Posts Tagged ‘joss whedon’

Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Drew Goddard (Dir.), Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Kristen Connelly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Bradley Whitford

Ticket sales were bloated when fans believed this was the sequel to the finale of the David Bowie Opus: Labyrinth

Ah, a return to my roots. Yes, this was the ultimate choice for my Spooktacular Hallow-Mooney Watch-a-thon 2012. Like the prodigal son returning to his homestead, bearing the bounties which he has reaped after hours upon hours of watching both brilliant and turd-ilicious films, I came back to Cabin in the Woods. To those of you who read this blog with some regularity, you might know that this is the film that encouraged me to begin writing on the Interwebs in the first place. Unfortunately, it’s faint praise. When this movie, the brain child of Joss “King of Hollywood, Apparently” Whedon and Drew “That Other Guy” Goddard, appeared on my radar a couple of years ago, sporting several rather uninspired, blood-red posters, I looked at it. I mehed. I moved on. And then, my hetero-life-mate managed to steal himself a seat (perhaps at the demise of other unbeknownst theater-goers, I haven’t asked and he hasn’t told) at a preview of this glorious batshit experiment in meta-film. He returned declaring one thing, “YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE IMMEDIATELY” and whet my palette with only a single, nonsensical spoiler: “There is a scene where Richard Jenkins is staring at a TV showing a bunch of Japanese girls and yells, ‘Fuck you, fuck you and fuck YOU.'” Well. How could my critical testes not wet themselves with anticipation? And why do my balls get wet? Is that something I should see a doctor about? Is it just sweat or some kind of unhealthy discharge? Anybody who has an medical advice, please don’t share it because it is embarrassing. Moving along…

If this is a face for radio, I vote to burn all radios.

When it came out, I saw this movie twice in three days. That’s right, TWICE IN THREE DAYS. It was at that moment, on my return from the second viewing, that I realized I had seen nothing of substance in months and, thus, in my pitiful delightfully whimsical singlehood, I turned on Melancholia and have never looked back. How appropriate then, should this movie be for viewing on Halloween night, surrounded by my movie-junkies and other assorted nutcases friends? Like the old dude in the Seven Samurai, or Yul Brynner, or some other bald gentleman of gravitas, I marched from village to village, recruiting the greatest warriors this land had to offer! (Translation: I made a Facebook event). We had the original, Alex “Steve “The Hurricane” McQueen” Huntsberger; his companion, the Queen of Snark, the Surfer of Internets, the Uncomfortably Knowledgable about Game of Thrones Meg; Vanessa: The Bearded Lady;  Theora: Frida “Holy Unibrow Batman!” Kahlo; Alex “Stranded Because of a Hurricane” Lubischer; Zack: The English; Erin “Ladies Who Lunch” Coleman; and of course, my lady of Vanderbilt. It was a crew worthy of a motion picture! But, instead, we settled for snacks and copious amounts of wine. As the libations flowed, the popcorn was nommed, and the candy, OH THE CANDY, was stuffed into mouths, we pressed play on this modern classic, sat back, and watched.

The baseball game was going fine until Eli Roth showed up. Then it took a very sharp, very ‘Heart of Darkness’ turn for the worse.

Alright, there will be spoilers. But if you don’t know what this movie is about already, shut up. Cabin in the Woods follows a quintet of college pretties on a clandestine weekend in, that’s right! A CABIN IN THE WOODS. Of course nobody has been there before, nor does it show up on any maps, and it is blatantly guarded by a man who makes every creepy-Deliverance-obsessed uncle seem like a Corgi that farts candy and dreams. But they don’t care. They want to get high, hang out and have SEX. Shock! Horror! Well, he’s the twist. Apparently, the whole thing is being engineered from an underground super-sci-fi and white-collar-as-my-pale-butt facility. We are treated to the sweetest of candied cuckoos, Mr. Bradford “Yes I know He Was in the West Wing, Now Shut Up” Whitford and Richard Jennings: BAMF Extraordinaire. These two gentlemen herd the unsuspecting coeds into situations stickier than a jam explosion at a glue factory. After inadvertently raising a family of pain-worshipping zombies from the dead, the kids have to survive cliche after cliche, all the while being picked off in a terrifyingly specific order to appease the bosses down below. It’s a clever, hilarious and completely surface examination of the horror genre in general. Goddard and Whedon attempt to unravel horror storytelling from country to country by giving it a supernatural overtone, but, like my latest alibi for ‘Who Ate the Cookie in the Cookie Jar?’, it all falls apart under close scrutiny. It’s fun, it’s dumb in its witticisms. But, and this is a big ‘but’, it is ALWAYS entertaining. From making out with wolf heads, attack bongs, Chris Hemsworth’s speech before biting it, mermen, unicorns and dismemberment goblins, this is a movie that offers up more gems of pure enjoyment than a mine staffed by Christopher Walken impersonators. I believe, upon every viewing, I never cease giggling for the final twenty minutes. For some, it’s too much. For others it’s 20,000 Leagues up Whedon’s Asshole. For me, it is a wonderful simultaneous send-up and homage to a genre that I both adore and detest depending on the time of day.

As you may have read in my ‘review’ of Tommy Wiseau’s work of genius, The Room, there is an incredible sense of ritual, of snark-tastic community, of joined souls fighting against and for a greater good, in viewing a film with a group. This movie, on it’s own, is great. But, in a crowd, half of which have seen it and the other half haven’t, it is a fucking blast. Soon, catch-phrases are born, the squeamish ones hide during beheadings while those in the know chuckle with abandon. This is what I truly love about movies. With a thing such as this, everyone knows when to be quiet, when to joke, when to laugh and when to hide. It’s a roller coaster that doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it sure has some amazing stops along the way. And, watching people who have never seen it trying to figure out what the fuck is going on during the opening scenes is a sport that reaps greater rewards than anything involving balls or bats or grown men piling on top of each other in a massive group hug in order to… Okay, side bar, I don’t get American football. I really don’t. What the fuck are they doing? Why are they doing it? And what about this sport involves feet?

‘Read ’em and weep’ has never had such a jovial connotation.

