"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Beat it, 2016

Hey everybody,

Sorry I’ve been out of commission since Christmas. I didn’t intend to take a vacation, but some bots got stuck inside the datas or whatever (don’t know all the technical jargon) and totally crashed the sight. I guess somebody was mad at my dangerous message about the Star Wars prequels being interesting or something, I don’t know. It’s been getting worse all month and suddenly my sight was totally dead for days. Luckily Chris is on the case (please thank him) and it seemed like it was working yesterday and still this morning, so I was already to go and I wrote this and then as I was finishing up it was back to 503 Service Unavailable land.

But if you are reading this then apparently you are reading this, and that’s good. I thought I would do a year in review and link back to some of my favorite things on outlawvern.com from this last year.

First, a toast to 2016:

Goodbye and good riddance, 2016, you cruel and treacherous sonofabitch. You genius-killing, hope-destroying, progress-devouring monster. You ignorant, ought-to-fucking-know-better-you’re-an-adult, bullshit-Facebook-post-believing, perfectly-willing-to-enable-open-racist-oppression-and-claim-it’s-just-economic-anxiety stooge of a year. You injured us, you tortured us, you brought shame on us, and then made fun of us for it. Now you are over and it’s worse than the fucking Comedy Central Roast of Chevy Chase – not one sympathetic soul will step forward to defend you.

Do not visit, 2016. Do not try to contact us. Do not even think of mouthing one syllable of our fucking names ever in your miserable, joyless future on the ass end of the history books, where your worthless 12 months will be briefly summarized without passion on the yellowed and stained, bent-corner, tearing-out page that everybody skips over because it’s stuck together with boogers. They won’t even notice they missed you because fuck you, 2016. We’re through with you, asshole.

In Hateful Memory of The Year 2016
January 2016-December 2016
Survived by few
Mourned by none
You will not be missed
Go fuck yourself

Okay, good. Obviously that was way too forgiving of 2016, but I’m trying to be a gentleman. Let’s see if we can squeeze out a couple stray drops of positivity from this wretched year. For example there were a couple good movies that were released and a couple good reviews that were written during this particular 365 day period. If you like watching good movies and reading good reviews and you missed some of them this year, I will point you in the direction of some important ones.

First off, I probly won’t do a best of list, so I’ll say it here. KILL ZONE 2 is my favorite movie of the year. Action or otherwise.

DON’T BREATHE is my favorite horror movie of the year.

My favorite DTV movie would probly be Michael Jai White’s NEVER BACK DOWN: NO SURRENDER. Best VOD movie would be BLOOD FATHER followed by KICKBOXER: VENGEANCE.

Best movie that was on the SyFy Channel but not on video yet was STAKE LAND II.

Big studio movie that didn’t get enough credit: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN. I feel like for months nobody believed me that this was a good movie. But since it came out on video a couple of my friends finally saw it and seemed to even like it more than I did.

Smaller movies that didn’t get enough attention: the ballsy Kevin Costner sci-fi action deal CRIMINAL, and the Nic Cage/Elijah Wood sort of comedy thriller THE TRUST.

But who gives a shit about new movies? My favorite projects this year were the retrospective series. I think I had some good ones.

Technically I started my “Lucas Minus Star Wars” series in December of 2015 with THX 1138, but half of the series was posted this year. I went through and reviewed every non-Star Wars movie that George Lucas had anything to do with. It led me to some truly great movies like MISHIMA and some curiosities like RADIOLAND MURDERS, and it taught me that I actually love WILLOW. I’m very proud of this series because I think it makes a strong argument for the uniqueness of Lucas and the great ways he used his clout to help other filmatists.

For your convenience, this wrapup post has links to all of the reviews in the series, I think there are 22 of them.

Another fun one was “Carry On, Carrie.” I read the Stephen King book, so I decided to review Brian DePalma’s CARRIE plus a rip-off, a sequel, a TV remake and the recent remake.

My look at the MAGNIFICENT SEVEN series and related movies was also fun. That started with SEVEN SAMURAI.

Also there was the “Summer 2016 Origins” series, reviewing earlier installments or versions of the big summer movies, since the majority of them this year were remakes or sequels or adapations. One highlight for me was seeing BEN-HUR. I honestly was excited to see the poorly reviewed remake, but it played too few times and days for me to get to it. Still haven’t seen it, but I’m glad it nudged me to finally see the classic Charlton Heston version.

During the summer I also did a “San Diego Exclusive” trilogy which coincided with San Diego Comic-Con, but it was actually just movies that filmed in that city. I started with Paul Schrader’s HARDCORE and continued with two movies about cops teamed up with dogs, K-9 and TOP DOG. I haven’t even been to San Diego since I was a kid so I was happy that attention to background detail combined with Google Maps made it possible to locate exact filming locations to include as a public service.

My long overdue reappraisal of HARD TARGET led to the “Woo Zone U.S.A.” series looking at some of John Woo’s other Hollywood films. That was cool.

But the best series I did this year had to be the one where I alternated between reviewing Francois Truffaut’s Antoine Doinel movies and Cannon Films’ AMERICAN NINJA series. This was such an important study, so central to my mission here of expanding horizons and appreciating all kinds of art, that I never came up with a title for it. But start with the 400 BLOWS and click through for the subsequent reviews.

But I had some good standalones, too. I felt good about my revisit of John Carpenter’s VAMPIRES. Also my first time seeing Michael Mann’s THE KEEP. One thing I find very challenging in a good way is writing about a classic that either I’ve seen a million times over the years and never officially written about, or that so many people have written about that it becomes hard to find an original angle. Some of those this year were BLADE, THE THING, CHILD’S PLAY and THE KILLER. And this was less than two months ago, but I thought revisiting BABE: PIG IN THE CITY at this time was productive.

I wrote that during the lowest point of the year for me. But there were plenty of ball-punches to go around. We’re all still reeling from the ridiculous number of icons we’ve recently lost, some of them much too young and still very active in their artforms. Many of us are gonna stay fucked up over Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds earlier this week. What the fuck is up with that shit, in my opinion. Man, so many tragedies here, but for me it was Bernie Worrell, Phife Dog, and especially Prince that hit hardest. I’m afraid to re-read what I wrote about Prince at the time, but it came out of me by accident and that was very therapeutic. I’m thankful I had all you guys to hash out those feelings with and turn it into a celebration and share favorite clips and songs with each other.

That’s one very slightly silverish tone on the lining of these international shared bum outs – it can open the floodgates of love for the art that person left behind, and we find ourselves all reveling in it together. When Michael Jackson died several years ago it got me bad (not a pun), but I also listened and shared and thought about his music more than ever before. And I like this tradition it led to where I try to write about something by him on his birthday. This year I really enjoyed analyzing his crazy, excessive, kind of more relevant now “Black or White” video.

It was the worst of times, it was the Fred Durst of times, but I guess I can’t say nothing good happened. One experience I won’t soon forget was my weekend in Burbank for the release of my friend david j. moore’s amazing book The Good, the Tough and the Deadly. I wrote a thing about that here:

Self indulgent THE GOOD THE TOUGH AND THE DEADLY journal

It was fun and inspiring to travel and meet some of you, and I’d really love to do more things like that in the future.

So let’s hope there is a future! I promise I’ll try my damndest to make 2017 a fun year here on outlawvern.com, or at least on a piece of paper that we can all pass around if the sight gets taken out by bots again, or by the electromagnetic pulse when Trump starts a nuclear war over Ricky Gervais or somebody making fun of him on Twitter. I have a bunch of ideas I’m really excited about, some new things I want to try, plus a horror novel that’s almost done. (the “later this year” referred to in my bio below means 2017 now. Sorry. But it will be soon.)

