Year in Review Part IV

The Wiseau: Yet another new award! This one goes to the individual who showed the greatest versatility of sucking by writing, directing, and starring in a movie. Tommy Wiseau would, of course, win this with The Room if I wasn't excluding movies I'd previously seen, but this year’s winner would actually give him a run for his money. That would be Y.K. Kim, the guy who wrote and directed the awesome Miami Connection and who mumbled and kicked his way into our hearts as one of its stars. Devastatingly awful writing, directing, and acting--a trifecta of stink!

Best Actress: This is a category that usually just shows how chauvinistic I am. Jennifer Lafleur is good in The Do-Deca-Pentathlon. Shirley Stoler is awesome, if not quite in a traditional acting role, in The Honeymoon Killers. I’ve always loved Piper Laurie’s mother in Carrie, and Cathy Moriarty is so good in Raging Bull. Bubbles Cash and Rosa Maria Gallardo are great in Mars Needs Women and The Brainiac respectively. And I’ve already mentioned Eva Marie Saint’s work in North by Northwest. I really would like to give this award to Quvenzhane Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild and probably should, but the way Shirley MacClaine chews refried beans in Bernie is enough to give her the edge.

Best Actor: Jack Black’s also very very good in Bernie. I loved the subversive performances of Matt D’Elia and Tim Heidecker in the subversive sort-of-comedies American Animal and The Comedy. I like McConaughey in Killer Joe, Christoph Waltz in Django, Paul Muni in The Life of Emile Zola, Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, and Robert De Niro in Raging Bull. Those are performances that most people would appreciate, but I’m an oddball and love Jeffrey Combs in The Frighteners, James Franco in Spring Breakers, Peter Ustinov in Logan’s Run, Howard Vernon as Dr. Orloff and in that women’s prison movie, and Donald Pleasance and his nipples in Wake in Fright. Oh, and Dominique Pinon as multiple clones in City of Lost Children. Mathieu Amalric is powerfully great in Chicken with Plums. Presley Chweneyagae is unforgettable in Tsotsi. But this award belongs to a guy who blows them all away as one of the main characters in Ruben and Ed. That’s right--Crispin Glover gave the best acting performance in any movie I saw in 2013.

The Torgo: In case you’re new to this nonsense, this is the award I give to the worst acting of the year. As mentioned, I watched a ton of bad movies on purpose this year, so this year’s Torgo is hotly contested. A woman has never won this award, but Gail Neely almost grabs it with her performance in Surf Nazis Must Die and Linda Ho gives a dreadful performance in Hillbillys in a Haunted House. Of course, Don Bowman as “Jeepers” outshines her in that same movie with a truly baffling performance. But he can at least sing. Perennial favorite Marjoe Gortner was his usual self in Food of the Gods, but I’ve definitely seen him do worse. Rudy Ray Moore stunk in Disco Godfather (“Put some weight on it” still makes no sense to me), a guy named Septimus Caton messes up his lone line in that terrible Wolverine movie, Stallone is brutal in Over the Top, and Iggy Pop is just plain distracting in Cry-Baby. Charles Conklin, Jack MacGowran, and Raymond Hatten are bad in the 50’s B-movies The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes, The Giant Behemoth, and Invasion of the Saucers Men respectively. A guy named Ivan Agar is magically awful in a role with no lines--a mute Indian in Shriek of the Mutilated. Two other performances really stand out. Bart Bronson stars in Suing the Devil and made me laugh inappropriately at references to both brain cancer and suicide. And Stuart Chapin is unbelievable in his role as the anti-hero in Shotgun and would win some kind of Best Hair award if I had one. But this year’s Torgo goes to Eric Roberts who provides the voice of the cat in A Talking Cat?!? That’s right, he’s bad enough with only his voice to take this award home. Congratulations, Eric Roberts!

Worst Movie: Making movies is hard, and it seems mean to pick a worst. But I’m doing it anyway. This award is for movies that were not enjoyable bad movies. We’re talking about the most painful movie experiences of the year. Here are the nominees:

Suing the Devil, more obnoxious because of an over-the-top Christian message
Big Money Rustlas, although I have a place in my heart for it as our first Bad Movie Club selection
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, although I have a place in my heart for it as the movie that my wife thought was Lincoln for 11 minutes and 39 seconds
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, incredibly not funny
Class of Nuke ‘Em High, the most boring Troma movie I’ve ever seen
ThanksKilling, despite the three references to Jonbenet Ramsey
Pacific Rim

And what’s the worst movie I watched this year? Easily the crappy Christmas movie Jingle All the Way. It's a movie that could actually ruin the holidays.

