Week in Review
There was one week not too long ago, when I got emails from multiple people that included a list of facts about Chuck Norris. The facts were all things like "Chuck Norris' tears can cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried." It was a popular email for a few days, what I call a "water cooler" email. The same way people once talked about Seinfeld or The Simpsons, they talk about emails they get.
"Have you seen the Chuck Norris email?"
"Yes," I'd say, "I've seen it. "
"It's so funny!"
"What's your favorite Chuck Norris movie?" I'd ask.
That's where it got interesting. Many people knew Walker, Texas Ranger, but that's a TV show. I was familiar with Invasion USA and Missing in Action, but I had a hard time coming up with the other films, although I remember seeing most of them on cable at one time or another.
So I thought it was appropriate to have Chuck Norris week. I picked out six Chuck movies I couldn't specifically remember watching and queued them up in order: Silent Rage, Code of Silence, Good Guys Wear Black, The Octagon, A Force of One, and Breaker, Breaker.
While not actually displaying supernatural powers, I did see Chuck fight an axe murderer, an entire biker gang, a Puerto Rican racist stereotype with a switchblade, a freak back from the dead, lots of ninjas, several mafia clans, small town cops, and Bill "Superfoot" Wallace. He can dive a police cruiser, a snowmobile, an 18 wheeler, a mural painted van, and a couple of Porsches. He can dive from the top of a subway car into a famously polluted river without harm. When he rolls into a new town, the first thing that happens is the one good-hearted woman flings her panties at him. Chuck is pretty awesome.
The film that stood out the most was Silent Rage, because it was the most bizarrely written. It was probably re-written on the fly, and there wasn't any attention paid to continuity. The film starts with an axe murderer that Chuck has to kill. Then there's a biker gang that comes to town that Chuck has to lay out all over the bar. Then scientists bring the axe murderer back to life, making him an un-killable creature. I couldn't figure out what was going on in the large scale. Stuff happened, but one scene didn't necessarily lead to the next. But I really enjoyed Silent Rage nonetheless. Check out 100 Facts About Chuck Norris.
Pick of the Week
There were only two real candidates for this week's pick. I really loved the writing and the sets for Lars Von Trier's Dogville, but it was so disturbing in the subject matter, I couldn't recommend it. What really hit me hardest was the goriest film I've ever seen.
I'm sure you've heard of Lord of the Rings and King Kong, but you may not have heard of director Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. I hadn't actually seen this. For years I had it confused with Sam Raimi's Evil Dead. One of my Netflix Friends, William Millender, who is following along with this experiment, suggested the film to me. It's a perfect choice. I really like getting to the films I haven't seen with actors or directors that I know.
This film isn't for the fans of Peter Jackson's recent work. Dead Alive may not be for very many people at all. If you saw the Evil Dead movies and thought of them as comedies, this is for you. If you want The Rocky Horror Picture Show with actual horror, this is for you. If you wanted Eraserhead to have a sense of humor, this is for you.
The last half hour of the film is a constant splatter scene. The gore is cartoony but it's really gory. The effects are extremely creative, and if you can get past the yuck factor, it's really impressive.
What's it about? The same old story. A ratmonkey monster is brought to civilization from a remote island, and its bite turns people into the living dead with a never ending hunger for human flesh. That, and it's about a mother's love for her baby boy. I think. Check it out with a group, but not while you're eating.
My So-Called Life
I saw two sold out movies in the theater this weekend. Neither one was the Johnny Depp movie that grossed 132 million dollars over the weekend. Strangers With Candy is playing at the Bridge. For opening night, they had a trivia contest, a Jerri Blank (the lead character) look-alike contest, and gave out prizes. Afterwards, they showed Beyond the Valley of the Dolls at midnight. The Bridge is not just a movie theater, it's an event.
Even though it was playing on two screens, Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly sold out the show I went to, and the one after. I've read the book twice. While the strictest adaptation would have taken more than four hours, I think Linklater did a fine job of putting together a loyal version of the film. The casting and acting were flawless. I don't know if I can forgive Linklater yet for remaking The Bad News Bears, but I did love this film.
I watched 9 DVDs this week. 250 DVDs in 190 days. 250 DVDs left in the next 175 days for a pace of 9.99 per week. Due to the holiday, which eliminated a day of mail, I only received 9 DVDs from Netflix. I have one that's due on Monday. I need to get a little ahead, so I'm going to try for 12 this week.
I'm halfway through the queue. 18 days total of constant viewing. If I had thought about how many days it would've taken, I might have chickened out.