Tag Archives: movies

R.I.P. Cult Character Actor Tom Towles (1950-2015)

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by Ty Pi ~ @-[->

Tom Towles was an American actor who was born and raised in Chicago, IL.  He passed away on April 5th, 2015.

He was a former U.S. Marine turned cult figure in the independent film scene with what is arguably his most iconic role as Otis Toole in the controversial John McNaughton classic, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

McNaughton initially auditioned Towles for the role of Henry before asking him to play Otis.  Towles had a background in improvisational comedy, which he used in playing the darkly comic character.  His performance is instantly memorable and has become, in my opinion, a contender for one of the scariest performances captured on film.  In the scene featured below, Otis and Henry are buying a color TV in the rear garage of a pawn shop.  It is in this sequence where we see how casual Otis is in conversation, how quick he is to commit horrible atrocities, and even going as far as to take pleasure with a child-like glee.  (Warning: The scene is disturbing and NSFW.)

Other credits include Miami Vice (2006), the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, and frequent collaborations with Rob Zombie with titles like House of 1,000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, Halloween, and the faux trailer Werewolf Women of the SS.

Mediatrocities #16: Criterion Requests and Remembering Leonard Nimoy

RIP Leonard Nimoy

RIP Leonard Nimoy

by Legendary Lew

TyPi joins me in the latest installment of “Mediatrocities,” the podcast of unusual media.  In this episode, we make an open request to Criterion DVD, asking them to take on our choices of films deserving top notch releases. The second segment is our tribute to the late great Leonard Nimoy, centering on his media work that was not Star Trek.

Give a listen and as always, this podcast is NSFW.

Included in the podcast is the audio for a Priceline commercial, the video of which is here:

TUGM Hosts Chicago’s First Ever Razzies Themed Party and NEW AWARD!

RazzieLogo180by Legendary Lew

Tonight is the special night dedicated to bad movie buffs like me. TUGM will host a private Razzie-themed party. On hand will be themed food such as raspberry wings (Left Behind–it centers mostly on a plane); Transformers 4 Age of deviled egg-stinction; The Legend of Hummuscules; Teenage Mutant Ninja Chocolate Turtles and nothing representing Saving Christmas, because Kirk Cameron gets way too much attention already.

We will also present for the first time TUGM’s Movie Rumble, pitting two movies against each other for the coveted first-ever Golden Undie Award, given to the feature that wins the party audience vote for Best Future Cult Movie.  The contenders are “The Legend of Hercules” defended by Jack the Gripper and “Left Behind” defended by Gorgeous Gaffer Gorrillawitz.

I hope to have pictures of the evening’s events for you later after the event.

Immediate Thoughts on Razzie Nominations: Sellouts and Omissions

Thanks a lot, Razzie voters. :(

Thanks a lot, Razzie voters. :(

by Legendary Lew

The 35th annual Golden Raspberry Award nominations have been announced with the expected emphasis on works touched by perennial Razzie fav, Michael Bay.

TyPi, Mountain Drew and I will talk more about those films and persons nominated, but I want to quickly present some quick thoughts on the noms.

Where the hell is The Interview?! Completely shut out? Really?! Razzie voters: is this a “patriotic” move on your part? Did you protect our national security?

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas would have been completely forgotten, instead of getting 6 nominations, if voters did not fall for the nonsense Kirk Cameron dished up to get further self promotion. Well played, Kirk, well played.

Johnny Depp overlooked for Transcendence. A shocker, really.

Worst Supporting Actor category is the weakest I’ve seen and, once again, an example of how the voters don’t know what they’re doing. Shaquille O’Neal is not a supporting actor. He makes a cameo twice. There’s a difference. O’Neal’s appearance is not integral to the film. A more logical choice would have been Terry Crews, in an incredibly racist pseudo-narrator/commentator on Sandler/Barrymore’s pointless romance.  Other more logical nominees are Neil Patrick Harris, A Million Ways to Die in the West; Rob Corddry, Sex Tape; Danny Glover, Rage; Giovanni Ribisi, A Million Ways to Die in the West.