I really think we’ll have a good time. Happy New Year everybody. You’re the best.

your friend,


p.s. Let me know in the comments what your favorite 2016 movies were, or movies or topics you would like to see me tackle next year, or anything else about your feelings of the year behind and the one ahead.

This entry was posted on Friday, December 30th, 2016 at 1:50 pm and is filed under Blog Post (short for weblog). You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

93 Responses to “Beat it, 2016”

  1. I really hope your Michael Mann retrospective goes full steam ahead in the new year, as well as the report on your viewing of APOCALYPSE NOW.

  2. Best Wishes to you as well, Vern.

    2016 has been a truly awful year. My heart just beaks at all the losses we suffered this year.

    Do better 2017. Do better.

  3. Thanks, Chris!

    Eat a bowl of dicks, 2016!

  4. 2016 gave me Type 1 Diabetes. Tomorrow night I’m burying the whole year in a shallow grave and peeing all over it.

  5. Vern, if you’re looking for new challenges, I wouldn’t mind seeing you review more comedies. I know you’ve said that you’re reluctant to do so because comedy is subjective, but I think you’re selling yourself short. After many years of snobbishness on my part, I have come to accept that I am a big fan of contemporary film comedy, and I find it hard to find a good discussion of it online, because so many reviewers either fall into knee-jerk eye-rolling (“God, ANOTHER Seth Rogen movie. How dare he make a bunch of above-average-but-not-great movies I don’t personally like?”), the disingenuous make-work kind of reviewing where they’re judging the film on things they know perfectly well it never needed to have in the first place (“Sure, I laughed out loud a bunch of times, but where is the character development?”), or that condescending “Turn off your brain, whatever, there’s farts” dismissiveness that you often see in action reviews. You’ve always managed to find a way to be smart about dumb things, Vern, so I think you could find a way to split the difference between judging a comedy’s entirely subjective success or failure in the area of laff-generation and discussing its themes and craft the way you would any other film. Comedy, like horror, can be a conduit for a society’s anxieties and urges, and even if very few of them go beyond offering pat resolutions to these issues, I think we could get some good discussions going here about this stuff.

    tl;dr: Remember the WEDDING CRASHERS review? That shit was a sensation. More like that please.

  6. I know that on a national (and international) level, this year has been pretty crap, what with the loss of so many creative people, various political upheavals such as Brexit (a bad thing, in my humble opinion) here in the U.K, along with similar feelings being echoed across the Atlantic.

    However, on a personal level, who led it has not been great, it’s been better than some. My dad, who is still one of the most important people in my life, has undergone a trial treatment for the advanced cancer with which he has been diagnosed. It won’t cure it, but should control it (hopefully for a long while).

    Coupled with the fact you hat my sister is also undergoing diagnosis for a potentially life threatening illness, I feel like I’m stumbling forward into the dark towards a 2017 filled with a mixture of both trepidation and hope (but mostly trepidation!).

    One of the things that’s always guaranteed to bring a smile to my face is coming here and reading your humourous, but always well thought out, reviews – and the subsequent good natured banter in the comment sections.

    So, here’s to the birth of a new year – may it be better for all of us. Keep doing what you’re doing, Vern.

    BTW, I loved your re-review of Blade. That film is still the dogs bollocks (that’s a good thing!).

  7. Hang in there, Paul. As I’ve mentioned I’ve been put through the wringer these last few years with illnesses and deaths in my family. I’ve spent much more time than I’d like in emergency rooms and waiting rooms and I have more troubles and responsibilities hanging over me waiting to drop. It’s terrible but I’ve made it through and in some ways I feel like I’ve learned things and gotten stronger and become closer to family and loved ones. And met very nice strangers in waiting rooms who gave me hope for humanity. I hope for the best for your dad and sister but no matter what happens stay strong and take care of yourself and appreciate life. And watch BLADE.

    Same to you, Manny! Sorry to hear about your diabetes. Take care of yourself.

    Majestyk, thanks for the challenge. I’ll keep it in mind. I did enjoy writing about the POLICE ACADEMY movies at least. Maybe it’s easier for me when it’s a time capsule. But I will contemplate possible review strategies when watching comedies.

    onthewall – thanks for the reminder on APOCALYPSE NOW. I want to watch it again on blu-ray to flesh out what I wrote after the 70mm viewing. Got too busy before. And I will definitely continue on Michael Mann. I believe MANHUNTER is next up.

    thanks also to felix. And anyone else I missed. Happy New Year everybody.

  8. I’m not saying 2016 wasn’t awful, it was, but the “fuck 2016” meme seems too quick to forget that 2014 was a horrible year too and 2015 was to put it super politely a mixed bag (not as bad as the year before and after but still not a great year)

    2014 was also a lot worse for me personally to be honest, I still cringe when thinking of some of the shit I had to go through that year, I’m lucky that 2016 was not too bad for me personally and another silver lining is the fact that 2016 has also flown by for me, I honestly can’t believe the year is already almost over.

    These are just bad times we’re living in in general, for whatever reason the wheels have kinda fallen off the world as we’ve progressed into the 2010s, it’s enough to make me genuinely nostalgic for the early part of this decade even though it feels so recent.

  9. Am looking forward to seeing more of Kevin Costner in badass roles. Hope he realizes this is what we need from him in order to sustain hope in humanity and great B action films. The first step in that direction is surely a sequel (has Costner ever done a sequel?) to the great CRIMINAL, naturally titled CRIMINAL 2 – THE WALLS OF JERICHO. Bring it on, 2017.

  10. Vern, your Antoine Doinel/American Ninja retrospective was a bright spot in an otherwise bleak year. Don’t know what I would do without you, brother.

    And thanks to Chris for keeping the lights on.

  11. Great to have you back, Vern! Your post helped put things in perspective by reminding me that, although we’ve lost Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, and others, at least we still have Fred Durst. Wait a minute…

    Here’s to soldiering on, surviving, possibly even thriving, and wringing as much goodness out of life as possible.

  12. APOCALYPSE NOW on Blu-ray is magnificent, though I imagine it would be a step down from seeing in 70MM of course. Hopefully you can review HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE too because that’s pretty essential to getting the whole story.

    Great to see you back Vern. I think next year will be tough, but we’ll get through it and learn what we can from it as always.

  13. Good stuff, Vern. Thanks for the writings, the filmcriticistical insites, the clearheaded political takes, the Strivings For the Excellence. I’m not happy about what’s transpired in 2016. Fortysomething% of my fellow Americans are some combination of actively traitorous, hateful, and/or stupid, which wasn’t necessarily the biggest problem in the world until they all came out and voted their hatred out of the gross fringes and into majority power. Brexit was a similarly unbelievably stupid move. Right wing weirdos are securing bizarrely high levels of prominence & power in other European nations. City-dwellers and progressives are being punished by the uncultured, racist goons living in rural areas whose idea of a good life is decidedly pre-21st century. That’s what gives me sadness, not celebrity deaths. Except Muhammad Ali. He was a great one. Fuck.

    My favorite movie of 2016 is The Mayor: Age of Riley, a documentary about the longtime beloved mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, and that city’s rise to world class cosmopolitan status despite difficult race relations struggles, natural disasters, and the severe handicap of existing within a state most known as the home of 19th century American sedition and modern day redneckery.

    Zack Snyder released another flawed but great film on March 25, and I again liked it more than anyone else did.

    My other favorite multiplex experience was for NERVE, a movie that asks, “What if we let Daniel Tosh be in charge of Pokemon Go?” The movie itself is not great, but I got to watch it with a crowd of girls & young women that was… well you had to be there.

    The only movie that almost made me cry was SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU, about a couple of youths named Michelle and Barry who hang out and go see DO THE RIGHT THING.

    Best Casey Affleck film of the year is TRIPLE 9, though MANCHESTER BY THE SEA is a close 2nd.

