Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Hot Club

Adam of the Hot Club hearth told those around him that Chuck Norris' Invasion USA was the greatest action movie ever. I said that Aliens was one of the best I've seen and one of the few times a sequel was better than the original. Adam replied that Alien was a great horror movie while Aliens was a great action movie. Adam makes a good point.

We were talking about memories of early TV. Grant said he recalled watching the Huntley/Brinkley report with his family. The show would open with Beethoven's 9th, 3rd movement said Grant.

Chuck D' Computer remembered JFK's funeral and Lee Harvey Oswald being shot live on TV by Jack Ruby.

Chuck and I discussed the decline and fall of US civilization. He heard a reporter say that on a scale of 1-100, 25% of a population was disabled. The school of redundancy school.

So I told Chuck that I see misspellings, hear improper verb tenses (go, went, gone) and grammatical gaffes every day. No one seems to care. I told Chuck that I heard NBC's Brian Williams say that George Bush would no longer say the word 'Stay the course.' That's a phrase, not a word.

While I was talking and punctuating an idea, the Warden pointed to the lit lamp just above my head and said, "Big Idea! It looks like you have a Big Idea." I told him that it was better than a burnt out bulb and No Idea.

Chuck asked us, "What do they call a blind doe?" "No idea (No eyed deer)". "And what do they call a dead blind doe?" "Still no idea."

A regular was in Atlanta waiting for his flight. He crossed paths with a winsome (and willing) woman. When his flight was delayed, he found comfort in her arms, legs…He said she told him to stop by if he was in town again. The Warden observed, "You're hand stamped for return."

The Warden said that Bags likes casual sex. Like when Bags is wearing casual clothes.

The regulars were saying that Hooks looks like the Sopranos' Paulie Walnuts. I wasn't so sure. Jokin' Joe said, "Well actually Hooks stands like Syl". With head down, Joe said, "My mama's not my mama!"

Overheard: "Is it possible to boycott your own event?"


It amused me to see a recent review of this film in which the writer pondered why anyone would want to do a pre-quel to the last Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Duh! Because horror movies make money, that's why.

And for you political pundits, there are more horror movies made during times of great strife and unrest. In case you haven't noticed, there's a dungeon full of dark, doom-filled dramas in your local theaters and video rental places right now.

I saw this at a seniors' Wednesday showing at Showcase Cinema ($3.50). Popcorn (which once cost .10¢ on a Saturday) is now $4-5 dollars. With a soda it cost me double the price of the movie ticket. My daughter Cara had already seen this and thought I might like it.

She was right. This version fits nicely into the pantheon of gut-wrenchers, bloodlettings and body parts purveyors. R. Lee Ermey, who was in the 2002 remake, is back and he chews up more scenery than cousin Tommy Hewitt (Leatherface) does chainsawing unsuspecting visitors.

Ermey, who often plays drill sergeants, is excellent as the demented dolt who plays cop. We get to see how Charlie becomes 'Sheriff Hoyt'. You also learn the origins of Tommy Hewitt's penchant for periodic pulverizing.

Director Johnathan Liebesman introduces us to the Hewitts, the family that not only stays together but also slays together.

Screenwriter Sheldon Turner keeps the mayhem moving and uses a houseful of blood and guts to cover up the bare bones story.

John Larroquette, who did the original voiceover, is back for this one.

I liked this movie but not quite as much as the 2002 remake, which had Jessica Biel. One reason it isn't quite as good is a trick that was used in Wolf Creek. I didn't like it much in that movie and was surprised to see the plot device used again here. You'll know what I mean if you see it.

IMDb notes one flaw in the music used in the movie. The film takes place in 1969 but some of the songs are from post-1969. For example Free's All Right Now is used and that wasn't released until 1970. For more go to: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0420294/

This is the perfect movie to see at Halloween. We all need a little frightmare every now and then, right? Right? Where's Tommy Hewitt and his chainsaw?

Comments welcome: jdawson@ids.net

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Hot Club

Hooks had a date and was upset with her. Why? It took her an hour to eat her grilled chicken salad. He found her on the Internet. Wise asked him if she looked like her picture. Yes. Was her weight OK? Yes. Did she have a big ass? Hooks replied, "You mean like when women dress to hide something? Yes."

Erica told me that Christina is no longer bartending at the HC. Our best wishes to Christina for the future.

One of the Ladies of the Light walked in Wednesday. Bags was just ready to tell her that she was in last week's Sportzine (the 'starter marriage'), when I said, "Don't do that!" In the early days of the Zine, I made the mistake of calling a guy who ran a concrete business "Cementhead". Bags told Cementhead that he was in that week's Sportzine. Fortunately when Cementhead read about himself, he laughed. I've been careful what I call people ever since.

