Friday, June 9, 2023

Ghibli Watch: My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Watched:  06/09/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing:  First
Director:  Miyazaki

So, aside from a movie or two, I had never really delved into the Studio Ghibli output.  Sue me.  I love animation, but I love a lot of things, and I always thought someone would foist it upon me, and that hasn't happened.  Thus, in 2023, I finally decided to start making my way through the Ghibli output.  

It does seem silly, however, to try to add to the conversation on these much-watched, well-loved films with millions and millions of fans, and plenty of ink spilled over them.  All I'll really say is:  what an absolute delight of a movie.  I felt like I got the full Miyazaki experience on this one.

Thursday, June 8, 2023

PodCast 244: "The Big Lebowski" (1998) - A Coen Bros Rewatch w/ Stuart and Ryan

Watched:  05/28/2023
Format:  BluRay
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Coen Bros.

Stuart and Ryan try to keep their minds limber to keep up with all the moving pieces and new things that have come to light. We're rewatching a cult favorite and maybe the Coen Bros. best remembered film? Anyway, we don't roll on shabbos, but we do podcast. So, join us for a convo on a fan favorite!



Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) - Kenny Rogers & The First Edition 
Dead Flowers - Townes Van Zandt 

Coen Bros. Films

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

The Iron Sheik Merges With the Infinite

Wrestler Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, known to generations of fans as the colorful character The Iron Sheik, has passed.  

The Iron Sheik was representative of WWF/ WWE's early smash success via playing out America's psychoses via avatars of various concepts in the zeitgeist appearing in the ring, often to battle the heroes of the WWF.  The Iron Sheik was, of course, the threat Americans saw of the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in the post-gas-crisis world.  

Vaziri was not, however, actually Saudi.  He was from Iran, and I have a very hard time figuring out when and how he came to the States, but it was in the early 70's and tied originally to Olympic wrestling.  I think.  That he would choose not to villainize Iran in his heel-turn of the 1980s is not a shock.

Like many kids of my generation, I liked the villains as much as the heroes of the WWE, and The Iron Sheik was a favorite.  With social media, he resurfaced, pounding out tweets in the broken dialect he employed as his character to cutting and hilarious effect.  I think I saw him tweeting just last week, so his passing is a bit of a surprise.

I'm aware of the brow-furrowing concern that media cops have put on wrestling then and now.  I get it.  But if I may... not once did I think The Iron Sheik was representative of anything but silliness and sweet wrestling moves, and while not fitting a rubric of acceptable, he's still a beloved figure of a certain era of my life.

Godspeed, you maniac.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Review Watch: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Watched:  06/02/2023
Format:  Blu-Ray
Viewing:  fifth?  I don't know

Not going to write this up, but we did a re-watch in preparation for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, which we saw Saturday morning.  

This movie holds up like crazy.

80's Watch: Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

Watched:  06/02/2023
Format:  Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  George Miller

In memory of the great Tina Turner, this week we put on Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985) for our group watch party.  This is also the last one for the summer (or longer).  Life is resuming, and while I enjoy the experience, my own life and those of the folks who participated, has changed once again.  

Anyway, this was a movie I saw at age 10 and in the theater.  Subsequently, it played interminably on HBO, I believe, during one of the periods where my parents would pay for premium cable, and I'd seen it a lot during a crucial window in my life.  I'm well aware that it's not a patch on The Road Warrior, and in its way, not as fresh as the first Mad Max.  And, it's just not as good as Fury Road, which feels like the real distillation of the concepts and final word on the idea of Mad Max - until George Miller does it again.

But it's still a watchable movie and has more ideas per minute than a season of most sci-fi TV.  And like all sci-fi that works, it feels plausible and comments back to us about who we are.  

This Mad Max film sees Max wander into a town where capitalism has met with the apocalypse and you can't enter unless you have something to trade.  Having recently been relieved of his camels(!) and car, Max is recruited to kill the muscle of a brains/ muscle combo by the person who founded Bartertown but has lost control of it to an engineer who is turning pig shit into methane.  

Like I say: lots of ideas.