    My favorite screenplay of the year is probably MISS SLOANE. Aside from being a deliciously unapologetically wonky film that expects the audience to keep up with DC think tank powerplayer jargon, there’s a badass moment at the very end that made all my hairs stand up. An action film of words instead of punching. Also it has remote controlled bionic cockroaches as a key plot point.

    There continues to be way too much good/great television and not enough hours in the day to consume it, and that’s even before my favorite tv station (Al Jazeera America) got cancelled. (Thanks again, idiot America, for making sure we can’t have nice things.)

    The Olympics were entertaining, if you look past all that Brazilian poverty being cleared out and kept off camera by crooked pols, landlords, and hypocritical media figures. The NBA Finals was great. The WNBA Finals was great. The World Series was great.

    I never went more than 20 seconds without laughing at Angie Tribeca.
    Schmidt on New Girl is still the best character in live action sitcoms.
    (C. Montgomery Burns is still the best animated character.)

    One of the best shows of 2015, You’re The Worst, became terrible and unfunny in 2016. That’s bad, but at least now I can cut it from my viewing diet and let a new, better show in. Silver linings.

    One of my friends got a job acting on several episodes of an upcoming Netflix show. He did a few scenes with Laura Linney. So that’s good.

    Oh and the Wachowskis stayed busy with a Sense8 Christmas special. I haven’t yet watched it, but the thing’s very existence fills me with joy.

  14. Obligatory thank you to Chris.

    My favorite movie of the year was SHIN GODZILLA and THE MERMAID followed by THE NICE GUYS. Also I saw the Black & Chrome edition of MAD MAX FURY ROAD in theaters so if we count that then that one is my favorite movie of the year.

    I enjoyed all your series but special call out to the LUCAS MINUS STAR WARS and the AMERICAN NINJA/400 BLOWS retrospective.

    Suggestions: Your cartoon reviews don’t seem to get many hits (or rather comments) but since I’m a cartoon nerd and you’re not, I really enjoy your take the medium and would always welcome more of those. You even talked me into re-appraise POCAHONTAS, a movie I always loathed that you got me to turn around on. My other movie loves are martial arts (you cover quite a bit already ) and giant monster movies (which they don’t ). I always feel like an asshole making requests to content creators so honestly I’ve been enjoying all the series and themes you’ve been doing so I’m down for whatever.

    2016 wont go down as a favorite of mine either. Along with two relatives dying and other family drama: My life long dream was to have a family (or at least a kid) and a very close approximation of that was within grasp and it didn’t happen because I was so desperate for it I ignored the obvious warning signs of the ‘of the other party.’ One of those: I guess in hindsight it’s for the best but at same time it was the first time I was truly happy in a very long time and I was looking forward to planning the rest of my life doing dad things (no matter how delusional that was). Definitely not over it and won’t pretend I’m blameless but it is what it is. The warning signs that it was coming undone is why I came back to these forums late last year actually. I started posting, then lurked for about 5/6 years and realized I needed something to help make me feel happy and be somewhat preoccupied so I came back late last year and it worked. I really do thank everybody here for making this place so fun and inviting. It’s a very small thing in life but sometimes it makes all the difference while going through a funk.

    Thank you.

  15. Does anyone else honestly kind of hate this decade? It didn’t start off too bad, but things have gone south in a big way and will likely only go further south.

    It feels strange saying this because we all thought at the time the 00s was a bad decade, but honestly, compared to now it wasn’t that bad, hell I’d call it paradise compared to now, sure there were some bad things going on but the difference is that for most average Americans it was basically business as usual, I clearly remember that, if you tuned out the Iraq war and the media’s incessant post-9/11 coverage you could be fooled into thinking nothing much had changed.

    I think everyone just kinda held their breath hoping things would go back to normal, it wasn’t until the Great Recession happened that it was clear the party was over and the dream of the new millennium was dead and now in the 2010s the bad shit has come home, it’s no longer just going on in a faraway land (though there’s still plenty of that too) it’s happening in the streets of America, protests, riots, people massacring others for no reason or for an all too familiar reason and now that people are thoroughly afraid they’ve once again turned to totalitarianism as a way to feel safe.

    What’s sad is we kinda knew this was coming, didn’t we? If you look back at some of the pop culture of the 00s like V FOR VENDETTA, CHILDREN OF MEN, the Nine Inch Nails album Year Zero, there was a prediction that the future was in trouble and sure enough they were right.

    CHILDREN OF MEN is especially eerie to watch today, while obviously we’re not suffering from infertility that was only a plot device to put forth a warning about an anti-immigrant backlash and that’s exactly what’s happening in the UK, I can certainly imagine a 2027 that would resemble CHILDREN OF MEN quite a bit.

  16. Thank you Vern and Chris and everybody who frequents and contributes to the comments on this sight for helping to make this awful shit-fuck of a year a better and more tolerable one, especially during those times in which it seemed like nothing could pull 2016 out of the swamp. This has been an absolutely devastating year for me personally, as it seems like it has been for a lot of people, without even taking into account all the other evil, vile, heartbreaking shit that has gone down on a global scale pretty much nonstop for the past 12 months. I hope things will improve and I believe that they will and I’ll keep working hard to keep my chin up and make a positive difference anyway I can while I’m still around to do something about it. This sight has been an invaluable beacon of positivity this year and every year that it’s been in existence and I cannot articulate just how much it means to me so I’m gonna stop there and talk about movie lists and other shit etc even though lists are gross I know.



    Movies that I disliked a whole bunch (sorry for being negative): TANK 432, CARNAGE PARK, CELL, HIGH-RISE, BLAIR WITCH, AMERICAN HONEY, THE INVITATION


    Movie (singular) that I thought was criminally underrated: JANE GOT A GUN

    Most laughably pretentious art film that everyone should see at least once: WE ARE THE FLESH (also did anyone catch RIVER OF FIRMAMENT when it played? I kinda want Matthew barney to release one of the segments from it as a self-contained 30 minute special feature ala CREMASTER 3: THE ORDER just so Vern can roast his hide again)

    Movies I am really looking forward to but have not had a chance to see yet due to work or the fact that they don’t drop where I live until next year: MOONLIGHT, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, TOWER, LOVING, LA LA LAND, JACKIE, SILENCE, PATERSON

    Happy new year to everyone, and cya fucking later 2016. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  17. No matter how bleak things were/are/get we still have Vern. Much continued success to you in the new year. Keep on keeping on.

    As for my favorite movie of 2016 I have to go with The Nice Guys. Multiple viewings have made me enjoy the nuances in both Gosling and Crowe’s performances. I’ve also watched London has Fallen more times than one should admit. Maybe because I feel like Aaron Eckhart is worth saving. Sad to think in 2017 a President you can root for will be a work of fiction.

    The only suggestion I have for review themes is perhaps a novel to film comparison. I’m not saying The Great Gatsby or anything but maybe some Parker novels or anything in the crime and/or pulp genre would be cool (say Jim Thompson or Charles Willeford).

    Happy New Year, Vern!

  18. Vern, you’ve provided me with hours and hours of entertainment and all I’ve done in return is leave a number of slightly dull comments and bought a couple of your books.

    This little corner of the internet and the people who contribute here are amazing, keep it up. I wish you and yours a happy and healthy new year.

  19. Happy New Year All!

  20. Here’s hoping y’all have a great 2017, and we all don’t end up in a post-apocalyptic 2018.

    But if we do, I’m calling dibs on the last of the V8 Interceptors.

  21. Thanks for keeping this site running, Chris!
    And thanks Vern, for being a great guy in general (as far as I can tell from here) and the kind of film critic that we all wish we were!

