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Showing posts from October, 2017

Hiatus, basically

Apologies to my regular readers (all six of you) for the lack of a proper Hipster Holy Grail update today, and also a couple weeks ago.  Steph and I are caught in an ironic spot of trouble with our house right now.  Basically, we went into the move thinking, "Let's pack up as much stuff as possible, but time is on our side because we're in no hurry to move."  And now we're about 99% of the way to a contract, with the stipulation that the house be empty by the end of November.
So, time is definitely, absolutely, positively not on our side anymore.  Whoops.  But also, hooray!  But also, whoops.
I'd love to say that I'll power through all this and come back to my blog week after week with my regular schedule regardless, but that's an unabashed lie.  For all intents and purposes, I'm putting this blog on hold.  I'll be back with regular updates - and hopefully a Halloween-in-Winter HHG post to make up for today - once we're set up in our new h…

A review of "Gerald's Game" (2017)

The Internet's wrong.  Gerald's Game is not a good movie.

I can see why you might be tricked, though.  It looks nice; helmed by fellow Marylander and otherwise excellent writer/director Mike Flanagan, the movie is crisply shot and paced.  The plot ratchets up the tension in the first half with perfect little morsels of terror.  And no matter how ridiculous the premise gets, it's anchored by excellent performances.

So, sure, there are merits here.  In fact, there are even a handful of truly horrifying scares that'll punch you in the guts.

But then the third act hits... and oh, man, does it ever Stephen King the ending.

The metaphor of an empty house

After I published Born Loser (available now for only a buck, go get it), I realized I accidentally re-used a metaphor I'd already put into Bitter People Without Souls.  There's a part where somebody's moving out of their house, and they stop to reflect on the emptiness they're leaving behind.

It's not exactly the finest metaphor out there - I know.  That moment is not meant to be the high point of either book, just a background detail to flesh out what's going on with their lives.  To me, it's the kind of thing that immediately lands.  You see an empty house, one that was yours, and you know instantly that life is permanently changing.

....or so I thought, until I started packing up this house.

Granted, it's not quite "empty" yet.  Much of the furniture is still in place and we haven't taken out any of the basic essentials needed to live here.  But all our books, all our DVDs, all our framed photos and ornaments and other details that tell…

Hipster Holy Grail: Encounter with the Unknown (1973)

The Hipster Holy Grail is my ongoing quest to review an obscure movie before it becomes cool to talk about it. Good, bad, doesn't matter.  It just has to be at least 10 years old and have less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. This week, I watched....

The Short Bit for People Who Don't Like to Read ReviewsEncounter with the Unknown is basically The Shitty Twilight Zone.  It recycles so much of its own footage that it accidentally implements the "repeat until it's funny" gag, and when it's not doing that, it's just really, really stupid.  If you're into bad movies, there's a good chance you'll find parts of it funny.  But to get maximum enjoyment, you really have to watch this one with friends.

My Rating: 4 / 5 if you watch with a crowd, 2.5 / 5 if you watch by yourself (Novice Bad Movie)

A review of "Absolutely Anything" (2015)

Absolutely Anything is like a Smith Island cake of irrelevancy.  One layer is for me, the sap who's increasingly out of touch with the world while I devote all my attention to my kids and books, and who had never heard of the movie before watching it.  One layer is for writer/director Terry Jones, whose previous feature was released about twenty years before.  Another layer for the supporting cast, which includes all the surviving members of Monty Python, which, while still hilarious to elder Millennial nerds, doesn't seem to have made the same impact to anybody born after 1990, mostly likely due to a lack of constant spamming on PBS.  Another layer goes to the gags, which eschew topical humor for the sake of familiar romcom tropes, occasionally sprinkled with the lukewarmly absurdist science-fiction bent that made the 2005 Hitchhikers' Guide movie less-than-memorable.

And just like Smith Island cake, it's a sweet and comforting movie all the same.