The Manos: Of course, some bad movies I really enjoy watching. The Manos is for the Best Worst movie of the year. And check out these nominees! Disco Godfather, Mac and Me, Food of the Gods, Mars Needs Women (by former Manos winner and shane-movies favorite Larry Buchanan), Zeta One, The Dragon Lives Again, Oasis of the Zombies (although that might just belong in the Worst Movie category), Alien Predator, Star Slammer, The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes, Gor, Abar: The First Black Superman, Cobra, Attack of the Crab Monsters, Barbarian Queen, Shotgun, Werewolves on Wheels, Frankenstein Island, Badlanders, and Shriek of the Mutilated. Here are the very best of the best worst though:

A Talking Cat?!?, a movie I thought was a shoe-in for the Manos this year
Hillbillys in a Haunted House, a bizarre family horror country western musical thing
Miami Connection, an absolutely incredible find by Bad Movie Clubber Josh
Can’t Stop the Music, the best worst musical ever

But the winner? The only 1/20 that I handed out this year (at least to a movie I’d previously not seen): Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny. To be honest, a lot of people would put this in the Worst Movie category, but this is truly something special. I'm telling you though: If you like fun bad movies, I would recommend any of those.

Best Movie of the Year: As always, I exclude movies I’ve already seen. So no Dead Poets Society, Exterminating Angel, Juno, Carrie, Tokyo Story, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Searchers, Se7en, Slap Shot, Shaun of the Dead, North by Northwest, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Star Wars: A New Hope, Raging Bull, City of Lost Children, Blue Velvet, Mulan, Even Dwarfs Started Small, Alien, Belle de Jour, The French Connection, City of God, or The Godfather.

That leaves the following best new-to-me movies:

Bringing out the Dead
Django Unchained
The Honeymoon Killers
Ruben and Ed
Beast of the Southern Wild
Killer Joe
Raise the Red Lantern
Wake in Fright
Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Life of Emile Zola
Chicken with Plums
Cloud Atlas
Reflections of Evil
The Mirror
Black Narcissus

But the best movie of the year? The Master

Like last year, here are a bunch of movies that I liked or thought were interesting that I wish more people (or, anybody) would have commented on. If you haven’t seen them, you should check them out:

The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, from the Duplass brothers
Metropolitan, honestly not sure if I even liked this movie
Planet of Vampires and Bay of Blood, a sci-fi movie that predates but reminds me of Alien and a horror movie, both directed by shane-movies favorite Mario Bava (the latter is also called Twitch of the Death Nerve which is my favorite title ever)
Stingray Sam, from Coby McAbee who did another shane-movies favorite The American Astronaut
O.C. and Stiggs, a wacky teen comedy from the great Robert Altman
The Awful Dr. Orloff, an actual good-ish and fairly normal movie from the depraved Jesus Franco featuring that awesome Howard Vernon performance
Duel to the Death, the best kung-fu movie I saw last year--ninjas galore!
The Brainiac, certified cult classic from Mexico
In Search of One-Eyed Jimmy, not a great mockumentary but an interesting cast keep this fun
Motorama, a surrealistic road trip movie from the director of After Hours
Primer, a time-travel movie that I did not understand
Save the Green Planet!, a fascinating Korean movie that makes you think
Fubar, a hilarious mockumentary that I watched the sequel to last year
The Comedy and American Animal, two challenging movies that would probably offend most people

Finally, here are my favorite movie quotes of the year. As always, I’m not providing any movie titles. See if you can recognize them. Keep score and send it to Bazooka Joe or something.

“Kiss him with a wrench.”
“Is that the name of the game today? Teasing midgets?”
“I woke up with a hard-on, and it had your name on it.”
“Peace is for queers, and now you’re gonna die.”
“Most men I’ve done this to are now homosexuals.”
“For the vegetable, it was exquisite.”
“The love you lost will be in each note you play.”
“I always look both ways when I cross the street.”
“Dan Marino should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell.”
“Nothing is so healing as the human touch.”
“I forgot to tell you--if you catch any squirrels, give them to me.”
“Why deny that for a moment there, God was you?”
“It was Doug Glatt in the conservatory with his ass.”
“She claimed the ham was crying and didn’t want the ham ruining her party.”
“Because I’m an old lady and I dig your little ass.” (to Billy Curtis)
“You’re only going to be on the planet for 80 years, so you better get on it. Time’s running out.”
“I heard you had balls big enough to cum in a dump truck.”
“This sucks more than anything that has ever sucked before.”
“My cat can eat a whole watermelon.” (If I had to pick a favorite. . .)
“I’m such a silly little pussy. You can spank my body if you want to.”
“Semen retentum venenum est.”
“Look at my shit.”
“Uh oh. Ninjas.”
“He’s making a woman suit!”
“If I were to not put on the ritz when I’m perfectly capable of putting on the ritz, wouldn’t that make me fucking crazy?”
“Using sex like some people use a flyswatter.”
“If my dick hadn’t been blown off in ‘Nam, I’d whip it out and piss in your face.”
“Nothing sadder than a dead fish.”