    2016 was personally a pretty good year for me. I mean, I’m still unemployed (going into year nine now. Or eight. I lost count.) and my believe in the concept of “Humans are smarter than pessimist pop culture says” got kicked in the nuts and farted in the face, but since there is still a huge Anti Evil Shitrooster movement out there, I still believe. Also I went to Canada earlier this year again. The flight there was horrible, but I love Toronto and the small towns I visited afterwards to hang out with my GF and her family like crazy!

    On the downside, my mother almost killed me with bug spray and still believes she didn’t do anything wrong, but that’s my mother for you.

    Also 2 of the 3 video stores in my area closed down. Unfortunately the two nearest.

    I watched a surprising amount of 2016 releases in 2016, but most of them on my Canada trip (= on the plane during two intercontinental flights), one was a TV movie and two were Netflix movies. I wouldn’T say those were the best I saw, but I had the most fun with ZOOLANDER 2, DEADPOOL and TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES 2 THE MICHAEL BAY ONE. The most watched trailer was definitely the one for KEANU. Too bad that the movie didn’t hold up, but I liked it anyway. (Too bad that it also underperformed at the box office. Would have been cool if it had become a huge hit and gave George Michael another career bump in his last few months.)

    Also I went to an Electric Six concert, which was maybe the most fun I had outside of Canada this year.

    Apart from that…2016…ugh.

    As we say in Germany: Have a great slide into the new year, everybody!

  22. Best wishes to everyone that had a challenging 2016 and May next year and every year thereafter hold much better tidings.
    My wife and I welcomed a baby daughter into the world in November, so everything has been a little rose tinted since then.
    As far as films go, I loved The Handmaiden, Hell Or High Water, Rogue One, The Hunt or the Wilderpeople, and High Rise. I was most disappointed by Suicide Squad as I thought David Ayer might do something interesting with the property and the marketing sold me pretty hard.
    Most pleasant surprise was Blood Father, which re-affirmed what an engaging screen presence Mel Gibson still can be.
    I have two young kids so my wife and I have to be pretty judicious about which films we take the opportunity to see at the cinema. This site has always been a great resource for sorting out upon what we should spend our hard earned.
    Thank you Vern and I would love to see some New Zealand films reviewed at some point.

  23. Congratulations on the daughter, George! Do you have a suggestion for New Zealand films I might like? I think Majestyk recommended DEAD LANDS and I still want to see that.

  24. Best wishes for you Vern in 2017 ahead. Hope things take a better turn for everyone.

    I hope to read your takes on Seagal’s latest outings (CONTRACT TO KILL, END OF A GUN, KILLING SALAZAR). Came across a hilarious video of The Sensei (which i think you’ve seen) that i like to share with everyone.

    Steven Seagal - Defense Agains One-Two Boxing Combo (Aikido vs MMA )

    Steven Seagal, American action movie actor, Buddhist, producer, writer,martial artist, guitarist, and deputy sheriff was recognized in February of 1997 as a ...

  25. MIXALOT, super curious why you rate JANE GOT A GUN so high. Thought it was a stock standard uninspired western, mainly due to director Gavin O’Connor, who I’ve had a suspicious eye on since PRIDE AND GLORY was so cliche. He’s failed to impress me right up to and including THE ACCOUNTANT. A journeyman much like Fuqua, who lost me with his unwanted SOUTHPAW.

    Since we’re on the western front, BONE TOMAHAWK was my 2nd favorite film of the year and inspired me to buy all available S. Craig Zahler novels I could find.

    THE KEEPING ROOM was a good Civil War set pro-feminist western with Sam Worthington. THE FORSAKEN was a decent UNFORGIVEN-inspired one with Kiefer and dad Donald, and had some nice violent flourishes.

    One movie that came out of nowhere and bit me in the balls was ZULU, a South African cop thriller with Forest Whitaker and a nice grungy badass performance from Orlando Bloom.

  26. I would also add on the TV front that my favourite two shows of the year are shows that I should hate on paper. But despite my dislike for musicals, GALAVANT turned out to be seriously great, especially in season 2! Too bad that we only get two short seasons, but they provided more fun, memorable characters and all around awesomness than most award winning hype shows these days. (Also: Vinnie Jones singing. Well, “singing”.)

    The other show that had a seriously great run in 2016 and went from “fun” to “God damn, why isn’t this a worldwide phenomenon?” is THE LAST MAN ON EARTH. You all know (or not) that I hate tonal shifts, especially the dreaded “from goofy comedy to tear jerking drama”, that ruined so many asian movies for me, but for some reason that show always hits the right notes and switches so easily from silly slapstick to heart breaking sadness, that I wonder why so many other movies and shows fail to do so. (I mean, the last few episodes of season 3.1 dealt with mental illness, heartbreak and suicide, while Will Forte wore a dinosaur costume!)

    (Special shout out to season 2 of ASH VS EVIL DEAD, which fixed nearly every problem that I had with season 1, but unfortunately the well reported behind the scenes trouble prevented it from sticking the landing. Still: Great season, great show!)

    Music wise not much happened. Some of my favourites released new albums (Yello, Mr Oizo, Underworld and like every year Electric Six) and they were all very good, but nothing that I would call their best work. At least the year was free of musical disappointments.

  27. Of course 2017 is the year The Running Man takes place, so we have that to look forward to.

  28. Thanks Vern, I’m going to read Niketown over the holidays. I hope you keep writing and have a good 2017.

  29. I sincerely wish you all that you wish for yourselves.

    Fingers crossed 2017 is nothing – nothing – like the unceasing shitstorm that was 2016.

    All the best.

    Now got watch THE YAKUZA.

  30. Thanks Vern, and Happy New Year

  31. Thanks, Vern, for creating a place of light in a truly dark year.

  32. Film of the year: THE FORBIDDEN ROOM.

    RIP Pauline Oliveros, Alan Vega, Leonard Cohen.

    Best wishes to the most thoughtful commenters on the internet, and to the host who keeps you all on the straight and narrow.


  33. Firstly I hope 2016 crashes through the window of a dojo inhabited by Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins and Tony Jaa then foolishly offends their honour.

    Secondly I want to sincerely thank you for your writing Vern I have to Patreon you up because you’ve honestly made my year better (including Niketown) and given me some light when I couldn’t seem to generate my own.

    Tertiary thanks to the regular commenters who add value here( without plugging their own content!)

    Here’s to making 2017 the year when these vicious racist, misogynist Atavistic fucks get to witness Team Human’s just how badass is he moment.

  34. Also thanks Chris!

  35. I’m going to start with the movies (in no particular order). Movies I loved: DEADPOOL, TARZAN, NICE GUYS, LA LA LAND, STAR TREK, THE ACCOUNTANT. My absolute favorite is probably either LA LA LAND or NICE GUYS. I guess I was in a Ryan Gosling kinda mood this year. But, honestly, when am I not? Movies I liked: BVS (almost loved due to Wonder Woman fight scene), GREEN ROOM, GHOSTBUSTERS (almost loved), DON’T BREATHE, MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, FANTASTIC BEASTS, DOCTOR STRANGE. Movies I wouldn’t say I hated, but was very disappointed in: CAP AMERICA CIVIL WAR, JACK REACHER REVISITED. Movies I wanted to see, but haven’t gotten to yet: WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT, CRIMINAL, SING, EDGE OF SEVENTEEN, PASSENGERS, DON’T THINK TWICE, MOANA.

    Other things new to me in 2016: Shows I found on Netflix and devoured with love in my heart: MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES, RIPPER STREET, STRANGER THINGS. Authors I discovered who have written long series (all women writing mysteries with women main characters) Elizabeth Peters, Carolyn Haines, Anne Perry. That last one is weird. I found the series, but before I started reading it, I found out she committed a murder when she was a teenager. She was one of the girls the movie HEAVENLY CREATURES is based on. I never saw the movie, but I read about how she and her best friend murdered her best friend’s mom when they were fifteen. I almost didn’t start reading the books because I thought I would be weirded out reading a *murder* mystery written for entertainment purposes by someone who actually committed a murder. It was weird, but it was also such a good book. I’m several books into the series and most of the time I’m okay, but every so often I’m jarred by the thought of it all again.

