"And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy." ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Great Gatsby"
Greetings from the apocalypse! This is an exciting week for me, since I'm making my art gallery debut and all — I'm celebrating with two docs covering cool artistic subcultures (gig posters and tattooing), as well as a hella ton of Mother's Day recommends. Let's get to it, shall we, old sport? Yep yep.
Friday, May 10
POW! IN THEATERS
Glam filmmaker Baz Luhrmann's reimagining of F. Scott Fitzgerald's timeless Jazz-age romance "The Great Gatsby" looks like my 11th grade book report had sex with a disco ball, but that's par for the course. Luhrmann had previously razzle-dazzled "William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet" and reunites with Leonardo DiCaprio as enigmatic rich dude Jay Gatsby, clinging to the memory of a past dalliance with Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan). Clinging tragically, that is … What? Hey, it's an 88-year-old book, the statute of limitations on spoilers ran out quite a few decades ago. You can watch Gatsby die in 3-D, appropriate since critical consensus points to this old sport being the first box office casualty of the summer.
NETFLIX RECOMMENDS WITH A VENGEANCE
While words like "restrained" and "subdued" aren't part of Baz Luhrmann's vocabulary, they aptly describe the previous 1974 attempt at "The Great Gatsby" starring '70s golden boy Robert Redford, available on Netflix Streaming. Come for the lingering shots of palatial mansions and longing gazes, stay for the erudite bon mots and racism. Woody Allen's ex-muse Mia Farrow plays Daisy, while the screenplay was adapted by none other than "The Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola.
Speaking of lavish parties, my pals over at Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn, NY are throwing a humdinger tonight as they open their latest movie-themed art show "I Love You Man" from 7-10pm. You can get your bromance on with depictions of cinema's best buds, including "Three Amigos," Han and Chewie of "Star Wars" and Jules and Vincent of "Pulp Fiction," among many others. Those who attend opening night get first dibs on limited prints, which go online for purchase tomorrow (the 11th) at noon, and YOURS TRULY has a piece in this show as well, from a certain classic Steven Spielberg movie. As fellow artist James Franco would say, "Look at all my S**T!"
NETFLIX RECOMMENDS WITH A VENGEANCE
If you want to get clued-in to the hubbub surrounding the current poster subculture, then spend 80 minutes with some of the darlings of the scene via the new doc "Just Like Being There," available on Netflix Streaming. Despite some annoying sound issues, I found this to be an exemplary look at how gig posters capture the spirit of an event, be it a Nada Surf concert or a special Mondo secret screening of "Dawn of the Dead." Awesome artists like Jay Ryan, Daniel Danger and others share their inspirations for flatstock imagery at its finest. Dig it.
Saturday, May 11
YOU DOWN WITH VOD?
All my readers with some ink will want to hit up Yekra to stream (or order on DVD) the new documentary "Tattoo Nation," this week's heartily recommended "Survivor of Thunderdome." It focuses on homegrown American tattoo styles, from black and grey guitar-string prison tattoos to the beautiful color work done by Ed Hardy and company, as well as how Chicano culture shaped what became the archetypal styles of the medium. The highlight is definitely cinematic badass Danny Trejo ("Machete") showing off his tats and accompanying his daughter to get inked. Now that's a cool dad.
BASIC CABLE BLUES
What better pairing with a tattoo doc than a movie where two guys get tanked and wake up with tats, asking themselves "Dude, Where's My Car?" at 10:30 a.m. on FX. The tats in question say "DUDE" and "SWEET," leading to one of the most hilarious miscommunication bits since "Who's on first?" Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott play the leads, before the weight of the world crushed their spirits.
THE CON IS ON
This is a good weekend for autograph hounds. The Port City Pop Con in Wilmington, North Carolina has Michael Biehn from the likes of "Aliens," "The Terminator," "Planet Terror," et al. If that wasn't enough you also got Ghostbuster extraordinaire Ernie Hudson, Hellboy's skinny buddy Abe Sapien i.e. Doug Jones, Dee Wallace (Elliott's mom from "E.T.") and Richard Edson from motherf**cking "Stranger Than Paradise" … HELLS YEAH!!!
Meanwhile, Virginia is for lovers, but Virginia Beach is for horror as Blood on the Beach reigns in ten actors from "The Devil's Rejects," a "Friday the 13th Part VII" reunion, Doug Bradley a.k.a. Pinhead from "Hellraiser" and the first con appearance from Michael Rappaport. Oh, and lest we forget, former underage porn queen/John Waters regular Traci Lords. Pretty sure she's legal now.
Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day)
NEW ON BLU
Why not kick off this Mother's Day with the wildly apropos Blu-ray release of this year's horror hit "Mama." I loved the hell out of this old-fashioned ghost yarn from producer Guillermo del Toro when it dropped in January, with Jessica Chastain all sexily punked out and giving a nasty female specter what for. Gotta hand the filmmakers mad props for following through on an ending that is, while immensely satisfying, not AT ALL what you would expect from a PG-13 studio programmer.
"If life gives you lemons, make lemonade; if life gives you assholes, make a Troma movie." Truer words were never spoken, James Gunn, and why not harken back to the golden era (more like golden shower era) of skeezy old Troma Studios with the cult classic "Mother's Day" (1980), available on HULU fo free, yo. From its skuzzball synth score to choppy editing to truly bizarre performances, this slasher entry has a deranged old hag (Rose Ross) and her hillbilly sons getting their rocks off by torturing three young ladies on a camping trip. It's standard rape revenge fare given a cocaine-enhanced edge of pure concentrated weirdness. Watch it in its entirety below:
BASIC CABLE BLUES
If you're looking for a Mother's Day movie you can actually watch with your mom, why not give the Oscar-winning cuteness of "Juno" a try at 9 a.m. on Oxygen. Adorably sardonic high schooler Ellen Page gets knocked up and opts to give her bun in the oven up to an adoptive couple (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), despite lingering feelings for her unlikely baby daddy (Michael Cera). Director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody made their mark with this cutesy feminist-friendly love story, but their darker collaboration "Young Adult" is much, much better IMHO.
PAY CHANNEL PAYBACK
It wouldn't be a proper Mother's Day without an unbridled celebration of child abuse, thus IFC is running the 1981 camp fest "Mommie Dearest" four times in a row from noon through 11 p.m. Faye Dunaway plays screen idol Joan Crawford as an OCD bat outta hell, tormenting her young daughter to an inch of her life. "I told you! No wire hangers, ever!"
R.I.P. RAY HARRYHAUSEN
Finally, I just want to pay a quick remembrance to a man that inspired me and innumerable other geeks, dweebs and fantasy nerds with his boundless imagination. You will be missed, Ray Harryhausen, and I won't forget that one afternoon at a theater in Jersey City showing "Jason and the Argonauts" when you took a few minutes out of your day to sign my sketchbook and give me encouragement. See you in the clouds, sir.
As I ride off into the distant horizon, here's wishing you fellow weekend road warriors the best outing possible from this burnt-out, blighted wasteland. Enjoy your fast Internet, clean-ish movie theaters, plentiful gasoline and all the comforts of home, for this world lives now only in my memories …