Thursday, December 31, 2015

the Walking Dead: Volume 24 Life and Death

Aw man, yet another insane climax to this volume. Vicious.

Very interesting character and plot development in this book. Had a lot of depth to it. A moment of humanity and a couple moments of serious tragedy unfold. The last few pages are really well done. Super graphic and powerful. Damn.

Still a great series.

Best of 2015

25 books and 50 movies consumed this year. Here're my top picks.
Other than the music, all of these movies, books etc could have came out any year. But I ingested them all in the last twelve months. Mostly for the first time, but not always (PJ2020, Grand Prix, Bullit...)

Top 5 documentaries:

Pearl Jam Twenty
Lambert & Stamp
Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon
No No: A Dockumentary
Generation Iron

Top 5 motorcycle movies:

Angels Die Hard
Naked Angels
The Savage 7
Sinner's Blood
Rebel Rousers

Top 5 books:

Gun Machine
Total Recall
Dead Wake
Rogue Male

Top 5 movies:

Grand Prix
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
The Imitation Game

Top 5 albums (that came out in 2015):

Coliseum: Anxiety's Kiss
Crypt Sermon: Into the Garden
Vastum: Hole Below
Cruciamentum: Charnel Passages
Kamasi Washington: The Epic

The Prince of Pennsylvania

You can watch the whole 50 minute documentary above. It's the true story of John Du Pont, wrestling, and murder. Evidently there was a movie made on this story recently. I didn't know anything about it but Hayes recommended this doc.

It was made by ESPN so the quality is up there. Good score, actually. But anyway, it's a story about a mega-rich dude who kills an innocent man who trusted him. It's really pretty heartbreaking all around. It's well made. If you're interested in this bizarre tale of mo' money mo' problems....check it out. I feel really bad for all of those involved.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Rubble Kings

There's a definite romanticism attached to NY in the 70's. You think of Taxi Driver, the Warriors, and the seediness of Times Square before it turned into what we all know it as today. You think of the Ramones, Agnostic Front, Judge, Cro-Mags, all running wild pre-gentrification. NY used to be a scary ass place and the people who lived it loved it. 

But one imagines this view is probably a half-truth. Rose-colored glasses illuminating all the things people loved about NY before it became super bougie and filled with mustaches and cronuts.

This doc dives into the real Bronx in the 70's, where gang life was the only life for youths in the projects. They had no options. Well, it was dead or alive, if you call that an option. It's a sad story of young kids running amok, spilling blood, and ruining lives. But it's also a story of hope and peace transcending violence. It's a story of black/white, right/wrong, fear/bravery, and P.M.A! For out of gang culture came hip hop culture. People started to battle rap and breakdance instead of stab and shoot. Beefs were squashed on the wheels of steel, and not in dark alleyways. From block warfare to block parties.

You get the picture. It's a tragic and inspiring tale of disenfranchised youth. Blacks and Puerto Ricans uniting. Kool Herc, the Zulu Nation, and all that.

Stream it on Netflix. It'll make you think differently about the Warriors next time you watch it.

Can you dig it?

You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment

I purchased this book for Marie a year ago, I think. It's by Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the most preeminent Zen monks on Earth. I had never read anything by him so I cracked this little book open and dug in.

The book was released by Shambhala Publications and I really like the production value. Feels like a quality piece. Very readable layout, nice stock, design, etc.

Content-wise, there were definitely some nuggets of inspiration and value. It definitely focused on practice quite a lot, and since I don't mediate regularly I'm less interested in the physical/mental practice and more interested in the dharma itself. I like to digest the concepts more than anything. Just ruminate on them however I see fit.

It's a short book. Only 130 pages or so. Easy to consume. Recommended.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

This doc is well made. It details the insane company behind many of the shittiest movies of the 80's. It's a hilarious one hour and forty-five minutes, if you ask me.

This was a nostalgic ride. Remember Cyborg, Bloodsport, American Ninja, Masters of the Universe, Delta Force, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Superman IV, Missing in Action, Over the Top, Death Wish 2...? They were all spawn of Cannon Films. Those were the 'good' ones. Cannon used to shit out 40 or 50 movies a year back in the 80's. I hadn't heard of the majority of them. The worst of the worst. But as an 8 year old you eat that stuff up.

These guys were unique. You can't argue that after watching this doc. Horrible filmmakers, but indelibly part of my childhood and anyone growing up in the 80's. They definitely left a mark. An unsightly mark, but a mark nonetheless.

A Genius Leaves the Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay Z

Watched a 50 minute doc on Jay Z. You gotta be wary of "unauthorized" doc's cuz often times that's a codeword for "shit." This is kinda one of those flicks. They obviously didn't get the rights to use any of Jay's music. So yeah, it's a doc about a musician w/out one single song of theirs.