    Personally, 2016 was a meh/blah year. Nothing great happened to me, but nothing bad, either. Thinking about it now, that’s almost worse than having a terrible year. I don’t mean to belittle anyone who did have a terrible year. Believe me, I’ve had terrible years filled with deaths in the family, unemployment and borderline bankruptcy and I would’ve killed to have a meh/blah year. But even in their terribleness those times can be meaningful. They can show you that you had strength you didn’t know you had. They can forge relationships with people you wouldn’t have otherwise. They can help you find what is important and fill you with the drive to get that, or appreciate it more. For me, I’m working in a job I don’t really care about, but it’s a great company and I love my boss. I gave up on dating. I had to cut back the hours I volunteer at a crisis hotline because I felt my empathy with people eroding.

    I have a friend who created a cartoon that shows 2016 resolutions as the normal things like exercise, eat right, save money. His 2017 resolutions are, “pet more dogs.” When I was just home for Christmas my mom pulled out a puzzle. I made the joke that a possible 2017 resolution could be, “Do puzzles only as far as the sky. There’s no time for that kind of nonsense.” I’ve decided that these are the best ideas for resolutions for 2017. It’s not a year for resolutions full of deprivation and hardship. It’s a year that needs resolutions to treat yo’self. 2017 is going to be full of shittiness all by itself. I don’t need to add more on myself.

    Maggie’s 2017 Resolutions:

    Eat more chocolate. But the good kind. Not the gas station kind, which has its place, but we’re talking the creamy chocolate with bits of toffee and sea salt.

    Pet all the dogs. Don’t worry about looking like a weirdo because you had to speed walk to catch up to it, just go pet it.

    Don’t say, “Ew, don’t post that picture; I look fat.” Am I smiling? Do I look like I’m having fun? Then post that mother fucker.

    Branch out. Try new restaurants and eat that thing you wouldn’t normally order. Read more diverse books. See a movie, even if it looks sad – feel the sadness, but then let it go.

    Maybe try dating again.

    Definitely see more movies.

  36. Oops, I was so excited to see the site up and working, I just dove right in without saying thanks, Vern, for the great work and thanks, Chris for making it possible for all of us to be here.

  37. Happy new year to Vern and to all you talkbackers. Keep up the great work.

    I also would like to see the long-ago-promised reviews of APOCALYPSE NOW and the Reeve SUPERMAN sequels, as well as the more recent Seagal films. No hurry.

  38. Oh and Vern, your essay on Prince is pretty good, and nothing to be ashamed about … except for possibly the fact that you promised RRA you’d review Prince’s other movies. So I guess get to his wish before you get to mine.

  39. Thank you, Chris, for bring my favorite site back online. Thank you, Vern, and thanks to everyone here in the comments, with an extra-shout out to Mouth. Your impassioned words in the ‘Vern Tells It Like It Is: Pretty please vote for Clinton’ comments were an inspiration to me.

    I hate to say it, but I feel like we all need to brush up on the old New German Cinema now. I went through a period wherein I watched a handful of them (I barely even scratched the surface) a few years ago and, while they were extremely interesting at that time and will likely have something to teach us about society for as long as society exists, they have a new, unfortunate urgency now. Aside from the exhilaration that comes with great filmmaking, they’re total bummers. But that’s the world that we live in.

    I could make a lot of requests/recommendations, Vern, but you just do what you do. That works out better anything that I could think of. And if you happen to watch/review Finn Taylor’s Cherish or do a Romero retrospective or beef up the ‘code of honor’ tag, I’d be super excited about any of those.

    Happy New Year, everybody.

  40. Where you from in NZ George? Vern, if you’re doing NZ films, maybe do the works of Bruno Lawrence, and Irrefutable Truth about Demons?

  41. Thanks Vern! The kid is doing all the things she should be so we’re pretty stoked.
    As Darth mentioned, I would suggest two Bruno Lawrence movies: Goodbye Pork Pie and Smash Palace. Taika Waititi made a movie called Boy, which I think is wonderful. It also has a pretty major Michael Jackson connection that you might get a kick out of. Whale Rider is also very good and if you want a shamefully accurate depiction of how colonization has had a far reaching and insidious impact on our indigenous Maori then Once Were Warriors is a powerful film. It’s grueling though. I only ever saw it once and it was enough.
    Two more high profile releases last year were Hunt For The Wilderpeople and Housebound. I think Housebound has been picked up for a U.S remake.
    Darth – I was born in Christchurch but grew up in Kaikoura. My parents and my little sister still live there and are currently adapting to life after the big earthquake (which happened the same night my daughter was born!)

  42. Grimgrinningchris

    December 31st, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Glad the sight is back up. I was worried there for a bit.

    This year really has been a fucking Nightmare.

    In addition to all the same crap we all saw and dealt with, I buried 7 personal friends this year- 4 of them very close and decade (or decadeS) long friendships. It’s only gonna continue as I (and we all) get older- but I really wasn’t prepared at all.

    The sight and Vern’s writing are always a respite from the skullfuckery of day to day life though and even though it’s been a shit year personally and for the whole country and world, it’s been one of the best years as far as Vern’s writing and sight content so innumerable thanks for that!!!

    More Disney movies!

    I just finally saw “Walt Before Mickey” (it’s on Netflix right now) and am curious for your thoughts on it, Vern.

    Happy New Year, everyone. And here’s hoping for a much better 2017 for us all and for the films of cinema!

  43. Happy New Year my friends! My movie watching pattern involves me ignoring shit all year and then catching up by virtue of the year-end best of lists posted by the likes of YOU, esteemed outlawvern commenters, so this is some exciting stuff.

    Vern, did you like We Got It from Here Thank You 4 Your Service? I surmise from your tweet that your favorite album was Lemonade? That Solange wasn’t bad either! Gotta admit my favorite hip hop record this year was probably Aceyalone’s space rap album Mars.

    Of course I had my heart broken innumerable times by 2016 as well but in the spirit of highlighting the positive, this was the best year for hard rock since approx 1972 or 1977 depending on your tastes. Great albums from ALL of the following bands, and more I’m forgetting!:
    Agoraphobic Nosebleed, All Time High, Aluk Todolo, Arctic, Beastmaker, Beehoover, Big Business, Black Cobra, Black Lung, Black Moon Circle, Black Mountain, Black Rainbows, Black Tomb, Blood Ceremony, Causa Sui, Cobalt, Conan, Cough, DIIV, Deadsmoke, Duel, Earthless / Heavy Toke, Farflung, Fatso Jetson, Goat, Goatess, Golden Grass, Graf Orlock, Graves at Sea, Greenleaf, Horseburner, Inter Arma, Joy, King Buffalo, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Langfinger, Like Rats, Lugnet, Mars Red Sky, Mondo Drag, Monomyth, Naxatras, Ortega, Purson, Red Spektor, Sea of Bones, Seven Sisters of Sleep, Sgt. Sunshine, Sinister Haze, Slomatics, Subrosa, Sunnata, Tombs, True Widow, Verdun, Wo Fat, Wrong, Zun
    Just an overwhelming cornucopia of great rock and roll. It will be like this from now on I think, more great releases each year than you can keep track of.

  44. Renfield – I should mention that my favorite albums of the year are not well informed at all because I really do not stay in touch with new music. Whatever I did buy this year was mostly old soundtracks and stuff. But yes, I loved the Lemonade video album and watched it a couple times and then just started listening to the album. Only Beyonce I ever bought, although I am a fan of that one single cover where she had an alligator on a leash.

