout the whole film thought he was so clever. But, in the end, Aldo got the upper hand- and left a nice souvenir to carry Landa throughout the rest of his life. Oh, he may have sold out his fellow Nazi party in order to gain some asylum in the United States- but Aldo refused to let him just take off that uniform and live life as is.

Carving the swastika into Landa's head was a perfect fuck you. And when Aldo says, "I think this may be my masterpiece", I have to concur.

I cannot wait to see this fucking movie again with my girlfriend. And after that, with her again if she wants. Or with friends. Or I'd be content to watch it by myself a million times over.

Do yourself a favor, run to the fucking theater now and see this film. It's an exhilariting piece of filmmaking and when it comes to making kick-ass films, none can compete with Tarantino. INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is just another example of why he stands alone.



What made the night incredibly special for me, was getting a chance to meet Quentin before the movie started. He was even cooler than I anticipated. Quentin was very down to Earth and when he saw my Grindhouse shirt, he said:

"Oh man, look at you wearing the Grindhouse shirt!"

I replied, "Well, you know, I gotta represent after all!"

Quentin laughed and I told him that I'm a huge fan of his films and he said that he could tell that I'm a true, die-hard fan. I told him I saw PULP FICTION at least 40 times in a theater alone. He asked me what my favorite scene from PULP FICTION was and I told him, "Damn, you gonna catch someone off guard with this shit!" (a reference to JACKIE BROWN). QT laughed again and I gave him my name when he asked, and while he signed my record, I had an answer. I told him Marvin getting shot in the face is my favorite part- and the entire Bonnie Situation is just stellar in general. I then took a pic with him and asked him about the possibility of an Inglourious Basterds mini-series. He said that there are more stories to tell, so he's trying to get that hammered out now.

I shook his hands twice more and then went my way for the night. I saw him again before the film started as Quentin introduced it. He is such a cool guy that if I ever see him at a fucking bar around the area- I'm buying him as many shots as he wants. The guy is that important to me.

Meeting him was such a pinnacle in my life- because Quentin has inspired me more than anyone else. Without him, I would never have realized that I wanted to write movies (I knew I wanted to write but I had no idea what). And Tarantino made me fall in love with cinema again. For that, I will always idolize the man and admire his work.