UPDATE: King Newbs kindly transcribed this for me. Scroll to the end if you need a readable version.
(read the rest of this shit…)
Archive for the ‘Blog Post (short for weblog)’ Category
UPDATE: King Newbs kindly transcribed this for me. Scroll to the end if you need a readable version.
6/22 UPDATE: I am hearing that unfortunately Craig Baxley and Cynthia Rothrock will not be able to attend. However Don “The Dragon” Wilson will.
If you haven’t heard yet, I (Vern) am emerging from my spiderhole again for my second ever public appearance, a book signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank at 2 pm on Sunday, June 26th. This time it’s not all about me (or Seagal) though, I’m there to support my friend david j. moore and his gigantic new action movie compendium THE GOOD THE TOUGH & THE DEADLY: Action Movies & Stars 1960s – Present, which I made a very small and humble contribution to.
But that’s not all! I am told there will be a whole bunch of icons from the type of b-action movies we love in attendance as well. Like david’s post-apocalyptic movie book WORLD GONE WILD, this one has over 1,000 capsule reviews (five by me, I believe, which is how I got into this mess) and david’s interviews with a who’s who of action stars, directors, writers, stuntmen, etc. Some of them will be there with us to sign the book.
INCLUDING MR. CRAIG R. BAXLEY, DIRECTOR OF SOME OF MY VERY FAVORITE MOVIES.
Here’s the full list via david: (read the rest of this shit…)
The legendary (infamous?) fighter known as Kimbo Slice died of heart failure today. Around here we know him as the guy in the opening scene of BLOOD AND BONE who tries to punk Bone in the prison bathroom but finds out that’s not gonna happen. He also returns in the end credits to have his way with the main villain of the movie, and there’s a great video on Youtube of Kimbo on set intently listening to a punching lesson from Michael Jai White.
Everyone’s saying Kimbo was kind and gentle, which is amazing if true because look at that fucking guy! He was only in a couple other movies – two low rent MMA movies that I’ll get to eventually, and SCORPION KING 3: BATTLE FOR REDEMPTION – but he obviously could’ve played a million Tiny Lister type roles if he’d wanted to.
Kimbo had a fascinating history, because he became famous originally as a street brawler, seen in Youtube videos of seedy arranged fights in backyards and parking lots, like something straight out of HARD TIMES, LIONHEART, FIGHTING or RUST AND BONE. Or BLOOD AND BONE. I like when they have be careful so as not to bump into a satellite dish or something. It’s very unskilled fighting and totally unprofessional, presented like porn – that’s because in stemmed out of him being a bodyguard and limo driver for the Reality Kings porn company. Try to duplicate that career path! (read the rest of this shit…)
We can’t really be shocked to hear that the great Muhammad Ali passed away today, but it still feels wrong. The champ lived almost as long with Parkinson’s as without, so he seemed unstoppable. He’d long since lost his incredible athleticism, his quick wit, his big mouth, and yet he kept going. He was out there, showing up in public every once in a while to pass the Olympic torch, receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, attend the inauguration of the first black president, make himself known as an American Muslim, or tweet happy birthday to The Rock.
Until today we could still call him a living legend. Even outside of professional boxing his adventures were unparalleled. He had a gold medal (which he threw into the Ohio River after being disgusted with the racism he experienced at home – some dude found it in 2014!). He inspired the song “The Greatest Love of All.” He was a Wrestlemania referee. He had a cartoon where he went to space. He fought tooth decay. He fought Superman! (Don’t worry, his mother’s name was Odessa.) But we admired him most for the true bravery of living from his conscience, putting his career and reputation on the line to oppose the Vietnam War, to go public as a Muslim, and to speak out about racism, even if it bummed out Sly Stone on that ridiculously uncomfortable episode of The Mike Douglas Show. (read the rest of this shit…)
I would like to send out some positive energy to the great artist Darwyn Cooke, who is apparently very ill. Sadly his wife announced today that he is “now receiving palliative care following a bout with aggressive cancer.”
You comic book fans must know Cooke for a million things, but of course I know him as the man who since 2009 has been doing comics adaptations of my favorite book series, the Parker novels by Richard Stark. Although of course the change in medium requires a simplification merely by removing most of the words, Cooke (who received the blessings and input of Donald Westlake when he started the project) has been astonishingly faithful to the material. I love his clean, cartoony style, his bold use of shadows, his retro two-tone coloring and his appreciation for the graphic and architectural styles of the 1960s world he sets the books in. The man knows how to draw a good diner sign, and seems to have a catalog of the different types of faces you don’t see anymore.
I also think I must have similar tastes in Parker books to Cooke, because I love the choices he’s made of which ones to adapt. He started of course with The Hunter (the first one, and basis of POINT BLANK and PAYBACK). Then he skipped to The Outfit, possibly my favorite of the series, but he also included a prologue that’s a little mini-version of book two, The Man With the Getaway Face, so that he could include the fun fact that Parker got plastic surgery to hide his identity after The Hunter. And that way Cooke could completely change his character design after his first book.
