As a special favor to the world, I’ll try to make this column a little bit less of a bummer. That means I won’t get to the part about the government setting children on fire until LATER in the column. First we’re gonna talk about Star Trek, Spiderman and crap like that. And I’m gonna throw in a little photojournalism.
The famous summer movie season is almost upon us. Unfortunately there’s not much to look forward to here and virtually nothin in the Badass category. I think the only action movie I’m planning to see is XXX starring Vin Diesel. No, this is not pornography, although I have a growing collection of that thanks to dedicated reader Jeremiah who continues to send me free movie screeners and pornography dvds. If anyone else would like to join in this important cause drop me a line.
Anyway triple X is the latest from FAST AND THE FURIOUS directionist Rob whatsisdick, and in it Mr. Diesel plays an “extreme sports athlete” (that’s what they call the snowboarding potheads from the Mountain Dew commercials) turned James Bond type special agent. So he does many stunts involving bikes, snowboards, jumping out of cars, etc. 2000 Outlaw Award Winner Samuel L. Jackson is in a supporting role with half his face burnt off, as the wisecracking boss. I hope there is one part where he yells “Triple X! I want you in my office RIGHT NOW!” and then Vin Diesel comes in on rollerblades.
This looks like the corniest crap since YAMASAKI and it could be equally entertaining.
Probaly the most anticipated movie of the summer is Spiderman, about some guy in a red bodysuit who swings around on ropes. I never understood why a spiderman would be bright red, have only two legs and be not at all hairy, but what the fuck do I know.
This one’s based on comic strips I believe but alot of grown adults will be seeing it too. It’s from EVIL DEAD’s Sam Raimi and there is alot of talk about a Kirsten Dunst wet t-shirt shot in the ads, much in the tradition of the Catherine Zeta Jones ass shot in the ENTRAPMENT ads. All I have to say about that is come on guys, you knew her when she was a little girl! You gotta draw the line somewhere. Do as I say, not as I do. It looks like a pretty good movie for this kinda crap, though. Good luck Mr. Raimi.
Also anticipated in certain quarters is the new Star Trek picture, CLONE ATTACK 2. It’s about Darth Vader’s teen years, when his strict Jedi religion kept him from getting laid so he turned evil. See I told you George Bush, teenagers will fuck. If they don’t, this is what happens, even in space.
There are some people so excited about this picture that they are waiting in line at a theater for 4 1/2 months just to get tickets. OR SO THEY WOULD HAVE YOU BELIEVE. If your town doesn’t have a water skiing squirrel (and really, what kind of weather is it now to be bringing your squirrel to the beach anyway) you may have seen these dudes as a human interest story at the end of your local news. Two guys started waiting in line at Seattle’s best theater, the Cinerama, claiming it was some kind of art project. They ended up on the Today Show, and some radio station sent them a stripper.
They really were doing it for a while and in a way I admired this brand of nerd fundamentalism. Obviously there are better things to be doing with 4 and a half months of your life, like protesting the various wars, working at a soup kitchen, or watching BLADE II fifty times. But they wanted to do this stupid thing, knowing that everybody in the world would think they were a fuckin jackass for doing it, and they still did it. Really, if they want to do something that doesn’t hurt anybody, they should do it, regardless of what you, I, their parents, their grandparents, their future children, their friends, their neighbors, the employees of the Cinerama, the citizens of Seattle, anybody who ever heard about it, and all normal people have to say about it. It is important to stand up for what you believe in, even if it’s, you know, waiting that long for a movie about yoda.
But the thing is, THEY’RE NOT WAITING ANYMORE. At some point they set up a big tent in the parking lot, with a heater, a tv, computers, and I guess probaly some old playboys or something. I thought this was cheating, like opening up your windows and calling it camping. I wanted somebody to get into the line where they used to be, and replace their “WAITING IN LINE FOR STAR WARS” banner with a “CUTTING IN LINE FOR STAR WARS” banner.
But it wouldn’t even be cutting anymore, because they’re not even there. Sure, they left all their shit in the parking lot. But that doesn’t count. If I leave my jacket in a seat today, does that mean I get to sit there when BLADE III comes out? Come on. I mean, I live in seattle too, I’m at my house too. That doesn’t count as waiting in line, it only counts as being at my house. We’re doing the same thing, but I’m not taking up room in the parking lot.
So I Wrote to these dudes. Unlike me, they don’t answer e-mail, instead they ask you to bring questions to the message board on their web sight. I Wrote that I was disappointed they had given up. Was it really true they were in a tent, waiting to cut in line when the REAL first person in line gets there in a few weeks? And would it be disappointing to see people line up, after the weeks they had waited before going home? But I was happy they at least could go see BLADE II, and I’m sure they could still get into opening weekend of Clone Attack, if not the very first show.