Knowing that Cabin in the Woods received a less than lackluster opening at the box office and that it’s fandom, though small, is fervent, I hope it lives on in the greater pantheon of cult films. It shall earn its place beside Nightmare Before Christmas, Troll 2, Rocky Horror Picture Show and all the rest of the motley crew. And, though it is neither as brilliant nor as revolutionary as it might think it is, it’s one fuck of a ride. Get friends. Get drinks. Get dumb. Let the bodies hit the floor and laugh when they do. Because, I don’t know about you, but I find grievous bodily harm fucking hilarious. Maybe I should talk to someone about that.

Oh! Also, I dressed up as Doctor Who with my lady as River Song. He is a picture of us being pretty and dorky in equal measures. Thank god High School is over and those two things are no longer mutually exclusive.

“I’ll sonic your screwdriver!”

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The winds of a distant winter are rising. Cold fronts, like chilled custard, are gradually consuming the Midwest and with it Chicago. Those summer dresses that make ladies seem so dishonestly ephemeral are quickly disintegrating to the temporal safety of jeans and sweatpants. The summer is coming to a close and, as Ned Stark would say if he had an issue with premature ejaculations (referring specifically to the archaic definition pertaining to elocution), Fall Is Coming. Finally, I’m able to cast aside my vibrant colors in favor of dour earth tones. I no longer need to repel the incessant whines of “Andrew, you should try shorts, you’d look adorable” because it wouldn’t be adorable, it would be as horrifying as looking into the Ark of the Covenant, doesn’t anyone understand I AM EXTREMELY INSECURE ABOUT MY PASTY LEGS.

Well, for a Summer of Film, like any good night of sex, there is a shit load of build up and anticipation, a middling execution with some high points (and seriously low ones) and finally a required and sleepy denouement. This is that sleepiness. A decomposition, if you will, a digestion, that special walk that you take after Thanksgiving Dinner in the hope that burning about fifty calories will offset that Herculean gorge-fest that was that five course monstrosity. Perhaps these will take the form of awards and, if they do, they will be more important than the fucking Oscars (because, honestly, what isn’t?). Perhaps they will take the form of rants. Perhaps the form of an elaborate and labyrinthine puzzle, dragging you through the depths of your own psyche, revealing grotesque truths about the human condition before finally revealing what I actually thought about a shitty film franchise. Perhaps. I haven’t decided yet.

Oh Summer of 2012, what a beast you were. You had such dazzling highs and such confounding lows. You were filled with aimless, drunken wanderings through the streets of Chicago, ending with confused mornings waking up in puddles of Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwiches (true story). You were riddled with dates and drunken make-outs. Midnight showings and Bat-a-thons. You were epic and understated at once. Much like my fifth grade math teacher, I entered you a boy and a left you a man (not a true story). I have gained some loved ones, and lost some (you will be missed, Donnie. New York doesn’t deserve you). I went from living with four wonderful and crazed souls to living alone. And I saw both The Dark Knight Rises and Prometheus. I will be forever changed. So, now that I’ve arbitrarily decided to structure this like a rewards show, lets get this thing on the road. Without further ado…here are…

ANDREW’S SUMMER MOVIE AWARDS 2012!

Welcome, welcome ladies and gents. It’s been a wacky and wild roller coaster this summer, hasn’t it, Jane?

(Insert painfully unwitty, overly-enthusiastic response from once-pretty co-host whose face looks like it’s had more nips and tucks than a fucking French pastry)

Hilarious, Jane. You’re so on point. Well, let’s get to it!

Most Mediocre Movie I’m Glad I Missed

Winner: The Amazing Spiderman; Runner Up: The Borne Legacy

OH NO! MECHA-GOJIRA! Nope…my mistake. It’s just boring.

So, I know these were both on my list of “Movies I Will See and Hate Myself“, but guess what, other than a few noted exceptions, this was not a summer of self-harm. I read reviews of Spiderman. My friend told me it was, and I quote, “Totally Fine.” You know what? Fuck totally fine. I don’t want totally fine. This is the summer. If I want ‘totally fine’, I’d be in January. This is the time for RPX/3D/IMAX/ VHS/ADHD/CPS/SIDS to melt your mutherfucking face off. If I’m not feeling some facial phase-changes, then it has no business being in the summer movie line-up. I like Andrew Garfield, but it was so infuriatingly clear in every ad, clip and interview he was trying to be a total badass. You know what? No matter how many times you shove a lightning bolt up a corpse’s ass, you don’t get reanimation, you just get the suffocating smell of cooked, rancid meat and charred hair. My Peter Parker will always be the animated one that awkwardly fought the Green Goblin on Saturday mornings…and then got all weird and sexy with Madame Web and…well…let’s not talk about that. Also, The Borne Legacy, I heard Jeremy Renner was wasted. For that, I say, you deserve a penis in the ear. That is the one place no one likes a penis. Well, I’m sure someone does. Anyway, it’s invasive and unpleasant. You’re welcome.

Most Pissed Off I Got That Nobody Would Drink a Fifth of Jack With Me and Watch

Winner: Battleship, Runner-up: Piranha 3DD

YOU GUYS, IT LOOKS SO GOOD! SERIOUSLY! YOU GUYS!

Seriously, like, seriously guys. Why would NOBODY watch Battleship with me? Of course it’s moronic. Of course it’s about as worthy of sense as Gary Busey on the third day of an acid binge. Of course Liam Neeson will cash a paycheck. But still…COME ON. I heard there was an old person montage! And Rihanna acting! And Tim Riggins on a Boat! (For the record, I do not know, nor do I care, who Tim Riggins is. He has a cool name. Discussion over). I tried, time and again, to Shanghai someone to sneak a bottle of bourbon into the movie theater with me and drink every time someone said the words “Ship”, “God” or “Hey, isn’t that the guy from True Blood?” This summer has been seriously lacking some Transformers, over-the-top, misogyny-riddled, nonsensical action and I need my shit-fix. Why did you all abandon me? WHY?

Piranha gets honorable mention because, honestly, it’s a Piranha movie and those cannot be missed. At the same time, I heard it sucked massive elephantitis-balls. Like, globe-sized, Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-style giant testicles. And not in the good way. More in the, “just got back from rowing the Atlantic ocean and am suffering from about 12 different fungal issues in the nether-regions…do you still want to do this?” way.

