Thursday, July 21, 2011
This past Sunday I was in attendance at the Alamo Drafthouse's showing of Albert Pyun's CAPTAIN AMERICA director's cut. I'd never seen the original cut but I'm a big fan of Pyun, especially DOWN TWISTED. DOWN TWISTED is one of the most criminally underrated films of the 1980's. I got to tell him how much I loved it. That made my year.
Some call Albert Pyun a hack and I guess to a certain degree, he is. However, years ago, we called these filmmakers journeymen, people with actual talent who can jump seamlessly from genre to genre. Not many of those people around today. Pyun always seems to get stuck holding the bag as well. And there's usually not enough money in it to finish the film.
It's true that some of his later work is hampered by awful scripts and aforementioned lack of finance but if you really watch his movies, there's a lot of visual artistry at work. You may think he's a hack due to budget, but you can't call him untalented. His work from the 80's will attest to that.
On this night, those in attendance got a sneak peak at the Director's Cut Pyun made and even though it's cheap, it's not bad at all. Quite honestly, I don't like superheroes or comics but his take on the whole CAPTAIN AMERICA thing was way more entertaining than most mainstream films I've seen in the past few years. It isn't bombastic, jarring or expensively fake-looking. For christ sake, it's even thoughtful.
And that's the beauty of Albert Pyun. A vast majority of his films are entertaining as hell even if they are compromised. I sure hope one day he gets the funding and final cut to produce a balls-out action pic that allows him to unleash the style he possesses. And then if it's bad, let the naysayers nay. But I don't think that'd happen. Not by a longshot.
Albert Pyun Website
Pyun @ IMDB
Pyun @ Wikipedia
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Dave Edmunds smokes Nick Lowe on this outing. And I love Nick Lowe. The wack ass guitar soloing here is only equaled by the seven second solo afterthought on The Pagans' "Street Where Nobody Lives". Lyrics, distortion, backbeat. This is rock and roll.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
In 1999, I got the best job I will ever have. And at a video store. The best video store in Atlanta. The de facto go-to, fight the man, I can't believe they're stocking this shit, this is why I moved from Jacksonville, Florida video store. It was all VHS back then. And it was beautiful.
I got the job because of Shawn Murphy. Shawn was working for Anne and Jerry Rubenstein, the visionaries of Movies Worth Seeing (MWS) (he put in a good word for me). They might not think they're visionaries but that's only because it's their style. Actually, most of their motavation in retrospect was probably like "Look, we'll stock the hits but for fuck's sake, you can't possibly want to watch that new shit constantly. We'll stock the classics, the weird and the wonderful and when FIREWALKER is checked out, we'll turn you onto DOWN BY LAW." And not in a pretentious way.
Anne and Jerry Rubenstein were successful, well-informed, down to earth entrepreneurs (hence, the store's longetivity) and equally as important, loved film. For them, it was commodity but they never treated the medium like widgets. And by that I mean, they knew they had to buy crap but they knew exactly how much crap to buy and be able to get the real unheralded treasures.
A lot of people opened up video rental stores during those Golden Days Of VHS. And a lot of them didn't get past the format wars of Beta vs. VHS much less the advent of DVD. By the time I moved to Atlanta, Mom and Pop stores were a thing of the past. For you kids today, next time you walk past some weird unlicensed-looking kiosk selling cellphones that has some remote tie to a major carrier, that was video rental in the 80's and for a few moments in the 90's. There was money to be made, but no soul. Those without soul perished to the Wal-Mart mentality of Blockbuster. Those that made it through that upheaval A) lived and did business in an area that was probably a large metropolitan city with a liberal, go-local mentality that embraced an alternative to the in-stock 400 copies of EXTREME MEASURES at corporate competitors or B) lived in a town so small that Blockbuster didn't even know they existed and therefore, had an open market. And you were lucky if if one of the two copies of EXTREME MEASURES was in.
Jesus H. Christ, I'm drunk.
But that's okay. Because last night in the city of Atlanta, there was a farewell/reunion that celebrated the legacy/closing of the oldest video store in Atlanta. Former employees and customers came together to pine, lament and be thankful they ever had such an opportunity to be a part of something so pure in spirit and heart yet payed the rent of a load of us who had the good fortune to be hired by the best bosses ever.
I wish I could've been there tonight. I wish I could've been there on the last night of operation. I wished it never closed at all.
When I found out about the closing of MWS, I wrote a note to Anne and Jerry for publication on their MWS Facebook page. Didn't post it. Dont know why. Didn't seem like the time or place. Today, it seems relevant for publication. So here goes:
Dear Anne and Jerry,
While the closure of Movies leaves everybody saddened and we all lament its demise, what many people don’t hear about is how well you treated your employees. Since leaving in 2004, I’ve been ruined by the concern, generosity and trust you showed me during the 5 years I was with you. You let me get away with shit most people in their right mind would’ve fired me for. But you weren’t crazy. I now believe you saw more worth in me than I saw in myself at the time and as I’ve gotten my stuff together (sort of) since I left, I’ve come to realize how incredible you two were and how damn lucky I was to be a part of your journey. Every employer I’ve worked for since I’ve compared you to and nobody, and I mean NOBODY, comes close. Hell, I now work for a corporate entity that basically treats me better than some “indie” business folk I’ve worked for since my days after MWS. But that’s the thing. Movies Worth Seeing was a different animal all the way around. The more I think about it, your success had nothing to do with the customers or employees. It was all you. You did everything right from the beginning. And the bunch of us nerdy cinematic malcontents love you more than you’ll ever know. I know I do.