In terms of a laugh-…

Slightly inebriated self-actualization

I'm breaking with tradition... no, that's a lie.  I'm doing something I've totally done before, and that's blog while I'm drunk.  I've probably done that like, I don't know... several times before.  And God willing, I'll keep doing it for years to come.

Anyway.

At present, I'm watching Absolutely Anything while smashed on my fourth round of 100 proof SoCo, and I had to pause the movie because I had a delightful bit of self-awareness that I hope my sober self can remember.  Sober Josiah, see, he's kind of an uptight jerk sometimes.  He's always like... responsible or something.  Like, he cares what people think or how well he's doing with, say, fiscal tidiness or some shit.  But drunk Josiah?  He's all about wearing his heart on his sleeve and being SUPER FUNNY, until that moment when he's, like, not.  Steph knows about that.  I mean, one second, shouting "dirty cock" is amusing for everyone, and the next, you're…

Maybe not a thousand...

...but it's probably worth a few words, anyway:



Sorry, have to pass on a legit post today.  And on Friday the 13th, too.  Dammit.  I sure hope we get to that new house soon.

YA Marketing

Pressed for time again, so just a quick update today.

Last week I had a fortunate mix of both free time (amazingly) and surprise inspiration.  I was able to clock in a substantial chunk of progress on "There's Something Strange About Mr. Brickwell."  Obviously, that's too much good news, so I've had to temper my excitement by worrying about what the marketing will be like once I'm ready to put it out on Amazon.

The problem is that "Brickwell" is intended to be a young adult book - or at the very least, it's YA-friendly, which is good enough.  But none of my other books are YA appropriate.  Not even close.

So, do I use a pseudonym, or what?

I'll have to noodle on that for awhile. Maybe that can be my New Year's Crisis once I have time to think about it.

Hipster Holy Grail: UFO Abduction (aka, "The McPherson Tape") (1989)

The Hipster Holy Grail is my ongoing quest to review an obscure movie before it becomes cool to talk about it. Good, bad, doesn't matter.  It just has to be at least 10 years old and have less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. This week, I watched....

The Short Bit for People Who Don't Like to Read Reviews Even at a scant 60-minute runtime, UFO Abduction feels a bit long.  I can forgive that, though, as the tricks it introduced to cinema are executed perfectly and, despite filmmakers having almost thirty years to practice this shit, still aren't replicated very often.

My Rating: 4 / 5

"AHS: Roanoke" took three episodes

It's that time of year again when Steph and I sign in to Netflix to catch up on last year's season of American Horror Story.  Lately, this has been a game to see how long it takes for me to suspect I'm going to hate-watch it.

"Roanoke" took three episodes.  That's okay, I guess.  In AHS terms, that's like a C+.
"Hate-watch" is probably too severe a term.  There's usually a lot to recommend and it's a well-crafted production.  The acting is consistently good (albeit overblown, which is more a consequence of the writing than the performers), it's well-shot, and I dig the way the show commits 100% to every strange thing that it can think of.

But at the same time, I hate how schizophrenic it always becomes.  There's too many ideas vying for attention, like a bunch of teenage divas trying to prove they're the most horrified Puritan in a tenth-grade classroom reading of "The Crucible."  Plot threads will get introduced wi…

The cardboard jungle blooms

No update today - I'm gut-deep in packing up the house.
But thanks for checking in, I appreciate the interest.  I'll be back with a proper post as soon as I can.

Hipster Holy Grail: The Dark (1979)

The Hipster Holy Grail is my ongoing quest to review an obscure movie before it becomes cool to talk about it. Good, bad, doesn't matter.  It just has to be at least 10 years old and have less than 1,000 ratings on IMDb. This week, I watched....

The Short Bit for People Who Don't Like to Read Reviews If it didn't have the involvement of Tobe Hooper (briefly), I suspect The Dark would have long ago vanished entirely from the world of B-movie horror.  There's precious little going on that's worth describing.

My Rating: 1.5 / 5