Most Forgettable Movie of the Summer

Winner: I can’t remember; Runners-Up: Men in Black III, Brave

It’s that one movie…with the thing…and that guy, from that other movie…

It’s only logical that the least memorable movie was one that literally forgot its existence. This has happened numerous times. Some of the more memorable least-memorable films would be…um…that one with the cops…a black one and a white one…maybe the one with a scary thing in the something or other…or when that one person was on trial for something and somebody was trying to do something with the…it was by John Grisham, I know that. So, here’s to you, the least memorable movie of the summer! I might have written an article about you. Maybe. Maybe I didn’t because you were so fucking forgettable that my brain forcefully rejected your existence the moment I left the theater/my living room. Not because you were bad. No, bad movies deserve remembrance. You have committed the worst crime of all existence: you have stolen time out of my life that, not only will never be returned, but I cannot recollect. You’re a black hole of blandness. A vortex of vapidity. A nebula of nebul-‘eh’. So, movie that was positively pointless, thank you.

The other two runner-ups are nearly as blameful. Men in Black III was fine, without a capital ‘f’ because it doesn’t deserve such frills. It was a movie constructed by the corporate machine, placed in the hands of jaded, half-spent celebrity and given nothing to do other than make a really amusing joke about Andy Warhol. Otherwise, the film was so inoffensive and uninteresting that I literally forgot I saw it until I looked back at my articles written for this summer. And, Brave, you just stick that fucking bear tail between your legs (do bears have tails? I can’t remember. NOT THE POINT). You’re a Pixar, not some poxy by-the-numbers bullshit excreted by Lionsgate. You have a legacy to uphold! Now, yes, I enjoyed the film just fine (there’s that word again! I know grammatically the sentence is incorrect, but the issue is the same. Oh US parlance.) Semantics aside, Brave attempted a few things and succeeded. The issue was one of scale. I return to the face-melting essential nature of summer film. Wall-E fucking sublimated my entire head. Up transformed me into a sobbing, weeping, sniveling husk of mush. Brave? Brave made me shrug my shoulders and go “It wasn’t terrible.” Fuck that noise. I expect more from you people. I expect my very dreams to be haunted with your cartoonish mugs. I expect my bowels to loosen during the opening credits. I expect…

Holy shit. I just remembered what the most forgettable movie was. It was…wait…gone again. Oh well.

Most Good Movie Until a Super-Zombie Showed Up

Winner: Prometheus; Runner-Up: Um…Prometheus?

This is much more accurate depiction of that movie: people doing things that bear no relation to other things

You know how it is in the morning. You wake up, make yourself a cup of coffee, discover an alien planet that probably instigated all of evolution on planet earth, take off your fucking helmet because you “think it’s oxygen” and everything is forgivable and fine until a fucking SUPER ZOMBIE jumps out of nowhere and wrecks every non-named character? Know what I’m sayin’? No? That’s never happened to you? Well, Prometheus, I would like to thank you for obliterating the last twinkle of hope I held for modern science fiction. Thank you for taking such a deliciously dense, fertile, deep and compelling premise and the injecting it with Michael Bay cinema-herpes-riddled spunk. Much like the chaos-black stuff that infected and fundamentally transformed your characters, so did this Bay-Semen attempt to latch its genetic material onto yours. And, in self-same fashion, instead of becoming stronger, better and more interesting, you just became a fucking super-zombie, roaring like an idiot, throwing people this way and that, and eventually being crushed under the wheel of good fanboy taste. Yes, Prometheus, you are a dumb asshole. Not only that, but you built my hopes, you promised so much! And yet, as I drew back the veil, ready to place a ring on that finger and pledge my love to you, I instead discover the whale-vaginal, made-up visage of Guy Pearce peering back, Charlize Theron forgetting that human beings are capable of lateral movement and a big white dude giving forced fellatio to a crustacean.

It breaks my heart. It really does. Well, Prometheus, I really want you to be happy. Just…not with me. Bu-bye now.

Most Batman

Winner: The Dark Knight Rises; Runner-up: Moonrise Kingdom

Surprisingly Batman

This was a difficult category to decide. The list of contenders was long and contentious. We were offered an entire platter of Bat-films. Who could forget when the Dark Knight helped that family in Dark Shadows beat the evil witch’s curse? And when Bruce Wayne traveled back in time to help the Union get the silverware past the vampire threat in Abraham Lincoln: I Still Can’t Believe They Made This Movie. And, in one of the more memorable moments of summer film, who would ever lose sight of the iconic scene where the caped crusader gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to Judy Dench after a fatal Over-British-Dose in The Best Exotic Marigold HotelUndoubtedly, however, the award for Most Batman goes to The Dark Knight Rises, fearlessly having Batman in as many as six scenes! They did so well to make sure the cape and cowl had its due, featured in a whopping more than three action sequences! It takes a lot of strength, determination and creative prowess to offer so much screen time to an icon of the common imagination so immensely awesome that it naturally eclipses and obscures all sense of nuance and depth. But they did it.

Our runner up may seem like a surprise, especially with movies such as The Avengers which are simply blatant love notes to the amazingness that is Batman. I mean, they deliberately put all these mediocre characters together in an attempt to make some sort of kind-of-decent Comic-Book Voltron, composed entirely of Stan Lee’s penis inner neuroses. And they were completely and utterly successful in their attempts to show that the Dark Knight does indeed rise above the rest. However, Moonrise Kingdom takes the proverbial cake for second-place Most Batman. In fact, it’s one of my favorite origin stories of all time. X-Men: First Class was a campy/sexy mess; Batman Begins only scratched the surface; and Spiderman was about as subtle as a bottle rocket tied to my scrotum. Moonrise Kingdom charts the unlikely tale of a young Bruce Wayne, his family killed before the film even begins, falling for a young weirdo outsider whom we have to assume is Rachel Dawes (again played by Katie Holmes who really looks like she’s aged a lot since the end of TomKat) and running away from his captors (Ed Norton as a pre-police force Commissioner Gordon and Bruce Willis as Mr. Freeze before earning his PhD in ‘cold things’). I tell you, casting Bill Murray as Clayface was inspired and Frances McDormand as Harley Quinn was a stroke of genius. So, I thank you Wes Anderson, for filling in the missing pieces of Bruce’s journey. 

Least Batman

Winner: The AvengersRunners-up: The First Half of Dark Knight Rises, Magic Mike

This movie poster is still dumb.