    The other new albums I’ve enjoyed were yes, the Tribe Called Quest, plus The Epic by Kamasi Washington and (as of a few days ago) Run the Jewels 3. I haven’t gotten into the De La Soul, but feel like I should try again.

    On TV I loved Atlanta, Better Things, Fargo season 2 (if that was this year) and the Netflix show The Get Down. I haven’t seen Ash vs. Evil Dead season 2 yet but I bet I’ll like it.

    Jareth – I think that should be the new motto here.

  45. Hey Vern ,

    Happy new year , wush you all the best !
    Cheers from Tunisia !

  46. Happy New Year from Norway. Let’s hope 2017 will be a good one…

    The best movie I saw this year was without doubt the same as always; Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH.

  47. George, is the family ok? How long did it take to get supplies through in the end?

    I’m a JAFA but I live in Boston now.

    Vern, you should also add UTU to your Bruno Lawrence fest.

  48. Ha ha, that’s a hilarious list of obviously made-up band names, renfield!

  49. Happy New Year. This year Vern revisited Hard Target and finally reviewed Intruder. Thanks Vern. I appreciate it.

    Maggie, I saw LaLa Land and was excited for it. However, I was really let down. I found the music completely unmemorable. Take away the music and you also have an unmemorable, almost incredibly generic, romantic drama. My biggest disappointment of 2016.

  50. Once Were Warriors is an amazing film and if I’m not mistaken the chap who played the lead role went on to star as Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones.

  51. George Sanderson

    January 1st, 2017 at 6:37 am

    Darth – Utu! Of course, that’s probably the most Verny of all NZ films. The fam’s all good, thanks for asking. My folks have lost the old family home, but considering how bad it could have been we are counting ourselves pretty lucky.
    Analog – you’re right, Temuera Morrison plays the lead in Once Were Warriors and went on to play Jango Fett. He filled the ethnically ambiguous roles that fellow Kiwi Cliff Curtis now takes.

  52. In 2017 news: This is something to look forward to IMO. I guess in a certain part of the world, THE RAID IN A ______________ will be the next DIE HARD ON A _____________,

    JAILBREAK - Official Trailer (Cambodian Martial Arts Action Comedy)

    From Puprom Entertainment and Kongchak Pictures SYNOPSIS: A group of Special Task Force Officers are sent to Koh Kla prison where they detain the country’s t...

  53. Thanks Majestyk now I feel like even more of a nerd

  54. I’m not really making fun of you, especially since I’d be the world’s biggest hypocrite for mocking somebody else’s wealth of arcane knowledge. I’m making fun of the fact that band names have become one of those things that it’s impossible to parody. You could let a blind guy pick your band name out of a pile of random magnetic poetry tiles and it still wouldn’t be half as ridiculous as the names actual professionals have chosen for themselves on purpose.

  55. I actually have a friend who as an ongoing joke will occasionally ask me “Have you heard the new ______?” and make up a name, like Black Gypsy or Wormsnot or something. And yeah, sometimes they inadvertently name a real artist!

    But good heavens, are you intimating that King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard is somehow a ridiculous name?

    (really cool band by the way! http://www.npr.org/2016/04/21/474678543/first-listen-king-gizzard-the-lizard-wizard-nonagon-infinity)

  56. Temuera Morrison also was the Arnold Vosloo role in Hard Target 2.

  57. Happy new year folks!

    I didn’t think it was a great year for movies, but there were still a few I really enjoyed. This site led me to one of my favorites, SPL 2, and I really enjoyed a bunch of others – Bone Tomahawk, Midnight Special, Arrival, and especially the motherfucking-ly brutal Green Room come to mind. I also seem to have liked Rogue One and Dr. Strange more than others here, at least going by the reviews and comments.
    Out of the ones I don’t remember being reviewed here, the best is probably Hush – I liked Don’t Breathe a lot, but it actually had a little of its thunder stolen by Flannagan’s film. Lovely, tight little suspense/siege movie.
    April and the extraordinary world is a marvel – funny, inventive and just a pleasure to look at. I don’t think I’ve seen a bad french major animated film yet. Moanna and Zootropolis also deserve mention, especially because of the latter’s more sophisticated than expected dissection of race issues.

    There’s still a few films I haven’t seen that might have joined the list – the Handmaiden, Hello or High Water and Train to Busan are definitely a priority. Tonight I’m watching Yakuza Apocalypse, which I have high hopes for, but Miike is nothing if not uneven…

    Anyhow, thanks for another year of writing on the site. Cheers!

  58. Holy shit! Jailbreak is movie number two in must watch list (John Wick 2 is number one).

  59. The highlight of the year for me on this site was seeing how you guys dealt with all the bullshit that was going down in your beautiful country the past few months, processing and riding the rollercoaster of anger, frustration, disappointment and hope. Crushinator came across supremely articulate and impassioned as a motherfucker, as did Mouth, who made his much anticipated return, and of course Vern provided the common-sense foundation of all that should be important in this world, and yet somehow the world got turned upside down and sat on its own face.

    I don’t have a political bone in my body (I wish I did sometimes, but I just don’t get it), but I’m glad I could use you guys as a point of reference when stuff came up at work about the topic.

    Personally, I spent a lot more time outdoors last year during the Australian winter, hiking whenever I could. It turned out to be a good reminder that, despite humanity’s flaws, we do live in a beautiful world.

    I also found myself wanting to revisit some older movies during the holiday season. MAGNOLIA is always therapeutic just before Christmas (call me a masochist), but I somehow relate to the propulsive turmoil of some of those characters. And I know that no matter how shitty things can be, that now and again it can rain frogs.

    Also revisited THE DEER HUNTER, which made me cry again. I fucking love that movie. God bless America.

  60. Mr. Majestyk – I have a cousin who was in a band called Spring Tigers, no clue what that meant.

  61. Thanks for a great year of content, Vern! As for the PS, would it be ungentlemanly to plug my own debut feature? It released in August, after all :-)

    The Binding

    "A powerful and thought-provoking film" – Fangoria

    "Smart, satisfying" – Horror Talk

    "Genuinely frightening" – UK Horror Scene

    "A mature and potent film" – Ain't It Cool N...

    Wishing you all the best in 2017!

  62. I agree about the retrospectives vs new movies. I’ve found myself far more interested in revisiting films of the ’80s and ’90s than seeing new ones. Maybe it means I’m getting old and I don’t like the stuff the kids are into but I don’t think so. I will still enjoy a new Scott Adkins or Fate of the Furious (and we have xXx this month!)

    I think it’s the added layer of historical context and new perspective that makes revisits a tad more rewarding than first times. Of course we have to watch a movie first before we can revisit it.

    I’ve always wanted to see you review the Highlander movies. You don’t need to do the syfy fifth one, but the four theatrical ones are interesting.

    Happy new year Vern and the gang. Hope to meet more of you this year.

  63. Grumpy Shit Year, assholes. The only series I discovered last year that I am willing to acknowledge to you sonsofbitches was the HAP AND LEONARD show. Man, that was some excellent shit. I read the book and the casting for it was pretty spot on. It took a couple of episodes before I was comvinced, but it panned out great. Looking forward to next season.

    Also, let us stay positive. Have a better one, everyone.

  64. Also a shoutout for Paul, whose opinion I value highly; Hang in there bro. It must have been a rough one.

  65. I took me most of the pilot to accept the casting. I thought Williams was too scrawny and inward to be the Black Adonis that is Leonard (a character who joins Luke Cage on the ever-growing list of parts that really needed to go to Terry Crews) and Lord Brittania Von Englishman III was way too put-together and leading-mannish to be Hap (whom I’d always seen as a real hangdog ugly balding motherfucker with some working man’s muscles on him, like a youngish Geoffrey Lewis), not to mention that both of them come off about as Texas as a packet of Taco Bell hot sauce. But I got over it. They got their relationship right, and since that’s the most important part of the books, it makes everything else work.