I think that’s all I have to say this year. Thanks for reading.

2013 Year in Review Part III

Best Scenes Featuring Puppets: Well, it’s hard to argue with Meet the Feebles where the Muppet-like characters engage in sex acts, do drugs, and kill each other. And I did watch a pair of movies featuring the actual Muppets, including the Swedish Chef who apparently can’t be rated lower on a “favorite Muppets” list than Lew Zealand. In Rock and Roll Nightmare, there’s an appearance by what I can only describe as penis puppets, and those are great. As my closest friends and family members know, I love ventriloquist dummies, and Adrian Brody and his dummy are good in Dummy. There’s also a perverse ventriloquist act in the artsy Mansion of Madness. But I keep returning to Peter Jackson’s Feebles, and if I have to pick just one scene, I’m going with the walrus-on-cat sex scene close to the beginning of the film.

Best Nicolas Cage Moment: I didn’t watch many Cage movies this year, shooting my proverbial wad last year or two years ago with the Summer of Cage. But he was great (actually great, not just Cage great) in Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead as a guy gradually losing his mind like only Nic can. His best line--”Why’s everything a cardiac arrest? Come on!” But the best Cage moment is in the unremarkable Stolen in which he threatens somebody with a “You touch her and I’ll take you down to the levy and kick your fucking ass!” and, even better, exclaims “Happy face pancakes!” and does that awesome Nicolas Cage pointing motion. You Cage fans know the gesticulation I’m talking about.

Best Setting: Monument Valley in The Searchers? Fincher’s decaying city in Se7en? Australia in the wonderful Wake in Fright? The Nostromo in Alien? Outer freakin’ space from the imagination of Stanley Kubrick? Nope, the best setting is Cano and Jeunet’s Caligarian landscapes in City of Lost Children.

And yes, I realize that the last sentence up there might be “pretentious and sad.”

Best Action Sequence That Is Not Really an Action Sequence: Watching Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman square off during a powerful interview scene in The Master.

Best Action Sequence: Sonny Chiba castrates a guy with his bare hand in The Streetfighter. Godzilla imitates that bowler with a terrific crotch chopping motion in Destroy All Monsters. There’s a hilarious Wild West shoot-out in the Czech parody Lemonade Joe between the titular protagonist and a trumpeter in blackface. The Legend of Hell House features a scene where a stuffed cat attacks a character, and that’s pretty awesome. George Peppard and peeps has the only science fiction weiner roast you’re ever likely to see in Battle Beyond the Stars, and although that might not sound like an action scene, it almost is compared to the rest of the film. You just have to check out the “third leg of Bruce Lee” in the Bruceploitation flick The Dragon Lives Again. And shane-blog favorite Crispin Glover plays Twister in Freaky Deaky. But the most awesome action sequence of them all is from the strange Japanese film The Cat in which a cat and a dog fight. It’s something to behold, friends. Here it is on Youtube:

Best Kung-fu Moment: Because I forgot to include it up there--a scene in Duel to the Death, a movie just stuffed with all kinds of ninja action, where a bad guy is decapitated with the head being impaled on a tree limb where it says “You will die!” and explodes.

Here are more things I learned from movies this year:

Russia will ban a movie--like The Exterminating Angel--if it involves people who are not able to leave a dinner party. Because not being able to leave a dinner party is apparently anti-communist.

But A Report on the Party and the Guests tops that because it was “banned forever.”

There’s a Manos: The Hands of Fate reference in ParaNorman.

The first spoken word in 2001: A Space Odyssey doesn’t happen until the 25 minute and 30 second mark.

What happens when a toad is struck by lightning--cause I didn’t know.

There’s a tsunami every other day in Okinawa.

Booze leads to alien invasions.

Jack Nance, Jack Klompus, Flea, and Meatloaf all appear in the same movie.

A movie can still be really good even if it’s got 6 Tom Hankses in it.

Hankses is the plural of Hanks.

David Lynch thinks the rape scene in Blue Velvet is funny.

Best Sex Scene: Nothing beats that Karina wink, and that walrus-on-cat-puppet action could easily be in this category, too. And so could the Cane Toad necrophilia in that documentary. Peter Stormore gets a sex scene in Small Town Murder Songs, and it forced me to call the “man on top” position “The Stormare” ever since. Ted, in the movie Ted, has a sexual encounter with a human female, and Rudy Ray Moore gets funky in Disco Godfather, and yes that’s as life-changing as it sounds. The weirdest sex scenes involve a guy having sex with meat in Mansion of Madness and a naked woman in a monkey mask giving a handjob to a guy with Cerebral Palsy in Crispin Glover’s What Is It? But I’m going with Hitchcock’s randy ending of North by Northwest with that train going through the tunnel. So hot!

