April 29

The Thing (1982, d. John Carpenter)

Somebody hates Windows Vista as much as I did. The computer in this film is voiced by Adrienne Barbeau. Adrienne Barbeaubot?

The Night Flier (1997, d. Mark Pavia)

Stop cutting yourself.


April 28

Land of the Dead (2005, d. George Romero)

Oh, to be a fly on the wall at that Super Mario Brothers reunion.

Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster (1964, d. Ishiro Honda)

Four monsters, one with three heads, and one riding on another’s back.

Swamp Thing (1982, d. Wes Craven)

Swamp’s no place for an Adrienne Barbeaubot.

Tremors II: Aftershocks (1996, d. S.S. Wilson)

I used to be in a band named after this movie. Well, the band was named Aftershock — after this movie. I think we should have been called Tremors II.

April 27

Ravenous (1999, d. Antonia Bird)

Mean Johnny Barrows (1976, d. Fred Williamson)

April 26

Relentless (1989, d. Bill Lustig, the man with the file folder)

Vigilante (1983, d. Bill Lustig, the guy exiting the elevator)

Maniac (1980, d. Bill Lustig, the desk clerk)

April 25

Transformers: The Movie (1986, d. Nelson Shin)

Autobot Matrix,
Orson Welles, is this the end
of Optimus Prime?


Robocop (1987, d. Paul Verhoeven)

Who killed Laura Palmer? Swamp Thing.

Robocop’s uptight
Fighting crime in future time.
Make that double time.

April 24

Nixon (1995, d. Oliver Stone)

Pity Dick Nixon
Victim of the media
And the ivy league.

Ron Rosenbaum, my favourite journalist, published a volume of collected writings a few years ago. It had a jacket quote: “You made me look like a fucking asshole” – Oliver Stone. I don’t think Oliver Stone needed any help looking like an asshole.

Anthony Hopkins is wonderful. But he’s not Richard Nixon. He’s a spastic mock-up of Nixon. Perhaps he’s playing Dan Ackroyd’s old SNL Nixon. The performance, for all of its … sincerity? … can’t hold a candle to Philip Baker Hall in Secret Honor. As for the rest of it, presidential fictionalizer Stone should stick to the Citizen Kane structure of JFK. JFK is a (kind of) successful film because its titular subject is only present as a myth. Had Oliver Stone made a film solely about Watergate, it would probably have been more honest, if not accurate, because what he’s produced instead is a (long played out) character assassination mitigated by a lot of pathos in some desire not to offend (I’m reminded of when Stone’s Bush film came out and he gave a lot of interviews about how he empathized with Bush), as if Stone has a conservative audience. I think those of us media-savvy left-wingers who grew up without “Dick Nixon to kick around” can probably condemn his final days outright and some of us can laugh at the ludicrous cartoon depictions of him given by Harry Shearer, Billy West, and (yes) Frank Langella. I admire an attempt to do something more complex than Elvis Meets Nixon or Dick or (worst of all) Frost/Nixon, but by peopling a complex 3.5 hour biography with silly mock-ups of iconic figures (mincing/menacing gay Hoover, hypocritical yes-man Kissinger) the film offers an intolerably indecisive treatment of truth and myth.

April 23

JFK (1991, d. Oliver Stone)