    The funny thing is, it’s been a while since I read SAVAGE SEASON, which the season is based on, and I’d forgotten how unrepresentative of what I like about the series it is. Leonard’s barely in it, for one, and when he is he gets sidelined so he barely gets to do anything. Which maybe makes sense from a plotting standpoint, because Leonard at full strength would take about ten seconds to have these fuckin’ dweebs on the floor trying to stuff their bones back inside their skin. Also, there’s so much more internal conflict between Hap and Leonard than the later ones bother with. The fun of the series is seeing these two hilariously badass oddballs have each other’s backs no matter what. I’m in to watch them walk into any room they want and kick every ass in it, not squabble over some broad and get tied to chairs.

    But I can see why the filmmakers started at the beginning. It’s a more down-to-earth intro to the world of Joe Lansdale, and that’s probably necessary for most viewers. Still, I’m looking forward to them tackling some of the crazier books in the series (which is to say all of them). And I’m definitely looking forward to the return of Don Johnson as Jim Bob. Now that’s some perfect casting.

  66. My initial concern was casting Williams as Leonard. That he should be the go-to-guy for badass homosexual characters. He was Omar after all. But I felt that it was such a weird complaint for badass- homosexual -typecasting so I let it go

  67. It did seem pretty on-the-nose, but it ended up working out. It could have been way worse.

  68. The Undefeated Gaul

    January 2nd, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Bit late, but happy new year everyone. Vern, I’d be very surprised if you havent already watched this so its not worth much as a review suggestion, but I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on ELIMINATORS, Scott Adkins recent WWE produced thing. Personally I liked it a lot, as I thought it felt a lot like the films Van Damme used to make in his prime. It’s a simple story but it’s fun, it’s got a nice twist regarding the villain’s motivations and I like the whole thing of a badass ex-superagent going up against a badass super mercenary and just facing off multiple times throughout the film. For me, the only downside was that his opponent wasn’t a martial artist but a wrestler, which is still fun, but just not as cool. In any case, I think it’s the most entertaining thing Adkins has done since Ninja 2 (which, admittedly, is MUCH better) so looking forward to your review!

  69. Vern, apologies if you covered this elsewhere, but when’s the new novel gonna drop??

  70. Crushinator Jones

    January 3rd, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Hey guys, kinda missed the boat on this thread, but I just wanted to give my thanks and gratitude to all of the commenters here on OutlawVern.

    Here’s to your health and wealth. Let’s hope 2017 isn’t a complete pile of nasty loose shit.

  71. Happy New Yizzles, everybody.

    2016 was kind of a bad year for me because I decided to re-watch Hard Target after 20 years and am still regretting it.

    Other than that, this site has turned me on to a ton of bad-ass movies and I am pretty thankful for that. Also made me look at movies in a different light. I love the reviews and comments here and they make watching movies a lot more fun, so thanks everybody and keep up the good work in 2017.

    I fully agree with the person that said Vern should do more comedy reviews.

  72. I talk about it here because it seems to be the only place on this websight where it has been mentioned, but I just finished season one of ATLANTA and damn, that’s some good shit. I avoided it, because I expected it to be one of those boring, smug and mostly unfunny (premium) cable comedies like ENTOURAGE, BALLERS, etc, but when someone told me about how surreal and cartoony the show gets at times, I had to watch it. And yes, I love it. It’s a great mix of dry “Life sucks, but what can you do?” dramedy, with sprinkles of absurdist lunacy, that seems like it was made for me.

  73. But is it funny? I’ve tried some of these other hipster comedies they got nowadays and they seem to be so focused on being right about whatever topic they’re tackling that they don’t even bother to have jokes. I got more laughs out of fucking FULLER HOUSE than I did MASTER OF NONE.

    I’m also having a hard time picturing post-Childish Gambino Glover being funny. It’s like he took lessons from Chevy Chase on how to take yourself way too goddamn seriously.

  74. Oh, I hear you. That’s exactly the reason why I avoiced it at first too.

    Let’s just say it is at times DAMN funny. It’s not a nonstop joke comedy. The laughs to story ratio wildly varies from episode to episode (The pilot, GO FOR BROKE and VALUE are for example more dry character pieces with sprinkles of humor, while other episodes, like THE STREISAND EFFECT or NOBODY BEATS THE BIEBS love to throw all kind of cartoony shit at you. B.A.N. feels for example like an episode of PORTLANDIA.), but unlike most other award winning comedies, that seem to only win awards, because they aren’t funny, I enjoyed it a lot.

    One episode has a sight gag about a hit and run with an invisible car, for fucks sake!!!!!
    Also Donald Glover is more or less the straight man here, who reacts to all the shit around him with internal headshaking and I have to say, I like that version of him.

    I can’t promise that YOU love it. It’s 50% story, 35% chuckles and 15% laugh out loud gags. But I, who hated every fucking HBO comedy (including VICE PRINCIPALS, CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM and EASTBOUND AND DOWN) plus whatever the fuck Ricky Gervais did and never even smiled during 30 ROCK (to list some popular, critically acclaimed shows), really did!

  75. Oh right, I forgot you’re the guy that doesn’t think 30 ROCK is funny. That changes things. I’m afraid I’m gonna need a second opinion on this ATLANTA thing. Anyone?

  76. I liked Atlanta but I certainly don’t think it’s the stand out show everyone is making it out to be. Like, it is maybe 1/10th as good as 30 Rock (which Glover was a writer on). Also, some episodes were good to great but others were terrible (the B.A.N one mentioned above). I will give them credit for a few outstanding subtle sight gags like the invisible car.

    It is definitely worth watching instead of Fuller House.

  77. I don’t know about that. I’d be lying if I said I was only watching FULLER HOUSE to rubberneck at it. It’s kinda my Zen place. It’s impossible to think about anything at all when this hermetically sealed 90s Kid honkeytopia is filling your brain with the very whitest of white noise. The jokes might be the corniest ever crafted, and I mean that as a compliment. They really strive for excellence in their chosen field of corniness. Everyone is so committed to the bit that it makes an utterly mercenary endeavor like a FULL HOUSE reboot feel like an odd form of integrity.

  78. Hey, I like FULLER HOUSE too. And while I know that the classic learning and hugging laugh track sitcom has no chance at any awards show these days, I wouldn’t complain if Fernando would be a surprise nominee at some point.

    And despite my love for ATLANTA, I agree that it’s a bit overhyped. It’s the kind of show that I can see blow everyone away in season 3 or 4, but for now it’s just damn good entertainment with the right mix of depth and silliness.

  79. I love Atlanta. Comparing it to 30 Rock is setting you off on the completely wrong foot, though. It’s not at all a gag machine like that. The only show to compare it to is Louie. It has a similar indie cinema look, unpredictability and control of tone and awkwardness. Like Louie, it can be laugh out loud hilarious (the sight gag CJ mentions still cracks me up thinking about it) but it can also be more dry, even dramatic. Glover is the straight man and kind of the audience surrogate but also he can be totally wrong sometimes. The two other regulars are to me just really funny characters that make me laugh with their personalities and expressions more than specific jokes. And it’s a show that rarely has continuity and sometimes will branch off to focus on a character you didn’t expect it to.

    The only episode I thought didn’t work is actually the one with the coolest idea: it’s an episode of some Tavis Smiley type interview show, complete with fake commercials that aren’t even for joke products. So even in its (in my opinion) failure it’s admirable in the attempt.