The doc is about Jay as a businessman and talks very little about his creativity or musical output. It's just Damon Dash this, Jay Z that, business, projects, hood, drugs, hustle. Lots of talking heads. Meh.

I really like Jay Z as an artist. Reasonable Doubt is one of the greatest rap records of all time. But this is not one of the greatest doc's of all time. It does not do the man justice.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


I reviewed this after the first time I watched it in 2012. Time flies.

Not sure what sparked it but I really wanted to watch it again. It's no longer streaming on Netflix but you can stream it on Amazon Prime and Chromecast it to your TV. So that's what I did late last night.

Man, it's such a good doc. Still one of the best music doc's I've ever seen. It gets you so freakin stoked on Pearl Jam. It's nostalgic and inspirational. Cameron Crowe should do more musical doc's like this. He has a new movie in the work called "Roadies," so maybe that'll be a good time.
I never saw Singles back in the day. I should check that out.

Back to PJ20; it's a must-see. That's all there is to it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Savage Seven

I've wanted to see Savage Seven for a few years now. Finally found a bootleg DVD. It was worth the wait. This was a bonafide classic.

Laszlo Kovacs was the DP, so that immediately set this apart from the typical crap we see in this genre. This was an AIP film from 1968 so you know it was gonna be right on target.

I gotta say this was the closest thing to a legitimate movie we might have ever seen at Biker Movie Night. Barring the likes of Easy Rider and the Wild One, this is next in line. But it wasn't "too" good. There was plenty of ridiculous racism, sexism, and dodgy acting to keep it grounded. The interesting thing was that this was racist towards Native Americans. An often overlooked minority in the Biker Film genre.

Dick Clark was the Producer and maybe that's why we never saw more than just a little underboob. Best nipple shot we got was from a guy. So...

Lack of nudity aside, this ruled. Typical plot. Biker gang invades small town. Gets in fights with locals. Rape, murder, and looting ensue. Only this time it's a Native American shack town and the bikers really aren't all that bad. Quite a handsome looking lot. We've seen this story a thousand times before but the Savage Seven does an exceptional iteration and puts its own spin on it.

Highly recommended if you can find a copy. Only idea why it's called the Savage Seven. There seemed to be a lot more than seven bikers...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World

I popped on Netflix to see what new stuff was streaming and ended up adding a whole bunch of shit. I was stoked to see this brand new Giger doc so I watched it.

It's dark. As it should be. Not super accessible. As it should be. Pretty minimal. But overall not super compelling to be honest. Sometimes these "moment in time" type of documentaries just don't do it for me. It's not a retrospective really. It is, but it isn't. Kind of a superficial retrospective. I was hoping for more.

Tom G. Warrior is in it for quite a few scenes. Of course that's kinda cool. It definitely gives you an insight into his home and the themes that permeate his work. He had great parents, at least three wives, he loves cats, and his house is a sprawling Xanadu of books, art, and general untidiness. Everything is painted black and he has the most amazing bar I've ever seen in my life. There, I ruined everything for you.

You should probably watch it, but don't get your hopes up too high is all I'm saying.

The most amazing bar. Ever.

Sunday, December 6, 2015


We kicked off this season of Motorcycle Movie Night with a bizarre one called "J.C." They don't really mince words on the poster; "J.C. and his disciples were a gang of broads, bikes and blacks." I'm not quite sure how his gang can be bikes, but still, you get the point.

J.C. was interesting because it had one hell of a plot. We don't run across many plots (period) in the biker flick genre, but J.C. held its own. Someone actually had to THINK about the story arc for more than ten to twelve minutes upon its inception. That's very rare in this genre.

The protagonist was the son of a preacher. An allegedly crazy preacher who saw visions. J.C. left town after his father's death and years later returns with his motorcycle disciples. The bible belt townsfolk don't take to kindly to long-hairs and african-americans. They have less PC terms they like to throw around when describing J.C. and his little gang of misfits.

Most classic biker flicks would just end right there as far as plot goes. Show up to small town, get in trouble, roll credits. But this was different. There were quite a few sub-plots and concepts running through the movie. Now, this didn't make it any GOOD per se, but it did make it more sophisticated than what we're used to.

The budget was clearly next to nothing. We were all shocked when we saw a crane scene. That must have been their whole budget right there. It sure as hell didn't go towards hiring a good cameraman or boom operator because we saw the boom poking down in half of the shots. Literally.

Anyway, I've written way too much about this film already. I definitely can't recommend it to anyone outside of biker nerds because it was terrible. But I think overall we enjoyed it for its eccentricity and unique spin on the genre.