"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Posts Tagged ‘Zak Penn’

PCU

Monday, May 6th, 2024

April 29, 1994

PCU fits nicely into my theory of the summer of ’94 – that it was a time when boomers were looking back while gen-xers were moving in – by sort of melding those two things. The first sound you hear in it is Mike Bloomfield at the Monterey Pop Festival saying something about “this is our generation, man,” and then a song sampling Jimi Hendrix’s voice over modern dance music. It seems to be saying “Look, this is like the ‘60s, only it’s the ’90s!,” and in fact comes from an album called if ’60s were ‘90s.

This is the directorial debut of DIE HARD’s Harry Ellis himself, Hart Bochner, but it’s written by two fresh-out-of-college twentysomethings, Adam Leff & Zak Penn. It’s probly meant to speak to young people, but its attitude is that almost all young people are brain dead idiots… all but a few wild and crazy guys brave enough to scoff at everyone else’s beliefs because they don’t personally care about that kind of stuff so people who do must be faking it.

All fraternity comedies are pretty much based on ANIMAL HOUSE, right? A canonical boomer classic. PCU follows the standard campus comedy storyline: a rowdy fraternity hated by the authorities is going to get kicked out of their building if they don’t raise a bunch of money fast, so they throw a big party. And the modern spin on it is yeah, you have your old idea of fraternities, but it’s different now, it’s harder to get away with that stuff. But we do what we can, on account of we are outrageous party animals like you wouldn’t believe. ’90s style! I have a Hammerbox poster in my dorm room, to name only one example. (read the rest of this shit…)

Elektra (second review)

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024

Revisiting DAREDEVIL obviously made me want to watch ELEKTRA again – this time in a director’s cut, but the differences are minimal compared to DAREDEVIL’s. It’s a different situation anyway because I actually did enjoy ELEKTRA when I saw it on video back in the day, and even wrote a review of it. So instead of “maybe I’ll like it better now” it was a “will I still like it?” situation. The answer is yes, I did.

That’s not a popular opinion. It was a big flop, and scoffed at from all quarters. Roger Ebert called it “a collision between leftover bits and pieces of Marvel superhero stories.” Manohla Dargis called it “The latest Hollywood movie to give comic books a bad name.” Mick LaSalle wrote, “It’s garbage” and complained that it was “twisted” to open with this contract killer character assassinating someone when “we don’t know what he did to deserve this.” At least David Edelstein said it was “only maybe two-fifths” bad because “these Marvel pictures are starting to blur together” (which now seems like a funny thing for someone to have said then), and he was wise enough to say it paled in comparison to A CHINESE GHOST STORY, THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR and THE HEROIC TRIO rather than X-MEN or SPIDER-MAN. Because that’s what it is: one of the American movies that’s not nearly as good as Hong Kong movies. But I still like them. (read the rest of this shit…)

Ready Player One

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Steven Spielberg’s shiny, digitally new movie READY PLAYER ONE is about a virtual reality treasure hunt for people who are obsessed with ’80s and ’90s pop culture references even though it’s the year 2045. Which is not as far-fetched as it sounds at first. The hero of the story drives the car from BACK TO THE FUTURE, the #1 hit movie of sixty years prior, so it’s just the same as the teens you see now who model their lives on SOUTH PACIFIC.

Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan, THE TREE OF LIFE, MUD, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE) is a nice young man and first person narrator living in a futuristic trailer park, and I guess poverty ain’t that bad because everyone spends their days playing around in this virtual reality video game called OASIS.

Wade is part of a subculture called “gunters” who know about old Atari 2600 games and Robert Zemeckis and everything because they study the journals of the late Oasis inventor Halliday (Mark Rylance, BLITZ), and he was obsessed with that shit. The gunters need to understand all that to win the puzzle contest he left behind as a sort of a last-willy-wonka-and-testament to award his majority share of the company to some random nerd he never met who can solve some riddles. Also they gotta be good at video games, because the first challenge involves a giant car race. Wade drives the DeLorean, his friend Aech (pronounced ‘H’) (spoiler – it’s not a boy, it’s Lena Waithe from Master of None) drives Bigfoot, a famous girl he has a crush on and just met named Artemis (Olivia Cooke, OUIJA) drives the red motorcycle from AKIRA (weirdly the only reference the characters feel they have to explain to the audience). (read the rest of this shit…)

Last Action Hero

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

tn_lastactionheroex3-arnoldDo you guys remember how LAST ACTION HERO was the big ticket for ’93?

Okay, probly not. That was the tagline on some of the posters though. See, they knew this was destined to be a huge event movie, the movie of the summer. Fuck JURASSIC PARK. But also the plot involved a magical ticket that transports people between the worlds of reality and fiction. It’s a double meaning. They put alot of thought into this thing, just not the right kind maybe.

This is at least the third time I’ve watched and attempted to truly like this movie. That’s a strike out, so it’s time to sit on the bench and accept it as a kinda interesting, kinda terrible movie. Not as good as HUDSON HAWK but a bit of that same clever/awkward cocktail. Unique enough to keep coming back to, not good enough to be 100% sure it was worth it. (read the rest of this shit…)