    I can’t be sure, Majestyk, but I think you might appreciate it for its depiction of a struggling, regionally popular rapper, trying to be a big shot but actually just a regular dude who life shits on all the time.

  80. Sadly, Vern, after 15 years as the editor of SMOOTH Magazine, there is little on earth I am less interested in than the business side of the hip-hop game. It actually makes me like the genre less. You’d have to pay me a per-episode rate to watch EMPIRE, for instance.

    Anyway, thanks for the input, you guys. You’ve made some good points. I did assume it would be more like LOUIE than 30 ROCK, which is why I think I’ll still stay away. The whole confessional sitcom school that LOUIE started is exactly the kind of comedy that drives me nuts. I hate the Instagram filter indie cinema look and feel and especially pacing of these shows. It’s like the post-action of comedy: let’s take away all of the techniques and craftsmanship and audiovisual vocabulary that’s been developed over the decades and just do some sloppy, self-conscious fumbling because that’s like life, man, life doesn’t have punchlines or a tripod and isn’t very funny most off the time so why should a comedy made by professional comedians be any different?

  81. It’s not really about the business side. There is one episode where they try to get money from a promoter and a recurring theme is that the up and coming rapper on the show encounters shit, that makes him wonder if he even wants to be famous, but for a supposed comedy about the hip hop scene, there is surprisingly little real behind the scenes stuff.

    But seriously, this is such a tonally weird show, I can’t predict if you would like it. At one hand it’s exactly the kind of show you describe, but then they pull some live action cartoon shit and stoner humor, that should satisfy your need for big laughs.

    I would just say watch at least three episodes. By then you saw enough weird shit and serious character moments, so that you can decide if you want more or not. Won’t blame you if you stick with FULLER HOUSE after that. Sometimes a man needs 30 minutes of easy laughs and there is nothing wrong with that.

  82. I’m not sure if you guys are joking about Fuller House. I have never seen one minute of it and never will. There is way too much good tv and movies out there these days to watch shit like that. Does it really have a laugh track? I thought only CBS shows still did that. I tried to watch Joel McHale’s new show and had to turn it off halfway through because the laugh track is so goddamned annoying. Also the show seemed pretty terrible anyway.

    There’s not too many great pure comedies on tv these days, though. Always Sunny, Workaholics, Ash vs Evil Dead, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend being the best of the bunch. You’re the Worst is very good but has turned more towards drama than comedy. Search Party was really funny too. The best and funniest show of the last few years is Nathan For You (but that has been on hiatus for a year and half). If you have not seen the first 3 seasons of that one, I cannot recommend it enough.

  83. Majestyk: I remember in an interview Tina Fey talked about ‘clapter’, where an audience responds to a joke not because it’s funny but because they agree with the sentiment behind it. I think MASTER OF NONE, a show I think has insightful things to say while barely qualifying as a comedy, inspired a lot of clapter from critics. From everything you’ve said if I were you I wouldn’t touch ATLANTA with a ten foot pole. I loved it, though.

    I assume you’ve seen UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT, which is a highly efficient joke delivery system and has come closest to scratching that 30 ROCK itch out of any recent TV show I’ve seen (which is not surprising given its pedigree). Also I’ve really enjoyed ANGIE TRIBECA, which is basically a POLICE SQUAD reboot.

  84. I adore NATHAN FOR YOU. I love how it goes off the rails in completely unexpected (and unscripted) ways, like the pee-drinking gas station guy or the ghost realtor. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder at a TV show. I’ve also really enjoyed REVIEW and BROAD CITY. I also gotta pour one out for COMEDY BANG BANG. Even though it was wildly inconsistent in quality, it stayed true to it’s own weird roots right up until the end. I’ve heard good things about SEARCH PARTY, but the plot description (a bunch of hip, self-absorbed twenty-something New Yorkers try to find their missing friend!) didn’t really grab me.

    FULLER HOUSE is a whole bunch of artists and craftsmen committing wholeheartedly to a singularly stupid idea without a shred of irony, so I can see how it would be up Majestyk’s alley. I couldn’t get through a single episode.

  85. Yeah, Search Party does sound terrible in theory but it’s actually very entertaining and kinda takes the piss out of self-absorbed twenty-something New Yorkers. I did not expect to enjoy it much and was pleasantly surprised. It’s similar to Broad City in some ways but much better, IMO.

  86. Fun fact about laugh tracks: Up until the late 80s or so, German television completely ignored them when they dubbed sitcoms (Or thankfully Hanna-Barbera cartoons). ALF was the first one I watched where they left it in and it irritated the shit out of my sister and me. (And that despite German TV had a tradition of broadcasting humorous stage plays, often in a half hour format, including a still very popular version of ALL IN THE FAMILY.) But by now I hardly notice it anymore. Sometimes people tell me that the laugh track of a certain show annoys them and I realize for the first time that there even IS a laugh track.

    In terms of comedy, I’m currently on a dry period. As much as I enjoy the simplicity of FULLER HOUSE, there aren’t any other laugh track sitcoms right now that I care about. I love LAST MAN ON EARTH, which found a sweet spot as a silly comedy, that goes very dark and serious at times, without making its plots about death and loss feel out of place. The first season of KIMMY SCHMIDT was great, but I had a difficult time to make it through season 2 and still haven’t finished it yet. WRECKED was amusing, but I didn’t care enough to finish the first season before it disappeared from my streaming provider. GALAVANT is unfortunately cancelled and THE VENTURE BROS lets you wait 100 years between seasons. At least BOB’S BURGERS is still fun (although it’s been a while since they had a real standout episode) and THE SIMPSONS still provide a handful of good laughs per episode. And since Netflix did a fucking good job with blocking VPNs, to prevent their customers from watching other countries’ shows, I can’t watch PORTLANDIA or IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY (which ran here for something like 5 seasons until they gave up) anymore.

    Shout out to the 90s/00s Ted Danson sitcom BECKER, which I’m currently rewatching on DVD. Grumpy doctors, who show that they care by telling everybody how stupid they are, never get old. (Too bad that the show falls apart near the end, thanks through some unfortunate casting changes.)

  87. The last show with a laugh track that I could actually sit through was How Hallsy Met Your Mother.

    I *loved* Galavant but I’m just happy that it got a second season. I didn’t think anyone else watched it!

    I will miss that one. And, not a comedy, but I will really miss BANSHEE. Another one that not many seem to have seen but I would expect people on this site to really dig that show. It’s on par with some of the best DTV stuff of the last few years. Hot chicks, sex, lots of fights, it was so much fun. For anyone that hasn’t seen it, watch this fight and then go watch the whole series (I’m not sure how to post links):

    Banshee season 3 episode 3 fight scene Burton Vs Nola

    I do not own this clip. All rights belongs to Cinemax.

  88. You aren’t the only one. My wife and I loved the heck out of Galavant. Great show.

  89. I think I developed a sincere and unreasonable hate for folkly low brow comedy, or anything that create easy laughs, from my years watching Hong Kong action cinema. So if you call me a hipster from preferring Seinfeld, or Curb your Enthusiasm to Fuller House, you can suck my fucking dick wrapped with a layer of anchovy sprinkled with diarrhea.

  90. SEINFELD hasn’t been hipster since 1989.

  91. I guess I am out of date then, an analogue asshole in an age of digital hipsters.

  92. I’m still waiting for the time when people stop overhyping SEINFELD, so that I can give it a “detached from all the hype” rewatch and might actually enjoy it this time. (Disclaimer: I thought it was okay, but only watched a handful of episodes.)

  93. I finally learned to like SEINFIELD years after the show ended when I finally realized it was supposed to be about a group of unlikable assholes, not about a group of unlikable assholes we’re being told are awesome. Also, I’m not 100% there yet, I’ve been gradually doing much better enjoying things for themselves, removed from the hype from annoying fans.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>