Next day I got an automated e-mail saying there was a response to my post, but the link didn’t work. The message board wasn’t working at all. Later I tried from a different computer. The message board worked, but the links didn’t – the post, and responses, were removed. Came home, the message board still didn’t work. The nerds blocked me out!
So anyway, who cares, but I just wanted to show you guys that even the local human interest stories are a lie. Here are some pictures I took yesterday.
Sorry for the widescreen style picture there but I wanted to give you an idea of how much this is not waiting in line. This is leaving all your crap behind after the church picnic. This is a special, extra nerdy way to take up 4 parking spaces in a city where parking is as precious as gas is in the Mad Max movies. I didn’t poke my head all the way inside but I’m telling you, there’s nobody in that tent. What you see is the Cinerama parking lot. If you stand by those dumpsters on the left, turn around and walk toward the camera about 30 feet, you get to the box office.
Here’s the box office – and a family demonstrating how waiting in line works. They were able to get tickets to LORD OF THE RINGS without using an empty tent or van. And yes, they are pointing and laughing.
So there you have it, even the most hardcore of Star Trek nuts don’t really have the heart to be excited about their movie. Unfortunately there’s not much to get revved up about in theaters this summer. I heard of one guy that wanted to see MEN IN BLACK EPISODE 2 really bad and I was pretty surprised. But BLADE II is still playing and also for any of you who like to laugh I say go see HUMAN NATURE too.
Now let’s move slowly into the real world. This is a little followup to my last column where we discussed Enron a little. I’m not sure how I feel about this exactly but I was surprised to find that Maker’s Mark whisky has an advertising campaign based on outrage toward Enron and Arthur Anderson. No joke! Here are the two billboards I’ve seen so far. Let me know if you’ve seen others.
So are they taking advantage of our outrage to sell us whisky, or are they using the unrecognized artistic medium of liquor billboards to send a warning to The Man that we are watching? I don’t know. But if I hadn’t gone clean I’d probaly be supporting this particular brand.
AND NOW FOR THE BUMMER PART.
April 19th will be the 9th anniversary of the siege at the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas. (It is also the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing [not a coincidence], the surrounding of the Warsaw ghetto, and the day before the anniversary of the Columbine massacre.)
I’ve seen a couple good documentaries about Waco but until this week I’d never gotten to the most famous one, WACO: RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, which won an emmy and was nominated for the best documentary feature Oscar. It’s the one that proved the FBI had lied when they said there were no flame producing devices used. After the release of the movie, Janet Reno was forced to admit the devices were used and open a new (whitewashed) investigation.
This is truly a great movie, one that all americans should be required to see. Based around the congressional hearings, but also introducing what at the time was shocking new evidence, it presents numerous undeniable holes in the official story of what happened. I’d already seen the infrared footage which clearly shows numerous instances of gunfire into the “compound.” But it was pretty amazing to see the letter to CBS from a group they’d had analyze the footage. They said that it showed gunfire, that it appeared to show tanks running over people, and that because of the potential damage to their company they would rather not be involved in the story.
(Fun facts: after the making of RULES OF ENGAGEMENT an infrared expert who was studying the footage suffered a stroke, and was not able to testify in court. Another expert working on the case was found dead.)
And no matter how many times I hear it I am apalled at the information that the two pieces of evidence that would be able to prove or disprove the FBI’s story that the Davidians fired first on February 28th – the bullet hole ridden front door and the FBI’s own video footage – were both “lost” by the FBI, not “found” to this day.
Now I am the furthest thing from a gun nut, a jesus freak, a pedophile or a right wing militia member. But I think that anybody with any familiarity with the case at all knows that our government massacred its own citizens on that day, 27 of them children. I think the gun charges and evidence were fake, I think they intentionally avoided arresting Koresh when he offered to have them search the “compound” and earlier in the day of February 28th when he went jogging. I also think it is clear that the FBI and the special forces that they had illegally working with them set the building on fire, that they shot many of the Davidians that attempted to escape, and that they lied about all this to congress and to the press.
But none of that even matters. Even if you believe every piece of the official government story of what happened, we should be outraged, demanding accountability. Because even by their own admission, they sprayed CS gas into a building that had dozens of children and elderly people in it, innocent people they saw as captive to a charismatic cult leader. It’s hard to choose a most horrifying moment in RULES OF ENGAGEMENT, but one of them has to be the footage of macho boot campers after a few seconds of exposure to CS gas. Their faces are swollen, they’re struggling to hold back screams of pain, they drip from their eyes, noses and mouths. The children at Waco were exposed to ten times more, for 6 hours straight.
Anyway, unpleasant as it is, I think it’s the duty of all americans to acknowledge that this kind of thing happens and to look for a way prevent it from happening again. This April 19th please take a look at RULES OF ENGAGEMENT or WACO: A NEW REVELATION. There is also alot of useful information at the official W:ROE web sight http://www.waco93.com.
I wonder what the Maker’s Mark advertisers could’ve done with Waco?
Anyway, have a good one guys.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.