Favorite Movie Memory Involving My Wife: It took my wife 11 minutes and 39 seconds to realize that she was watching Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and not Lincoln. “Abraham Lincoln didn’t kill people” still makes me laugh.

Favorite Thing My Wife Said While Watching a Movie: “If that tiger starts talking, I’m done.” That was during Life of Pi which she apparently didn’t like as much as me. Since we watched it, she’s been “Richard Parker” in my phone.

Best Musical Moment: “76 Trombones” in Bernie. James Franco poignantly rocking that Britney Spears song in Spring Breakers. The “Youth Classroom” segment of the weird Japanese movie Funky Forest. Stingray Sam’s songs in that sci-fi Western musical. Maybe I should have mentioned Stingray Sam in the musical category. The five-minute harmonica solo a woman plays in sci-fi women’s prison movie Star Slammer. The lone song in that new Oz movie with acrobatic Munchkins. Those are all great, but here are six words that put them all to shame--Human xylophone made of little people. And to add three more words--in sailor costumes. That, along with Apples Yonahan who has nothing to do with this category but should be mentioned somewhere in this mess, is in The Dark Backward.

Best Masturbation Scene: Because I still have this category. Three nominees that I can remember from this year: The beginning of Poultrygeist, the creepy forced masturbation horrors in the “L” short from The ABC’s of Death, and the scene with Joaquin Phoenix masturbating on a beach in The Master. I’m going with Poultrygeist because it involves Native Americans and it seems like the politically correct thing to do. After all white people have done to these people, it’s the least I can do.

Most Interesting Politically-Incorrect Things I Learned from Movies This Year: Jewish people are mutants. Indians eat horses. Black people can’t swim. Gay men love singing from the tops of pianos. [Note: These are not my ideas. I got them straight from movies.]

Best Idea Ever: The Klaus Kinski Ride in Damon Packard’s wonderful Reflections of Evil.

Best Idea I Had All Year: A retelling of The Godfather from the perspective of the horse who ends up decapitated.

The Tootie: In honor of Margaret O’Brien, who gave one of those most wretched performances by a child in movie history, I’m naming the “Worst Child Actor” award after her. Linda Scheley is truly awful in The Monolith Monsters, but she thankfully goes into a coma in the movie. David Mendenhall manages to out-bad-act his movie father in Over the Top which is a pretty incredible feat when you think about it. The Tootie goes to Tony Rumford who does some unbelievably terrible work in Abar: The First Black Superman.

Best Shot in Any Movie I Saw All Year: Mike, Sully, a lake, the moon. Monsters University. Man, that Pixar can make pretty pictures.

Most Terrifying Thing Somebody Started Calling Me After We Watched a Movie Together: “Little water snake” after Starchaser: The Legend of Orin. Thanks, Josh.

Most Befuddling Dialogue: The “Why do men have souls?” nonsense at the end of The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes. Brain-damaged philosophies with pseudo-depth.

Best Depiction of the Devil: Malcolm McDowell gives it his all in Suing the Devil, one of the worst movies I saw all year. But that Satan in Rock and Roll Nightmare is a thing of beauty.

Movie That Made Me Pump My Fist and/or Pee the Most: The gloriously original, almost off-puttingly creative mess from India that is Enthiran. Seriously, see it! It's got a robot and dancing!

Best Moment Featuring an Animal or Part of an Animal: I already mentioned that pooping camel at the end of Even Dwarfs Started Small. George Burrows makes a great monkey in Hillbillys in a Haunted House. The killer chickens in Food of the Gods are great and not in the movie nearly enough. Tom Waits gets to hold a rabbit during his scenes in 7 Psychopaths. There’s some violent kangaroo stuff in Wake in Fright. Howard Vernon uses a rhino horn in creative ways in one of those Jesus Franco women’s prison movies. I’ll mention the talking cat in A Talking Cat?!? a little later. My favorite animal moment is when bushmen in Animals Are Beautiful People imitate animals though. Love that!

Best Performance by an Animal: That chicken (uncredited) at the beginning of City of God.

Best Dance Scene: A picnic “sausage fest” in Funky Forest is great, but this goes to John Turturro and his moves in The Search for One-Eyed Jimmy. Of course, almost every scene in Can’t Stop the Music is nearly orgasmic. [Note: Go ahead and put that last sentence in the "things that would irritate my wife" category.]

Worst Dance Scene: Margaret Livingston stinks it up in the otherwise brilliant Sunset, but the beginning of The Comedy, a scene that involves beer-drenched men dancing in their underwear and at least one penis, is the dance scene I’d rather never see again. You know, because seven times is enough! [Note: That one, too.]

Best Movie Insults:

“You platypus-looking mo-fo”
“Slime-sucking neanderthal”
“Frog pussy”
“Pernicious mummy”

Best Subtitle: From The Cat: “I never knew a cat could fight to and so hard!”