Charlize Theron may win, undeservedly, worst actress for A Million Ways to Die in the West, when the film should have been about her. Megan Fox should have been nominated in this category, as she’s actually who Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows for the plot to unfold. She is incredibly unconvincing as a journalist, which means she’ll be on the payroll of Fox News momentarily. For me, it’s a toss up between her and Cameron Diaz for Sex Tape.

On the subject of least convincing roles, Lizzy Caplan certainly fit that bill as a CIA agent for her role in The Interview. She should have been nominated for worst supporting actress.

Jonathan Liebesman directed some good scenes in TMNT, which I think is way over-represented in the Razzie noms. (yes, that movie surprised me).  There’s no way that Frank Coraci (Blended), Jake Kasdan (Sex Tape) or Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogen (The Interview) should have been left out–especially the latter. The Interview feels like two different films pasted together with Elmer’s School Glue.

If A Million Ways to Die is not a worst pic nominee because it looks better than it deserves, then TMNT should not be there either.  Forget giving Kirk Cameron an extra 15 minutes of fame, also.  Voters, you were able to sit through Blended, Sex Tape, A Haunted House 2 and Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return better than the movies you nominated.

Transcendence and The Interview both definitely deserved screenplay noms.

This year, The Razzies introduced the Razzie Redeemer Award, which I believe is a clumsy way of trying to get stars to appear at a decades-old institution award ceremony.  A better way of honoring these types of movies and performances is to recognize those with the best potential of cult movie greatness. If I were nominating, the movie with the best cult potential would be Left Behind, an unintentional laugh-riot that stands apart from other films like Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, which to me is literally unwatchable. Honor those actors who you would watch regardless of how good or bad a movie is. My first two nominees for that category would be Nicolas Cage and Sigourney Weaver.

We’ll return online soon with the next episode of Mediatrocities to discuss these nominees!

 

 

 

MEDIATROCITIES: The Razzies Shortlist for 2015

James Franco and Seth Rogen count the minutes until they're done having to appear in The Interview

James Franco and Seth Rogen count the minutes until they’re done having to appear in The Interview

by Legendary Lew

What time is it? It’s Razzies time! You’ve just gotten over your two-week NYE hangover and now it’s time to look those awful brain-poisoners in the eye for one more time.

Legendary Lew, TyPi and Drew come to you fresh from “enjoying” some of the shortlist nominees about to be competing for the rottenest of awards, The Razzies. The nominations for the perennial non-favorites are due to be announced tomorrow, save for any last minute hacks by some screwballs.

Give a listen as we muddle through what dreck we’ve seen and speculate on what should be nominated. This program is NSFW, but scientifically proven to clean and disinfect.

 

The Birth of “Imitation Movie Product”

Add "straight male" to the flavor your corporate "movie" label is complete

Add “straight male” to the flavor your corporate “movie” label is complete

by Legendary Lew

The infamous Sony Hacks and film studios’ release plans for the next five years have made it more clear than ever before: they’re not interested in movies. Instead, they are interested in manufactured product. It’s incredible how brazen they now are in showing an utter disdain for you as a viewer.

As Mark Harris astutely points out in the must-read film article of the year,

As with prepackaged food, exportability and shelf life are now primary virtues. The product Hollywood is selling right now keeps better if it contains as few organic ingredients as possible — whether organic to the place, the mood, the news, or the moment. Think of the major Hollywood studio movies you saw this year. Aside from their up-to-the-nanosecond technological razzle-dazzle, how many of them felt like they belonged specifically to 2014, as opposed to five, 10, or 15 years ago? Or, for that matter, five years from now?

And much like an insurance company visiting college grad prospects, the “movie” studios have the next five years of your life all set. Behold, their idea of movie plots:

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harris-sequels-2

You can consider some older movies to be “corn”– a la (Frank) “Capra-corn”– but these features represent the corporate farm corn to be fed to the masses all over the world. These listings prove an attempt to standardize film making to such an extent that there’s practically no deviance from any formula that would disrupt the franchise.

So I propose a solution to differentiate between indie films and these corporate franchise films: require the latter to be labeled “Imitation Movie Product” or IMP, for short.

Why not? By law, sandwich slices have to be called “cheese food” or “cheese product” to separate them from the much better stuff you would buy at a specialty shop. “Imitation vanilla flavor” is not to be confused with what you can legally call vanilla.  Film makers at both the indie and corporate studio levels can use the same tools to make the finished film–much like “cheese food” companies can use “real milk!”–but they definitely come out with different works.