One of the regulars said something and I observed out loud, "I know. Don't print that." The regular responded, "If you print that, we might have to kill you."

Line overheard at the HC: "If his ass was on fire, I wouldn't piss on his stomach."

We were watching 60 Minutes and they were showing a woman with "untreatable" depression having electrodes stuck in her brain. ORic said he used to work backup at Butler Hospital giving anesthesia to people having ECT (electro-convulsive therapy). I told him about Fred Wiseman's long-banned documentary Titicut Follies, which was about poor care given to mental patients at Bridgewater State Hospital. I have a copy.

Just like to wish a Happy 50th to Steve Graham, who reached the milestone last week.
And a Happy 36th (I think) to Adam of the HC Grill. He gets to eat anything he wants.

We were talking about the Three Stooges and I said that I always liked Shemp. Grant said he preferred Curly. Joanne remembered a bit where Curly was scared by a mouse. He called out, "Moe, Larry, Cheese!"

We were talking about Martin Scorsese's new movie The Departed. Paul 'the Lance' said he hopes Scorsese finally wins an Oscar. I told Paul that I used to drive friends to Boston to see '73's Mean Streets (once in a snowstorm). I mentioned to the Lance that not many folks have seen Scorsese's first film - Who's that Knocking At My Door. Yeah, I saw it.


The 'kids' were out in force for Leo Kottke, the great 12-string guitarist from Minnesota, who played at the Narrows, a wonderful venue for music, in Fall River. The Narrows is on the 3rd floor of a converted warehouse near the water. Victoria and I were joined by my brother Brad, Mr.D., Paul 'the Bear' and 'Mrs. Bear', Alona. And we spotted the Hot Club's Mike 'Module' and his wife Judy there too.

This is the 3rd time I've seen Kottke and he was in good voice and his usual virtuoso self, switching from 12-string to 6-string and back. Because the Bear and Alona got there early, we got a front pew on the side and our seats were within 15-20 feet of Kottke.

Over the years, Leo has started to open up more and use his between songs patter to soothe his nerves and uneasiness at playing before crowds. The first time I saw him with the Bear, Kottke said very little. The next time when Brad and I heard him, Kottke spoke a little more. Saturday night Leo was in rare form, using a stream of consciousness 'Well I shouldn't say that but what the heck I already did' chatter to amuse the crowd.

The first thing Kottke commented on was the closeness of the audience. "Too close', he said. I know Kottke hails from Minnesota but he also talked about growing up in Muskogee, Okla. and DC. Later he mentioned his father being from South Dakota.

At one point Kottke introduced a song that he called Ants but then admitted that its real name was Trip to Tolatecatolea or some such Inuit word. He is very funny in a droll way.

Later Kottke played Julie's House which he admitted not having done much of late because he hurt his pinky finger stretching for notes. He said Al Franken requested it at a function and he realized that he could still play it as long as he didn't totally stretch out the pinky finger.

Kottke did a humorous intro to the song Rings, saying that he hates playing at weddings, but then admitting he's committed to doing just that very soon. He then revealed that Rings was written by Eddie Reeves and Alex Harvey for a wedding. It was recorded by Cymarron and reached #17 on Billboard's charts in '71.

Leo The Legend mixed acoustic solos with songs having vocals. His baritone voice is still pleasant, even if he once described it as "the sound of geese farting".

He used his voice to good effect on Paul Siebel's Louise (a Mike Curtis favorite), the aforementioned Julie's House, and Corinna, Corinna, a cover of the song done by Ray Peterson in 12/60 (#9).

Kottke played for about an hour and a half, and did one acoustic encore number. I was the only one bold enough to shout out a request (for Vaseline Machine Gun), but it went unanswered. Oh well, a great night of music with a wonderful coterie of friends.

For more on Leo Kottke, go to: http://www.leokottke.com/cgi-bin/ontour/leotour.cgi


Thanks to the Hot Club's Grillmeister Tom for giving me the heads up on this year's 7th RI Horror Film Fest. It is the first that I've been able to attend. Thanks also to my companion Victoria for sitting through two full-length features that she might not have otherwise watched. We went opening night, which was at the Columbus Theater.

Victoria liked the 2nd film Die You Zombie Bastards('05) better than I did. Caleb Emerson's 97-minute monster mix had everything but the kitchen sink. It was fun, but a little long and a little overwhelming. Definitely creative though.