Look, I’m not the guy who’s going to be carrying around your videos for you. But if you ever need me for something, I’ll be there.
Walter Hill told me to say that.
Your biggest fan,
Eric Matthew Harvey
Friday, June 18, 2010
It's been a rough month here at SEx. For good reasons. Top 10 albums of the 90's resumes this weekend. Until then:
When I was 16, I loved Dice. What 16 year old shit-talking kid wouldn't: talkin' 'bout pussy, dirty nursery rhymes, a general fuck-you attitude, talkin' 'bout pussy. That first album, "Dice", doesn't age well. It's bad dirty mainstream comedy. If you're a 15 or 16 year old kid now, it may still be a hoot. Then again, kids today suck and find really shit things funny.
Anyway, here comes 1990 and I pick up "The Day The Laughter Died" at the Orange Park, FL Coconuts and I'm blown away by it. It becomes very influential to my life with it's vulgarity and absurdity. It's dirty and foul and incredibly politically incorrect but throughout has a stream-of-conciousness that raises it to a level of avant-garde art. And this is at the ascension of his career. When I finally saw Dice in an arena setting, it was fun but incredibly predictable. Over the years, the only thing that has stuck with me about that show at Bob Carr in Orlando was the ride down from Jacksonville with my friends Mike (who worked at the same Coconuts I bought the album from) and Brian in Mike's old-ass Toyota wagon and how far away from the stage we were. That shit was nosebleed.
That said, this album I can put on and listen to it from beginning to end like music. Whatever you think about Dice or even Rick Rubin, who signed Dice to Def American and saw something past the charade he became, you have to admit that if you take the plunge and listen to the whole thing (as well as the incredibly existential 1993 sequel, "The Day The Laughter Died, Part II" which chronicles a wounded Dice on his way down), there's something more going on that wasn't followed through on.
Such is the price of fame.
I still have vivid memories of my parents house circa 1990 laying in front of my stereo with headphones on listening to this album in the middle of night and trying to stifle my laughter. And while the whole album slayed me, it was mostly on this bit. I must have played this a zillion times over and over. And if you meet anyone who used to listen to his albums, they always remember this bit as being the pinnacle of Dice's comedic achievements. It pretty much sums up why Dice should've been more important than he is today (his own fault) and why maybe we saw something in him to begin with.
And since we're on the subject of comics, Doug Stanhope is still the king but charges too much for his shows and David Cross's bits annoy the piss out of me. If he hadn't chose comedy to exorcise his demons, I could easily see him becoming a cop to get even.
And on a completely random note, here's my go to video when I'm loaded. I don't know why but I feel the ned to share it.
DIE HARD 2: DIE HARDER is on FXM now. I saw that at the U.A. of Orange Park 20 years ago this summer with my much-missed grandmother. I gots to go.
The end of "The Day The Laughter Died, Part II". Fucking brutal.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
THE TOP 10 ROCK AND ROLL ALBUMS OF THE 1990'S IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: #9: SUGAR, "COPPER BLUE" (1992)
However, Mould gave us "Workbook". "Workbook" was kind of eh back in 1989 and it definitely hasn't gotten better for me with age. 1990's "Black Sheets of Rain" was a definite step in the right direction but again, it hasn't stuck with me at all.
Sugar's "Copper Blue" however will stand the test of time. All the songs on this album are keepers. Incredibly melodic pop songs with signature Mould guitar.The Sugar output after this isn't as good. And the solo stuff after, once again, is eh.
Mould is one of the most influential guitarists of his generation and quite honestly hasn't reached his full potential. Between his horrible electronica and half-hearted attempts at returning to rock and roll (he was giving up the electric after "The Last Dog and Pony Show"), I still await the return of the real Bob Mould.
If it's any consolation, Hart's solo output after "Intolerance" is equally as eh if not downright boring. But he also does his art so music doesn't seem to be his only bread and butter like Mould's. Their buddy Paul Westerberg has followed the same path of eh.
Husker bassist Greg Norton owns what looks like a kick ass restaurant and recently has returned to music in a band called The Gang Font feat. Interloper. It's eh too but Mr. Norton has other fish to fry, so to speak, so I don't hold this against him. And the motherfucker can jump.
Best Sugar song post-"Copper Blue".
My all time favorite Husker Du song, "Terms Of Psychic Warfare".
Saturday, May 15, 2010
THE TOP 10 ROCK AND ROLL ALBUMS OF THE 1990'S IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER: #10: URGE OVERKILL "SATURATION" (1993)
10) Urge Overkill, "Saturation" (1993)
It was July 31, 1993. On this day I bought Urge Overkill's SATURATION from Wag's Record Hound in Orange Park, Florida, I had just gotten back from an aborted trip to Atlanta the day before to see Paul Westerberg at The Cotton Club. It was me, Beers, Mrs. Beers and AO'L.
Oh, we saw Westerberg but we'd gotten a hotel room at this fleabag hotel outside the perimeter and some crackhead started knocking on the hotel door and freaked some of us out so we piled in AO'L's car (was it a Monte Carlo?) and headed back to the FLA. Either way, I got home, went record shopping and saw a show at the Doctor's Inlet Civic Center. I was 20 years and had the world by the balls.
"Saturation" was the soundtrack to my summer, blasting out of my 1980 Ford Mustang on the shittiest speakers known to man. Even better was the fact that I could shift gears on the 'stang and make it backfire which sounded like a gunshot. People would jump in bushes and scream in terror. "...I'm watchin' you and Fidel Castro in the sand...."
It's still as impressive almost 17 years to the day of it's release.
BONUS URGE! From "The Supersonic Storybook":