Tusk...starring Guy Lapointe?!

It started with a podcast.

Now, I should say, I have long been a fan of Kevin Smith. Not like a super crazy fan, but he makes me laugh, I like his movies, I loved Red State because it was nothing like the comedic Jay & Silent Bob flicks he's put out in the past. I religiously listen to Hollywood Babylon where he makes fun of celebrities and movies, I used to listen to his original Smodcast but I lost touch with it a few years ago.

Story is, about a year ago, on Smodcast, Kevin read a twitter listing for an apartment rental where a free room would be given to any tenant who would agree to, on occasion, dress up like a walrus. In that one hour podcast, this harmless tweet turned into an idea that Kevin realized needed to be made into a movie...specifically, a horror movie.

This 102 minute flick follows the adventures of Wallace (Justin Long, you know him from countless movies or as the Mac guy in Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign), who is a podcaster with his partner, Teddy (played by a grown up Haley Joel Osment, the "I see dead people" kid). Wallace heads to Canada to find his potential podcast interview is no longer available. He happens, by chance, to find a letter on a men's room wall from Howard Howe (played by Michael Parks) stating he has a free room available in his home and many stories to tell.

Let me stop and say that Michael Parks is such a treasure. I remember seeing him back in 1996. He opened the movie From Dusk Till Dawn with a fantastic scene at the gas station. His screen presence and voice mesmerized me then as it still does today. You can't not watch this man. He grabs your gaze and you just start to wonder what is he gonna do next? He thrives on subtlety as equally as over the top acting. Fast forward to 2011 and his role as a pastor in middle America hellbent on being judge, jury and literally executioner to the sinners of the world. I've seen Red State more than a few times and every time I watch it, I wonder how Parks got snubbed for awards. He just seems to be one of the most interesting men in the world.

So...Tusk. Michael Parks plays, very poetically, a lunatic. He drugs, disfigures and transforms Wallace into his very own Walrus. All I can say about the getup Justin Long works in for the second half of the movie? One word. Gross. Think: Human Centipede, sort of.

We find out through a series of flashbacks that Wallace is maybe not the nicest person in the world. Okay, he's sort of a douche. His friend, Teddy, knows it and his girlfriend has her suspicions.  So while it's a movie about physical transformation, it's also a movie about the transformation of Wallace's soul.

This isn't a movie that will win any awards (although, again, Parks deserve a little something), but Kevin has said in his podcasts that he didn't do it for the awards or accolades. He did it, because no one else out there has done anything like it. Sure, there are a few nods to other horror flicks, even a few easter eggs scattered throughout the movie (Al Pacino/Hollywood Babylon theme song as Wallace's ringtone) and some cameos (Kev's wife and daughter are in it)

The bigger message that comes from this movie is...do something different. It doesn't have to be the greatest thing anyone has ever done, and it's worse to regret not doing something you've always wanted to do. Kevin wanted to make a movie that he and his friends would want to see because no one else out there was making it. Your audience will find you, he says.

Oh and before I forget...Guy Lapointe. It took me a full five minutes before I realized who this actor was...Guy Lapointe as played by Guy Lapointe?? It's Johnny Depp. He stole the freakin' movie.

Four out of five stars...and seriously people, check out the following KS movies and you won't be disappointed: Chasing Amy, Dogma, Zack & Miri Make a Porno, Red State.

Don Jon - a romantic movie about the love of porn - November 12, 2013

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Forget Gravity, and Captain Tom Hanks whatever-its-called.  Forget Bat-fleck and Timberlake in Runner Runner (perhaps the worst titled movie of late).  For sure, forget Riddick, I saw it and won't even waste my time reviewing it.

Go see Don Jon.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt (of Inception, 500 Days of Summer, Looper and 3rd Rock from the Sun) wrote and directed this great, indie movie with his new company called hitRECord.   Let me take a moment to say dammmmmmmmn he looks good in this movie.  I remember seeing him on SNL in 2009 and thinking "who's this guy" - he sings, he danced, he's funny.  JGL is great in this movie and I look forward to his future projects.