Ok, I lied about The Avengers being a love note to The Dark Knight Rises. It was, instead, the Beethoven-esque, ovary-busting overture celebrating the eventual and glorious birth of one Mr. Joss “Fucking Finally” Whedon, a man that has been flirting with commercial greatness and total fangirl vomitoria for years. Throughout his career we have been fed tasty morsels of wonderment, from the episode Hush in Buffy season 4 to Serenity. We’ve also been plagued by Alien Resurrection and Joss Whedon fanboys (I’m not going to make any friends saying this, but if ANYONE begins singing Dr. Horrible around me, I will personally gag them and mail them to Nicaragua). The bald/ginger behemoth of pure nerdom has been gestating in a womb of ridiculous female caricatures and self-referential nonsense for years, only to bloom into a snarky, badass epic ball-buster that was The Avengers as well as the beautiful and hilarious send-up of horror films that was Cabin in the Woods. This was, in no uncertain terms, the summer of Whedon. I shall award him the honor of Least Batman because, contractually, the is no fucking way Batman can appear in the Marvel universe and, more importantly, the overall manic tone of The Avengers couldn’t haven’t been further from the Dark Knight’s noir necropolis. So, well done, Avengers. You did us proud.

The runners-up are slightly less Least Batman. First of all, the first half of The Dark Knight Rises does an incredibly admirable job of pretending to be about Batman and yet teasing us constantly with the fact that the caped crusader doesn’t show up for about THREE FUCKING HOURS. Yes, I understand pathos and that this is the first ever Batman movie that is actually about Batman. But c’mon! I want bat-antics (you know what they are because they’re labeled!)! I want gadgets! I want action scenes! I want to see Batman do something that makes my fanboy panties need a serious deep-clean on the ‘Teenage Boy Without a Girlfriend’ Cycle. The other runner-up, a film I did not see, seemed extremely not-Batman. Because, if the sixties taught us anything, there is nothing gay about Batman. Magic Mike looked super homo. Also, Matthew McConaughy is like anti-Batman. Not in that he’s something awesome like the Joker. No, he’s like buttered toast that falls on the ground butter-side down. He’s like getting a hang-nail while cutting lemons. He’s like Halle Berry’s Catwoman.

Very not-Batman indeed.

Best Movie of the Summer

Winner: Moonrise Kingdom; Runners-up: The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises

So surprising. Yes, it was the best. Deal with it.

Commence ‘Serious Face’ (TM). Yes, my favorite movie of the summer was indeed Moonrise Kingdom. Honestly, that movie cut me deeper than anything I’ve seen in some time. Deliriously funny, oddly dark and so whimsical that my testicles almost bloomed into Mumford and Sons and played a pop-folk concept in the middle of nowhere. It is probably the most entertaining modern tale of what it’s like to be a child I’ve seen in years. It was truthfully the most affecting thing I’ve seen in a while, both due to its examination of the child’s experience and because it makes you REALLY uncomfortable about how close to naked the little girl gets. *AWKWARD* That aside, thank you, Mr. Anderson, for serving us the same dish every single time and that same dish is absolutely fucking delicious.

Honorable mentions go out to the already lauded and fellated  The Avengers and Dark Knight Rises. So, yes, congrats, good movies. You’ll probably be the best movies I’ll see for a while. Unless someone FINALLY watches Battleship with me.

Movie I Wish I Had Been Drunker For

Winner: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Runner-up: Men in Black III

This poster is the most disconcerting thing I have seen since…well, this movie.

Seriously. My head was already fucking spinning, like that silver-coated axe wielded by our less-than-fortunate-looking 16th President of ours. So many things branded into my memory would have been offered the forgiving haziness of Jack Daniel-instigated inebriation. Perhaps Dominic Cooper’s horrific accent wouldn’t have pained me so. Perhaps I would have chocked up the absurdity of certain scenes to my waning control over basic motor skills. Perhaps I might have excused the nonsensical nature of the, well, the everything. Maybe Temur Nab-I’m-Not-Going-to-Look-up-How-To-Spell-it-Cus-Fuck-That-Guy-bakov would have been praised in my review for creating Inception-like complexity within his work. Instead, I had to watch it with a shitty Starbucks Latte in one hand (sorry for the redundancy of ‘Shitty’ and ‘Starbucks’) and my crumbling self-worth in the other. At least I had candy, but that can only do so much.

The runner-up here was Men in Black III solely because, if I had created a drinking game where the only rule was ‘Drink every time Will Smith is purposefully non-threatening to white people’ I might have been so drunk by the final scene that I might have involuntarily slept through the utterly hackneyed, inorganic and confusingly weep-tastic conclusion. But, hindsight is 20/20.

Movie I’m Really Upset I Missed

Winner: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Runner-up: Battleship

Come back! I can see Battleship another weekend!

So, I heard Beasts of the Southern Wild was one of the coolest, prettiest, most exhilarating films of the year. Its trailer had me crumpling my blanket in shoving into my mouth in fear that I might swallow my tongue due to a sudden wave of Cute-Black-Child-itis. Of course, I can’t really write anything about it and I don’t have a good reason for why I didn’t see it. I suppose time simply slipped away from me. Hours flew by, days even, and soon the only screen in Chicago playing its beauty allowed it slip away, quietly into the cinematic aether. And here I am, complaining about pieces of shit portraying presidents as Sarah Michelle Gellar’s only claim to fame and missing movies starring Rihanna as, well, a human being. Here I am missing true art and complaining that everything is decomposing into a massive stew of imaginative fecal matter. Here I am. I wish I had seen it, experienced it, written about it. Perhaps I’d be a different person, instead of a bitter jerk fuming over Michael Bay’s legacy. Perhaps. Lessons for the future, I suppose. A cautionary tale how lamenting about the terrible clouds our understanding of the good. Aye me.

The runner-up is Battleship. All pathos aside I REALLY WANTED TO SEE BATTLESHIP.