Then Cooke went for my other possible favorite entry in the series, The Score, the one where they take down an entire mining town. I implore you to read the original novel, an epic heist story, but it’s also really cool to see Cooke’s visual translation, which is heavy on blueprints and diagrams.
Finally he did Slayground, which is one of my least favorite books in the series, but also the most ripe for this type of reinterpretation. The book has a great premise – Parker hiding in a closed amusement park being hunted while trying to recover a stash of money – but plays more like a recipe for what would be a cool action movie than a successful story in the Parker tradition. Therefore I really enjoyed experiencing it in a visual medium. (The movie starring Peter Coyote doesn’t count, because it barely has anything to do with the main part of the book.)
Finding artwork for this post led me to the fact that there are some hardcover editions of the original novels illustrated with Cooke paintings (that’s what the ad at the upper right of this post is for). I must’ve heard about that but forgot all about it. That erases any minor misgivings I had about people maybe using the comics as replacements for the great novels. I should pick those up.
Anyway, I’m very sorry to hear about Cooke and my thoughts are with him and his family. Thanks for all the beautiful pictures bud, you really know your lines and shapes.
I don’t know about you guys, but I have kind of a hard time keeping up with all the books. I love them but I put so many of my spare minutes into watching and writing about movies (and checking Twitter, sadly) that I end up with stacks of beautiful tomes sitting around only partially read. That’s fine, that’s life, you can’t do everything. But these piles of people’s passions weigh down my soul with guilt because I know I meant to plug some of them.
As somebody who writes books about movies myself I know this is not exactly a path to riches, so I respect anyone who goes through with it. You gotta really have a passion for the subject to get it done, and there are not enough authors doing that for the kind of movies we love around here. I’m never gonna become a book reviewer, but I do want to showcase some of the ones I have here because in my opinion people are less likely to buy your book if they don’t know it exists. The chances of them accidentally ordering it are pretty slim, I have found. Most people would have to buy your book on purpose.
So I’m about to notify you of some things that exist, and I apologize to a couple of these authors for not doing so earlier. (read the rest of this shit…)
Can’t believe I just wrote that subject line. I always thought Prince was an ageless immortal. I don’t know if I’ll end up writing a piece about him or not. You all know how much I love him.
It’s kind of beautiful that he died in the studio, at least. I’m glad it wasn’t in that random hospital when he made the emergency landing recently. And I’m glad I went through the trauma of worrying about him during that or I’d be blindsided today.
That guy had a talent and a drive beyond human comprehension. I don’t know what will happen with his legendary vaults of unreleased music, but even among the official releases there is more than most people can handle. So his life was a gift to us all.
I just put on Lovesexy. It’s weird, but that’s the one that really made me fall in love with Prince’s music. I mean, I enjoyed “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry” and “Little Red Corvette” and everything in the ’80s. And I actually I got into Batman and Diamonds and Pearls and even the symbol album, but it was when a friend played me Lovesexy that it went from flirtation to love. These weirdly, uniquely Prince funk sounds that bleed into each other, Sheila E playing some weird super drum set, Prince singing about heaven and hell and sex and weird unexplained characters (Spooky Electric?), background voices and chants fading in and out. “And while you’re at it tell your mom about THIS!”
Thanks to the encouragement of Clubside Chris and several of the regular commenters I’ve decided to try Patreon. (CLICK HERE FOR MY PAGE THERE.) If you’re not familiar with it, it’s a crowdfunding platform kinda like Kickstarter except instead of supporting a specific project (like a statue of Robocop, a short film about Robocop, or an epic poem about Robocop) you’re supporting the output of an artist or writer or podcaster or whatever. So you can set it to donate a couple bucks monthly and if enough people do it it adds up to bill-paying money. It’s like in Great Expectations, he has that mysterious benefactor helping him to become a gentleman, but instead of doing it because I helped you get your shackles off when you were escaping prison you do it because I recommended a good Scott Adkins movie to your or something. (SPOILERS for Great Expectations.) (read the rest of this shit…)
Check out the trailer for the third NEVER BACK DOWN movie. The first two were about young people in an underground fighting circuit, this one follows White’s great mentor character from part 2 into what looks more like a ROCKY type sports drama. Co-star Josh Barnett is a fighter who caught my eye by being really funny in a villain role in Seagal’s ABSOLUTION. Also you can see that the MUAY THAI GIANT and haver of perfect baby brother Nathan Jones is in there, plus at least one cool cameo given away in this trailer. Fight choreographer is Larnell Stovall (UNDISPUTED 3, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: DAY OF RECKONING, also part 2 of this series). I look forward to this one.
Jai alone can solve