Random Places I Have Been in 2012

Ausable Chasm – Upstate New York -This past spring while up at Saratoga Springs for some R&R I took a scenic drive up I87 towards the Canadian border and stopped at Ausable Chasm.  I don’t recall much of this – only that there was a pretty cool waterfall…

Original Photograph by D. H. Schleicher

…that brought to mind a rather Twin Peaks-ian moment…

Original Photograph by D. H. Schleicher

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America, Jesus and Freedom in The Campaign

If this isn’t the funniest movie of the summer I will punch you in the face!

Like clockwork every two years near the end of summer a Will Ferrell vehicle arrives on the scene to make a case for the title of funniest movie of the year.  In 2004 it was Anchorman, in 2006 it was Talladega Nights, in 2008 it was Step Brothers and in 2010 it was The Other Guys.  Pretty much everything the SNL funny man has done in between these films (spare for the underrated dramedy Stranger than Fiction) has been crap.  Now, in 2012, here comes The Campaign.

Similarly like clockwork every year as we near November (and even more so in presidential election years) we are overwhelmed by negative campaign ads, increasingly absurd political wrangling and non-stop nattering idiots in the media.  It is this milieu that The Campaign wisely and broadly assails. 

In North Carolina’s Mayberry-esque 14th district, Cam Brady (Will Ferrell, doing a great riff on his previous Dubya impersonation crossed with the perfectly coifed sleaziness of John Edwards) has run uncontested for years on three simple words – America, Jesus and Freedom.  But that’s all about to change when the billionaire corporatist Motch Brothers (Dan Aykroyd and John Lithgow) see an opportunity to put up a puppet candidate who will help them bring Chinese slave labor to American shores.  In walks the incompetent Marty Huggins (Zack Galifianakis, perfectly embodying the oddly effeminate weirdo Southern mamma’s boy archetype) to run against Brady. Continue reading

White Trash Melodrama in Elena and Killer Joe

Stylistically the cold Russian film Elena and the perversely American film Killer Joe couldn’t be further apart.  Yet they both are prime examples of neo-noir and in their own unique ways wallow in the melodrama of the downtrodden.

In Elena, the title character (Nadezhda Markina, a modicum of pent-up middle-aged rage) trudges through the routines of her day in her posh Moscow penthouse living with the wealthy husband she hooked ten years ago when she nursed him back to health.  Her son is the epitome of the post-Soviet downtrodden, living in a trashy tenement tower underneath the shadows of nuclear silos with his lazy teenage son, do-nothing wife and an infant.  He begs his mother for money constantly, and she eventually becomes obsessed with funding her grandson’s college education even though we all know he’s not college material.  Her husband refuses to continue to support her loser family, even though he continues to dutifully spoil his own screw-up of a daughter.  When he has another heart attack and decides to revisit his will, Elena must resort to desperate measures.  Continue reading

One Two Three Four I Declare a Chicken War

 VS.

Choose Your Chicken Wisely, Good Citizens!

Look, it’s not like my name is Stan and there’s some Wendy Testaburger out there who I’m trying to impress by being all political and stuff. When I blog about politics, it normally leaves a bad taste in my mouth. You might learn something about me you didn’t care to know and I might learn something about you I didn’t care to know. And then it’s awkward talkin’ for awhile. I’ve tried to avoid taking a side in the recent Chick-fil-A debate. To be honest, I always liked their food and I didn’t understand what one lunatic exec’s political views had to do with that food and the locally owned franchises in my area. But I can’t stand idly by anymore…and here’s why.

Lemme tell you a little story about what happened to me last night. Driving home from a hard day’s work, I was cravin’ some Chick-fil-A as I often do. So I decided to stop on by, and I honestly thought all the recent boycott talk might’ve hurt business and I would be able to conveniently race through the drive-thru in record time. It was all about me, see? What I found was a line around the block and a long wait for some extra-lousy, fatty, greasy, poorly breaded nuggets and soggy waffle fries. Eating the nasty grub at home, I thought, “What the hell?” And then I saw it on the news – Yup! – I unwittingly participated in the hate-laced, Huckabee & Palin-endorsed “Support Chick-fil-A Day.” I became sick to my stomach for multiple reasons. Continue reading