Most Hilarious Response to One of My Reviews I Have Ever Received

Winner: Fahrenheit 451; Runner-up: Batman Returns

So, this is the Internet. Though it is filled with wonderful things such as my blog, the blog of Raving Mad Scientists (check those ladies out, they are awesome), Netflix and every porn site ever, it is also home to less savory things. Like Goatsie (google it) or /b/ or every porn site ever. In expanding my writing to the World Wild Web I have braced myself for accidentally tapping into the vein of anonymous hatred that sneaks surreptitiously between sites, and allowing a deluge of trolling and nastiness. Luckily, I have not actually experienced any of this…yet. I have had a couple of amusing moments. My favorite of which was in response to my severely uninformed (and openly so) analysis of Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451:

“Well….I guess you gave it a good college try. You missed it on some of the facts (Wikipedia isn’t the end all and be all of information). Actually, Truffaut had originally set Werner to play the role of the captain (eventually played by Cyril Cusack – father-in-law to Jeremy Irons). When Stamp bowed out, Werner did not want to take over the role of Montag — but Truffaut pleaded and cajoled (they had worked so well together in Jules and Jim). Werner (in real life) experienced Kristalnacht in Vienna and saw more than his share of book burning. He had a hard time with the way he felt Truffaut ‘triviliazed’ the book burning scenes. Half way through filming, the two would not even talk to each other and had to use go-betweens to get their messages across. Werner wanted to add more sympathy to the character of Montag than Truffaut did, etc. etc. I completely agree with you about how miscast Julie Christie was. Unfortunately, at that time, she was the biggest thing in box office and the film would not have been funded without her in it.” ~film fan

Thanks for the info, ‘film fan’! I do take your criticism about lack of research beyond Wikipedia and offer, in return, a gif!

And in not quite close second, after my Batman Returns piece:

“Burton himself has said that Catwoman wasn’t meant to be supernatural but ambiguous and have that whole 9 lives vibe and motif going on. When she is pushed out the window (a brilliant scene “actually, it’s a lot like that!”) she hits at least 2 awnings and falls into a mount of snow. And she only falls about 6 stories (Jackie Chan did a similar stunt for real in Project A). After this she has a pyschotic break and develops a new personality not bound by morals or society. A force of nature. The cats wander around her as they live in the alley and are suspicious and hungry. The backflipping and martial arts skilled are explained in an earlier draft when she tells Bruce about how she was a gymnastics champion as a kid and took many self defence classes but her teacher told her she wasn’t any good as her mind wasn’t clear. She replies that it’s clear now.

But a great review, I enjoyed the read.”

That was from the enigmatically monikered ‘G’. Thank you for the compliment, it will not be forgotten. But seriously, that is some serious Burton-Knowledge. All I can say is:

In all honesty, thank you for reading, all of you. I love comments. Of all kinds. I met my internet friends that way. And seriously, we all know these blogs are an attempt to find people throughout the universe that aren’t related to you who might like something you wrote. Fleeting passes of digital connection, helping us avoid feeling the crushing weight of loneliness if only for a moment.

Also, if you want to call me on my shit, bring it. I HAVE SO MANY GIFS TO WHIP OUT.

Well, now we must wait for the Oscars to collectively jerk off our tear ducts in an attempt for studios to garner those self-congratulatory golden dildos. Get ready for movies with Abraham Lincoln not fighting vampires. Movies that make you cry, though you keep telling yourself that you’re watching trite nonsense. Also, The mutherfucking Hobbit. I’m only entirely excited. And now…a contentious list of megachiroptean action movies from best to worst.

All Batman Movies Ranked from Best to Worst with Comparisons to Things that Get you Drunk

The Dark Knight – Like an aged Scotch, smokey, mysterious and surprising. With a dead guy in it.

The Dark Knight Rises – Hendricks Gin. Solid, delicious and makes a summer night worthy of enjoyment.

Batman Returns – Maker’s Mark. Makes you say hilarious things and surprisingly delicious. With hints of Walken.

Batman BeginsA wine. Not fine, but tasty and good with a helping of Neeson. You drink it before it’s done breathing. Like an idiot.

Batman: The Movie – Tequila. Gets you fucking drunk. And maybe a little homosexual.

BatmanAbsinthe (sans Wormwood). You think it’ll be more fun than it was and it tastes vaguely of something made in the mid-eighties but without the fun.

Batman ForeverAbsinthe (con Wormwood). Should be illegal in the States and makes you feel like you are tripping balls. Jim Carrey might appear wearing all green and torment your worst nightmares.

Batman and RobinHomeless Person’s Vomit. Self-explanatory. And it might give you a staph infection.

by Andrew Mooney

The Avengers (2012) – Joss Whedon (Dir.), Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, oh my god so many people…

All hail Joss Whedon.

Alright, let’s get this out of the way now. There shall be no posse. I know. I’m disappointed too. I wish I could have seen the words, “Thanks for wasting my time, jerk” spelled out in raised flesh on Joss Whedon’s scarred and charred rump as he cried for his mother. But, alas, it shall not be. In fact, replace that brand for my lips and you might have a more accurate understanding of my emotional and carnal response to this mass of charming celluloid splayed out before the human population this summer. The Avengers is good. Really good. Like, melt-your-face-off-with-fanboy-glee-and-bake-into-a-tasteful-acne-ridden-face-pie good. I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie since…well…Cabin in the Woods. Not a good temporal marker, I know. But I’m about to say something (read: write something) that will make me want to slap myself. Move over, Independence Day, I have discovered the perfect blockbuster. Will Smith shall weep. Bill Pullman will sob. Jeff Goldblum would…do his closest approximation to normal human sadness, thereby continuing to convince the world that he is not some kind of robot designed to confuse people learning the English language.

Is the movie good? Hell no. Melancholia is ‘good’. Mississippi Burning is ‘good’. This movie is a Blockbuster with a capital ‘B’, thus the metrics are entirely warped. Acting is not measured in nuance and subtlety but in wisecracks and the ability to deliver one-liners without you wanting to punch yourself in the private parts. The cinematography isn’t judged based on its mis en scene and other French words that make American scrotums quiver with fear, but on ‘CAN I SEE WHAT IS GOING ON? YES! CARRY ON!” Even the script cannot be measured with ‘big questions’ asked, rather with ‘Does Hulk smashing his face into a wall make sense? Yes? Then, HULK FUCKING SMASH!” And so, based on a Blockbuster scale, this movie is the next coming of Jesus Christ…but instead of footprints in the sand it’s Iron Man shooting you with miniature rockets. (I don’t care who you are or which religion suits your fancy, if one could worship Iron Man, one would. Immediately. And without question.) And this film, this Joss “Nerd Samosa” Whedon epic, blows every category out of the water. Does it have people saying funny things? Yes. Is it visually coherent? Yes. Is the plot not just a giant pot of octopus piss poured across a typewriter accompanied by a nonchalant shrug, a swill of bourbon and a, “Eh. Fuck it.”? Double yes. This movie, wait for it, actually makes sense.