The movie follows New Jersey boy Jon.  He could have been on MTV's Jersey Shore based on his personality.  He's cocky, muscular, and goes clubbing every night with his boys, rating the ladies and taking home a different one every night.  He is devoted to his family (which consists of Tony Danza, Glenne Headly and the fantastic Brie Larson who speaks volumes by barely saying a word throughout most of the movie).

Despite his douchebag exterior, Jon is very honest about one thing.  He loves his porn.  

It can't compete with any of the women he takes home, because the women he takes home are all the same.  They can't fill his needs like the videos - he has a much better relationship with his laptop than any of the bimbos he nails.

Then he meets Barbara - here's where I admit Scarlett Johansson isn't the most terrible actress in the world, which is a big step for me.  Yes, guys, she's hot...from the neck down.  She still looks like a fish and her voice sounds like a cruise ship horn that needs repair or a donkey.  But she's believable as a woman set on making Jon into the man she wants.  She wants a real relationship like the rom-coms she watches, so she refuses to have sex with him until it's meaningful.  She talks him into going to night school so he can get a better job and make more money.  She inserts herself into his family, takes him to meet hers.  Overall, it looks like she has good intentions.  She's going to make him a better man.  But...he has to give up watching porn.

Barbara is disgusted by his addiction to porn and doesn't believe men watch it unless they have a problem.  She even considers breaking up with him.  Jon is so in love, he vows not to watch it anymore.  However, asking him to give up porn is like asking him to give up breathing.  It's not really an option.

Here's the part where I say that I think it's important for men and women to watch porn, and any woman who forbids her man to give it up is an idiot.  You're clueless to what men like and want and guess what, honey?  It's got nothing to do with you.  And you shouldn't take it personally.  Is it any different when you swoon over some hot guy on your weekly dramatic series?  When Barbara asks Jon to give up porn, I leaned into my hubby and reminded him how lucky he was...and he agreed. 

While Jon is struggling to keep this relationship afloat, and becoming the man Barbara wants him to be, he meets Esther (played by Julianne Moore).  She becomes a pivotal female in his life when Barbara has her melt down that we all know is coming (no pun intended).

We walked out, laughing with that good feeling you get when you see a rom-com.  You cheer on the unorthodox hero because he's probably more real than you care to admit.

If anything, go see the movie for Tony Danza, I'd like to see him make a comeback.  He's awesome as the typical roided-out Jersey dad who does everything but slap Scar-Jo's ass.

And if not, go watch some porn with your significant other.  It's healthy, it's good for ya. 

 

5 out of 5 (porn) stars

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Headhunters - Netflix August 7, 2013

My obsession with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister on Game of Thrones) led me to watch this 2011 foreign film out of Norway.  I love foreign films for one reason.  The level they take the actions and emotions to far surpasses films here in the states.  Headhunters was a suspenseful journey in the life of a professional headhunter who limelights as an art thief.  Aksel Hennie plays Roger Brown, a complex character who has an outward swagger that mask internal insecurities.  He has a beautiful wife that has no idea he's a thief.  When Roger's wife introduces him to Clas Greve (Coster-Waldau looking beautiful as usual), Roger finds out that Greve owns a priceless painting.  He also suspects Greve and his wife and sleeping together.  A myriad of life threatening events take place and Roger is placed in the path of danger over and over.

I recommend this film for one reason.  There's a lot of crap out there people seem to be watching these days.  I still don't understand how a movie like The Heat, with bobble-headed characters that act goofy, can make an extraordinary amount of money.  These movies are making us stupid.  Sure, you come home from work, after a long day, and all you want is mindless entertainment.  But what if you watched a mindful movie and then had something of substance to talk about other than "oh that Melissa McCarthy is so funny"?  She is playing herself it seems in most instances.  She's found that hook and good for her, but why limit yourself to just watching that sort of physical, moronic humor when you can broaden your horizons and see a movie like Headhunters where you are riveted by the action and suspense?  The movie is very simple on the one hand, but on the other it is a complex look inside the world of a thief and what he'll do to save his own life and what he'll do for love.

I will admit, we haven't watched a lot of movies lately.  We have been watching a lot of great TV:  Walking Dead, True Blood, Maron.  I'd like to start Dexter soon, now that it's ending we may pull a "Lost" and just power through it all at once.  When did TV start getting so good and why can't it all be like that?

Until next time: don't be dumb, watch smart movies. 

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