So from now on, the releases listed above will be referred to, by me, as “Imitation Movie Product” or IMP for short.

I think this will clear up the confusion and “consumers” will receive better guidance as to what they are actually viewing and supporting. You’re welcome.

Why Making “Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas” the Worst Rated Movie on IMDB is a Mistake

Cameron will haunt your movie screens even more now

Cameron will haunt your movie screens even more now

by Legendary Lew

As of today, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas is gracing the list of IMDB’s Bottom 100 as the worst ranking movie on a site with over 2 million entries. Friendly Atheist “congratulated” Cameron for the dubious honor, gleefully boasting the movie is now rated even lower than From Justin to Kelly.

Sticking it to Cameron with this barrel bottom rating may seem like a great idea, but I think it’s actually counterproductive. I was very happy to share and laugh at the awful trailer for the movie and to share a post exposing the former child star’s attempt to rig Rotten Tomatoes. However, giving Saving Christmas the rock bottom rank on IMDB doesn’t help for a few reasons:

1. Cameron Now has a Reason to Play Victim

When he tried to rig Rotten Tomatoes, Cameron looked like a petty nincompoop.  KCSC‘s current rank on IMDB is based on the votes of less than 2000 users.  The next two ranked titles, Birdemic and Gunday, have their ratings based on 9K and 50K voters, respectively. Some of the posted reviews on IMDB for this faith-based movie were positive and others completely irrelevant, such as this one:

Ultimately if Christmas returned to its more simple religious roots (“reason for the season”), the vast economic pump that enriches, oh, Koch Industries and everyone else who keeps the religious right in power would be gone and they would, gasp, lose vast sums of money… One wonders why Cameron has made such a film when most Christians scream about the commercialism… I suppose Cameron isn’t so much saving Christmas as he’s saving the economy for his pay masters.

There had to have been rigging going on for this movie, perhaps by atheists or others who can’t stand Cameron. Yes, Cameron may go public with cries of Christian persecution, but with its current #1 ranking based on only 2000 voters, it seems unlikely all those one-star reviews were organic occurrences.

2. This Could Influence The Razzies

One of the problems I had with the last few Razzies was the voting done for what seemed like spite in some of the categories. Lindsay Lohan and Halle Berry were nominated for Razzies, I’m convinced, not for giving the worst performances, (indeed, I believe Lohan was great in The Canyons and was easily the only thing good about InAPPpropriate Comedy), but simply because they happen to be famous talents in awful films.

Saving Christmas is a very small film that would garner zero attention were it not for Cameron’s dickish ways.  The stats for the movie prove that it’s not burning up the town. So the question is, why give this movie the possibility of getting more attention by pulling a stunt that could influence Razzie voters into giving nominations for a movie that should just disappear from public consciousness? I podcast a yearly Razzies show on my website. If this movie gets nominations, that means I’ll have to watch it, and I’ll blame that on anyone who’s helped to get this movie on the IMDB Bottom 100. I don’t want to have to see Saving Christmas. Please help a guy out here.

3. IMDB’s Worst Movie is PR Gold

The best thing to happen to a filmmaker who makes a bad movie is to make the worst movie. People want to see “the worst movie ever made.” If you don’t believe me, ask Michael Stephenson, whose film career had a resurgence because of Troll 2. He even made a documentary about its cult success, Best Worst Movie. Tommy Wiseau enjoys cult stardom with every sold-out performance of The Room, the viewing experience being enhanced by his personal appearances. Had he been alive today, I’m convinced director Ed Wood could have sold-out personal appearances with revivals of Glen or Glenda or Plan Nine from Outer Space.

If Saving Christmas remains number one on the Bottom 100 of IMDB, Cameron continues extending the 15 minutes of fame that should have run out a long time ago. Add to that, he’s a grifter, using his gospel teachings to further his misogyny, homophobia and ignorance of evolution. Stephenson and Wiseau had to figure out that “worst movie” status is actually a gold mine. Cameron doesn’t have to figure that out. He already has. He gets media attention and free publicity for every crazy video he appears in.

We don’t need to feed the beast.