The Original Not-Giving-A-Fuck Master

Let that settle in. Wait…really wallow in it. Do you know what this means? Think back on every major summer blockbuster you have ever seen. Does it make sense? No, of course it fucking doesn’t. Why would a giant robot spider exist in the old West? How would you use a giant robot spider to take over America? Why did the evil Transformers attack Chicago, out of all the cities in America? Why did Katherine “Queen of Breasts” Heigl decide to have a relationship with Seth “Really?” Rogen? It doesn’t make sense. You know what does? Thor beating the shit out of Tony fucking Stark in a penis-measuring contest. Captain America and Iron Man pissing each other off. Black Widow wearing skin tight clothing…all the time…and the camera dipping so you can see her waistline…

Erhem. Enough of that. I’m not going to give spoilers and plot summaries and all of that obligatory nonsense. You have wikipedia? Use it. I want to ask other questions. Firstly, why is this good? What nerve did Whedon tickle bringing the collective fan consciousness to simultaneous orgasm in just 140 minutes? Well, let’s juxtapose this bad boy with the previous holder of fanboy sexual phantasmagoria “The Dark Knight”. These are different movies in every way possible. While Nolan was taking tired, tried material and exploring the new thematic avenues contained within, Whedon was just making this mess palatable. It was also blatantly apparent that Whedon was aware that Marvel’s strength lies almost solely in its heroes. DC boasts the likes of Scarecrow, the Joker, Harley Quinn, Two Face and Lex Luther. Complex villains, tied inexorably to the hero’s past and/or greatest weaknesses, emotional rather than physical. What does Marvel have, other than Venom? The Lizard? The Vulture? The Shocker? Seriously? Did Stan Lee just begin listing sexual positions and apply them to nefarious entities? Nuance is not his strength.

I suffered through Thor. And Hulk. Two entirely boring pieces of blandness, both about enjoyable as repeatedly licking stamps for a cumulative three hours. I even had to deal with Captain America: The First Avenger: Worst Colon Ever’s inability to conjure a second and third act. Instead of story arc, we had an extended montage of bullshittery ending with Tommy Lee Jones yelling something and driving a car and…wow…I think I just blacked out for a second. It was that pointless. Iron Man was great. Iron Man 2 was a mess of such trannie proportions that it can only be found in Boystown at 5am on Pride weekend. Somehow, Whedon managed to weave all of these mediocre, admittedly charismatic, threads into a quilt of such unprecedented awesomeness, that snugging in it would be preferable to sex with Eva Green. Again…I want to slap myself. Nothing is better than that. (Marry me, Eva. Please. I don’t like to beg…but I will. All you have to do is return one of my annotated fake travelogues of our imaginary trips to Cairo. Just one.)

Coherence keeps me happy. Coherence stops me from screaming like a bag lady at a passing subway train. Beyond that, what keeps me in the theater is having a single, unbroken shot skipping from Black Widow fucking up some dudes, to Captain America fucking up some dudes, to Hawkeye impaling some dudes (thereby fucking them up), to Iron Man flying around and fucking up some flying dudes, to Thor using electricity to fuck up some electrified dudes, to the Hulk fucking up everybody. I was leaping about in my seat like a two year old that had just spotted that last Tickle-Me Elmo and I was going to HAVE IT, no matter who I had to kill. This is synergy of such epic proportions that even God must have crossed his legs once or twice. And that dude is old. He has to use some kind of deity-strength Viagra these days. Why do you think we haven’t had any divinely impregnated virgins recently? Performance issues.

Why did this work so well? Firstly, this is the only instance of a film that combines so many major actors, all of them leading men, into a single narrative. While each of these characters’ respective origin tales required them as the centerpiece and everyone else to fit into the cookie-cutter archetypes required for narrative momentum, this movie didn’t have to. They had their backstories. They had their personalities. And we’ve all seen them. Repeatedly. Thus, all they had to do was combine and let them have at it. The result is copulatory. Seeing Robert Downey Jr. leap delightfully into a tete a tete with Chris Evans is something you will never see again…until the inevitable The Avengers 2: Electric Boogaloo. Thus, we are left with a Blockbuster that does not leave us bored to tears the second the action stops. In fact, we’re all wishing the aliens could fuck off for another ten minutes while Downey Jr. delivers another few zingers. Seriously. That’s just rude.

That is a sandwich I would not mind being in the center of.

Are there any gripes? Sort of. Whedon, for a dude, does extremely well at making his female characters not only competent, but also human. In anyone else’s hands (read: Jon Favreau in Iron Man 2) Black Widow would have been a deadly sexpot with nothing to say other than “I’m flexible”. Instead, she is offered pathos, wit, intelligence, conniving strategy…as well as an incredible body. Goddamn. Even Maria Hill, played bootily by Robin Sherbotsky, I mean, Cobie Smulders, classically the Shrew of Marvel’s ‘Taming of the’ saga, is actually capable of doing things. Even so, this movie woefully fails the Bechdel Test. To those of you not in the know, you sexist pigs, the Bechdel Test is a metric to measure female presence within film plot lines. For a movie to pass the test they must achieve a very simple task: have a scene, however long, between two named female characters that does not pertain to male characters. Think about that. Unless it’s a Chick Flick, try to figure out the last time you watched a movie that passed the test. It doesn’t mean the movie is bad, per se, you just can’t exactly tout it as the bastion of gender relations.

Also, the costumes are degrading. Why is it, in every damn action movie, they all have to be in such skin-tight, non-movable, un-breathable outfits, each of them completely unsuited to the situations at hand. I mean, come on, we know Chris Evans is ripped. We don’t need his skimpy Captain America outfit to reinforce that. You’re ruining it for all of us, Chris. You too Hemsworth. Eat a bloody sandwich. And by ‘sandwich’, I mean ‘keep eating until you are nothing but a blob of flesh, suitable only for ridicule. That teaches you for being famous, you fatass.’ Honestly, anyone of any gender profile will being popping boners/wetting theater seats for the entirety of the film’s running time. Dem some pretty peeps.