The first feature was Seepage(05), which Victoria and I agreed was a great name for a horror flick. Unfortunately, director Richard Griffin just changed it to Creature from the Hillbilly Lagoon which I'm sure he did for marketing reasons.

Griffin's movie is more formulaic (toxic waste creates mutant monsters) than Emerson's, but I found it very funny (intentionally) and entertaining. There are a lot of redneck jokes.

We were told Griffin and Emerson are from Providence and have had their movies picked up for distribution. I was struck by the very good production values (e.g. cinematography, sound, lighting) of both films. Seepage had an added treat - Grillmeister Tom was in it.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Hot Club

The Ladies of the Light were on the deck. Louisiana Steve wanted the tall one's phone #. She admitted she is getting married Saturday. And her partner said she wasn't available either because she is married. Then she added, "A starter marriage". Foot Joy said, "The training wheels aren't off yet." When I questioned her on 'starter marriage', she said, "Well, the divorce rate is 50%." Realistic or ready to ramble?

After I told Dr. John about the Lighter Lady saying hers was a starter marriage, the good Doc noted that some women go after doctors, knowing they have money. Said Doc: "Shake the tree and then get out of town."

Wise's daughter 'No Change' asked him for his credit card so she could get supplies for school. When the bills came in they were from Nordstrom's and other high-end stores. 'No Change' has some different ideas about 'school supplies'.

Later we were talking about someone who wears $400 shoes. Louisiana Steve asked Foot Joy if he had any $400 shoes. Said FJ, "All my shoes together don't add up to $400."

Wise was able to name the starting lineup for the Detroit Tigers in 1968 when they played the Cardinals in the World Series. All except the 3B and SS. Any reader help?

Dr. John told us that he used to play in a band with Taj Mahal when they were both students at U Mass Amherst. Dr. J said that Taj Mahal's real name is Henry Fredericks. According to the Good Doctor, Taj wanted more money than the other guys in the band.

Grant, the Man at the Door, and I agreed that we would have kicked the FG for 3 points that Eric Mangini passed up in the Jets-Indy game. Mr. Contraire said he thought Mangini did the right thing because he needed more than 3. We told him that 3 points are better than none. Contraire didn't think that it mattered. Even when we reminded him that the game was decided by 3. Ah, Contraire. You say black, he says white, you say up…

Grillmeister Tom is also a Horrormeister. He told me to remind everyone that the RI Horror Film Festival is this week Oct. 5-8. It opens at the Columbus Theater Thursday at 7. Check movies, locales and play times at http://www.film-festival.org/Horror_ri.php

Mentioned to Mike Module and Dr. John that I saw a great quote by Somerset Maugham. Speaking of the French Riviera, Maugham said, "A sunny place for shady people."

Of governing France, Francois Mitterand once said (per Dr. John): "How can you govern a country with 700 kinds of cheese?"


George Romero, the master of zombie mayhem, returns to his undead roots in this fun film. Romero has tongue firmly in cheek as the movie opens with an 'Eats' sign and many zombies looking for just that.

The difference in this edition is that the zombies have gotten smarter. No, not by eating brains, but learning how to communicate through grunts, groans and howls. The Undead are led by a black zombie with facial tattoos (a better-looking Mike Tyson) who helps the zombies go where none have gone before.

The movie contains elements from Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and Escape From New York, as Romero is not too proud to borrow bits and pieces.

The cast is good with Simon Baker as Riley, John Leguizamo as Cholo, Dario Argento's daughter Asia as Slack and Dennis Hopper as Mr. K (Kaufman). The film also benefits from Robert Joy as Charlie, Riley's friend and sharpshooter. The repartee between Charlie and Riley is amusing.

Cholo isn't happy unless he's challenging authority whether it's Riley or Mr. K. Plus Cholo and the zombies want in to Fiddler's Green, towers with condos for the rich and infamous. But the towers are protected by water and electrified razor wire.

Hopper is his usual over the top self. When Cholo threatens him, Hopper says, "We don't negotiate with terrorists."

There are some other fun moments like 'Take Your Picture With A Zombie', a New Age Punch N' Judy show, 6 packs loaded, and a skateboard labeled 'Anti-Hero'.

Special effects are by the excellent KNB EFX Group.

The movie was made in Toronto so Pittsburgh must have gotten too expensive for Romero.

Among the Zombies or 'Stenches' is Tom Savini ('Machete Zombie'), make-up artist extraordinare who worked on Romero's other Dead movies.

This movie has a lot of guts and you'll see them displayed in all their bloody glory.