Casting-wise this thing is a filmic wet-dream. It also opens up for a few fascinating possibilities… Such as, what if Nick Fury is just Jackson’s character from Snakes on a Plane having found a new purpose in life? (Explains the eye patch, right?) What if all Mark Ruffalo’s romantic comedies from now on are required to have him turn green and grab the female protagonist and fling her about her bedroom like a rag doll? What if Stellan Skarsgard learned a real accent and not that nether-region of a mangled mess of phonemes he currently uses? A better universe for everyone, I feel.

All kidding and strained analogies aside, what The Avengers was able to achieve was something near-impossible for me. I lost myself. I forgot I was watching Scarlett Johansson. I forgot that was Mark Ruffalo. I forgot it was Chris Evans and his insanely toned arms and abs and…FUCK YOU CHRIS EVANS AND YOUR PERFECTION. Each of these actors seemed to lose themselves within their characters, each working towards a benevolent whole. Whedon created a cohesive universe and allowed his audience to take a peek. No one was fighting for the limelight. There was no Steve McQueen hanging out in the background fixing his hat. This is a team. A team of ultimate badasses playing ultimate badasses. It was like witnessing a television special with a $200 million budget. Never before has anything like these even been attempted…unless it has, but I can’t remember it so it doesn’t count. Sorry imaginary film franchise. Whedon beat you. Take it like a man…or concept. Either one.

You have been wasted, Ruffalo. Your existence has been whittled to playing second fiddle to Reese Witherspoon. That’s like playing fifth cello to Sarah Jessica Parker or ninth French horn to Julia Roberts. Achieve your potential.

The Avengers may not have made me question existence. Nor did it make me question really anything at all. I didn’t think. I didn’t analyze. I didn’t do shit. I ate my Swedish Fish, I sat back and I had the most fun I’ve had in a long time. There’s something to be said for that. We have brains that take a lot to switch off. Like Eminem’s Oscar-winning hit says, ‘lose yourself’. Have a blast. Never think about it again. There’s nothing wrong with that. At all.

by Andrew Mooney

The temperature is rising. The rains are coming. The sun isn’t being such a dick anymore. Puxatawny Phil lied to us. As Ned Stark wouldn’t say: Summer is Coming. We know it comes every year and, no matter how much we think we can prepare, the result is a vomitous mess of wasted celluloid and fried neurons. We no longer measure summers in lost loves, days trickling away on the beach and road trips. We measure them in blockbusters, Twizzlers and jumbo buckets of popcorn, monstrosities we know are going make us want to throw up and yet we keep coming back for more because…because it’s free refillsIt’s free food! WHY WOULDN’T YOU TAKE IT?

Summer movie season will be upon us soon. As I practice how many Reese’s Pieces I can force down my gullet without purging, the parade of mediocrity that is the Summer Movie Preview begins its dirge. So what do we have this year? What films will play across our faces as we question what we are doing with are lives and why we’re not in grad school and, seriously, Tom Hardy has like a thirty pack, how is that even possible?

I have split the bigg’uns into four categories: Movies I Want to See, Movies I Will See and Hate Myself, Movies I Will See Drunk, and Movies I Would Rather Be Diagnosed With an Awkwardly Placed Fungus Than See. So…let’s get started shall we?

MOVIES I WANT TO SEE

The Dark Knight Rises

Bane? Bane! Hey, Bane! You forgot your mask! Hey Bane?

Alright, alright. Let’s get my fanboy panties out of Christopher Nolan’s butt and just come out and say it. I love Batman. Not just that he is an enjoyable character with intriguing flaws as well as equally complex villains to complement him. I love him. I want to be him. I always have. This is no joke. If he actually existed (that’s a begrudging ‘if’) I would attempt to steal his heart and force marriage. Perhaps by way of a faked pregnancy. I haven’t thought it through.  Thus, when Batman Begins charged its ways into theaters back in 2005, I was about ready to put a hit out on the New Yorker’s Anthony Lane when he declared it “Meh.” Meh? MEH? Batman is the night. You know what doesn’t give a fuck? The night. Because it comes, whether you like it or not, every night. They even named a part of the day cycle after it because it’s not-giving-a-fuckness hit such levels of magnitude, it had to be respected.

So, there is this movie. I still get hot flashes when I think about the truck chase in The Dark Knight. Granted, the trailer for Rises had some…odd stuff in it. And I still have not forgotten Ken Watanabe’s hilarious accent in the first one. But seriously, on paper, it’s like Christopher Nolan went into my dreams and took everything I have ever wanted in a film: Batman, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, my insatiable crush on Anne Hathaway in leather body suits and… Wait…that is my dream. Did Nolan…?

My god. He is the Master of Dreams. All hail Nolan.

The Avengers 

This poster is terrible, aside from Iron Man playing invisible basketball.

Alright Joss Whedon. You have my ear. Now give me something good.

The movie that instigated this re-scouring of classic film was actually one of Whedon’s. I saw Cabin in the Woods twice in one week. I loved it that much. Seriously, if you enjoy horror films like I do, go see it immediately. You will have a blast. Ok…so, now onto this 4-year marketing campaign in the making. This film better be fucking worth it otherwise I’m forming a fucking posse and we’re gonna ride into Hollywood and drag Whedon out by his ass. And then we shall brand him, on the rump, “Thanks for wasting out time. Jerk.” I know it wouldn’t really be his fault, but someone must pay.

Ang Lee’s Hulk was one of the worst pieces of fecal matter I have ever had the pleasure to witness at 30,000 feet. And, as everyone knows, all movies are 40% worse on a plane. That’s science. I vowed, then and there, that I would never see another Hulk movie. And then Ed Norton decided to take a career nosedive and 2008’s The Incredible Hulk was born. This time, 100% less credible! Well, I saw it. No, not because it looked good or that it had fine reviews, but because Robert Downey Jr. was in it for thirty seconds. I watched two hours of unrelenting mediocrity because of The Avengers. So, Whedon, you have been warned.

In all honesty, it looks kinda cool. Yes, the only interesting part of Thor is back (Tom Hiddleston, not Chris Hemsworth’s abs. Put it back in your pants, ladies). Yes, I get Scarlett Johansson in a cat suit…again. Yes, Jeremy Renner shoots a bow…or something. Whatever, he was in The Hurt Locker so he is infallible. Yes, Samuel L. Jackson yells (he better fucking yell or Whedon is getting branded). And of course Mr. Robert Downey “Just Dare Me to Give A Fuck, I Dare You” Jr. as Iron “The Nice Version of Batman” Man. I’m a teeny bit excited. And apprehensive.

Your move, Whedon.

Moonrise Kingdom

Have you ever noticed that every Wes Anderson poster is the same thing? Quirky people standing in a line according to height?

That’s a lot of cursive. Cursive is intimidating.

I’m gonna lay down some truth bombs. I am white. I am male. I went to liberal arts college. I believe I am legally obligated to love Wes Anderson. Of course, the budding hipster, yearning to escape my body every day I think to myself, “Which vest goes with this shirt?” shudders with restrained excitement at the thought of Wes “No Big Deal” Anderson committing a new image to celluloid. The love affair began with Rushmore, as it did for so many blossoming detentes of the millennial generation. It grew from a tryst into true, codependent adoration with The Royal Tenenbaums, had a sexy vacation with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, lost the luster slightly trapped on a train with The Darjeeling Limited and then rediscovered the passion with the divinely-sent Fantastic Mr. Fox. As his similarly named counterpart traversed the Matrix in order to bring down the robot hierarchy, Mr. Anderson traverses human emotion to bring down our hearts. Aww. But seriously, if you like him, his movies are hilarious. If you don’t, well, you are probably a lot more fun at non-hipster parties than us.

I owe Anderson several life debts. 1) Fantastic Mr. Fox. My entire childhood development, if it could be blamed on any one person, was crafted by Roald Dahl. This book was perhaps may favorite of all. This is a movie, that no matter how crappy I feel, how lost, how tired, how depressed, I can switch it on and feel a wash of bliss subsuming my every doubt that, in the end, everything is going to work out. That is, until Michael Bay announces ‘Ninja Turtles‘. Head…about…to…explode… I mean, since Fox, whenever I really am feeling down, I think to myself “I wish I were Fantastic Mr. Fox”, because then I would be George Clooney. And Clooney is a fucking god.

2) He reanimated the jaded, bearded corpse of Bill Murray, siphoning that sarcastic Ghostbusterian brilliance into the bitter, distant father of humanity that he has since become. It’s incredible to see such a nice man act like such a brutal jerk, seemingly drunk at all times and finished with life. And yet, instead of murdering himself, he continues to trudge through each day, shooting down the young and sneering at the optimistic. His acting is amazing. Unless he isn’t acting then…well, I would certainly regret inviting him to my 21st birthday party.

This movie looks great. Surly Bill Murray? Check. Throwing shoes at Ed Norton? Check. Quirky, hipstomatic color scheme shot square in every scene? Check. Bruce Willis? Um…sure. Why not? Sometimes you need to invite the older kids to the party. It’s just polite.

Brave and Paranorman

Oooooh. Puuuurdy.

Now, it’s not really fair they don’t both get a section each, but I have pretty much the same thing to say for both. Brave is the newest Pixar film. Disney has been successful in convincing me that, no matter what happens, the world exploding, Mitt Romney becomes president, Newt Gingerich reaches the moon, one thing will always, always be true: Pixar films are amazing (unless the word Car is in the title). The Incredibles, Toy Story 1, 2 and 3, Wall-E, Finding Nemo and Up weren’t just formative moments in cinema for me…they reduced me to a weeping, giggling, spitting-up child, squirming with glee as I gobbled the rest of my Reese’s (I bathe in them. The love affair is that deep). I can count dozens of moments that took my heart and twisted it into a tiny ball of fear, anxiety, stress and longing before allowing it to explode out of my face in the manliest tears possible (given the situation of course). That being said, Pixar gets a pass. The trailer for Brave is beautiful…it has Scottish people in it. Yeah, the jokes fall a little flat and the story doesn’t seem as mind-bogglingly brilliant as their other stuff. But then, what did we say about Up’s teaser? Lawyered.

Worst. Metal band. Ever.

Paranorman, on the other hand, is from the same studio that produced Coraline a few years ago. Since growing up with those apexes of literary brilliance that are Wallace and his pensive canine companion Gromit, I have adored stop motion animation. Yes, I was that ass with a Nightmare Before Christmas poster in college. Also, I’ve been known to pop a boner or two for Neil Gaiman, on occasion. Coraline, though flawed as all hell (the second half devolves into a video game, essentially), it tickled every Roald Dahl bone in my body. And there are a lot because, after my accident when I was a boy, I found his grave and took several pieces of… I’ve said too much.

Paranorman looks fun. Zombies. Scary things. Imaginative stuff. In the end, it probably won’t be anything to write home about. But then we remember we have the Internet and everyone loves to write home about everything. So…yes, it will get written about.

Prometheus

Bask in its glory.

Ok, boys and girls, this is it. This is the big kahuna of the summer. I would like to believe that, if there were seven and two half words that could collectively drop fanboy panties through the outer crust of the earth, they would be: “Ridley Scott is making a new sci-fi film”. And then we hear it’s a ‘prequel’ to Alien. Thanks to George Lucas, the word ‘prequel’ is about as palatable as a UTI. Also, there have been so many Alien films and only two of them have been good. Lastly, Damen Lindeloff, a man whose name is synonymous with ‘Fanboy/girl Blue Balls’, wrote the script. At that point, I dusted off my hands, looked out into the sunset and declared, “I think I’m done here. See you all in hell.”

And then the trailer was released. Even with my best Clint Eastwood poker face (equal parts concrete, disgust and ‘wow this cigar tastes terrible’) disintegrated into something closer to a gelatinous mass of anticipatory euphoria. Michael Fassbender…Noomi Rapace…a soundtrack that seems deadly close to Inception’s…Charlize Theron…Idris Elba…ALIENS…CREEPY ALIENS… SCREAMING…IT’S IN MY SKIN…

I can’t explain the religious epiphany I had in that moment. If this movie isn’t good, I won’t be upset. There will be no posses, no branding of Scott’s heiney. Rather, I will sit in the grass outside the movie theater (let’s be real: tarmac) and weep. For Beckett was right. We are waiting for something that will never come. Something greater than ourselves. Something to give meaning to this universe and its backwards existence.

And that thing, of course, is another good Alien movie.