Crapfest: Making A Good Friday Bad

There seems to be an ebb and flow in the Universe around these things: I’d had another stressful and exhausting two weeks, the midpoint of which was the Fort Bend International Festival, a nice 11 hour day with only two minor fifteen minute breaks. I should feel lucky – I was totally expecting 12 hours. This was followed by a holiday on the following Friday, Good Friday, but that only meant everything had to be done a day early. I really didn’t feel rested until a week after the Festival, and a day after Crapfest.

Two could not make it – David and Erik – and we added a newb, Mark, who, like me, works at a college but has a much more elevated position than I (realistically, the janitors have a much more elevated position than I). Paul and Alan arrived after their commitments; I had beaten Rick to Dave’s house by mere minutes, giving us sufficient time to curse each other and the screen, because I had burned another compilation of horrible things from the Everything Is Terrible website. Here is one of the least offensive, in case you were ever wondering what happened to Madness after that “Our House” money ran out:

I’m still trying to figure out how to rip that and make it my ringtone. Apparently some memories of this song gave Rick problems in church Sunday morning.

The-Bodyguard-558x836Dave wanted me to go first, but although I had a stack of discs in front of me, I pointed out that we had been promising Paul we would show Sonny Chiba’s The Bodyguard for months. “What? Is it Be Nice To Paul Day?” “Sure, why not?” So we finally watched The Bodyguard, which is, unfortunately, no Streetfighter, but hey – it is Sonny Chiba.

It is quite literally Sonny Chiba, as Sonny Chiba plays a guy named Sonny Chiba who is a world-famous karate instructor. After a gangster is machine-gunned on the steps of St. Patrick’s, Sonny is hired to be the bodyguard for the dead gangster’s (wouldn’t you know it?) Japanese girlfriend. Yes, it’s Sonny Chiba vs the Mafia, and there are lots of broken bones sticking out of arms before the evening is out. The girlfriend is trying to do one last drug deal in the gangster’s honor, or something, and Sonny comes along for the ride as he goes between slapping the crap out of her and falling for her. Mark’s utterance of , “Boy, I hope this ends like Get Carter” is sort of prescient, but only sort of. And Paul sits there with a big grin on his face for most of it.

Our hopes were, however dashed in that Kevin Costner never showed up so Sonny could punch his lights out. Also: I had no idea that Sonny Chiba is in the Book of Ezekiel, but there it is, right at the beginning. This movie was educational, too.

Well, that clip kind of let you hanging, didn’t it? Here, the trailer picks up where that left off, and gives you a glimpse of the Enno Morricone-wannabe soundtrack, which was pretty hot:

After this, I discovered that it was also “Be Nice To Alan Day”, which is where things began to go horribly wrong. Alan had been doing actual research, tracing filmographies of  people like Pamela Jean Bryant (Miss April 1977, says resident Playboytologist Paul), mainly known in these parts from H.O.T.S. and Lunch Wagon. And what does his research uncover but this… thing from 1993 called GetEven, re-titled to Road to Revenge, possibly because the original title was too suggestive of what anybody watching it should consider. (Actually, it seems to be the opposite – GETEVEN seems to be the current title)

Here is your set-up: first, realize there is a lawyer named John De Hart (the emphasis is apparently on the “De”). He is also apparently a very successful lawyer. So naturally he decides to become a movie star.  He writes, produces, stars and co-directs in an action movie titled Get Even. He also has a musical number. I am not lying about this:

Yes, that is Pamela Bryant at the bar, proving what a good actress she was by looking like she’s enjoying herself. She also should have won awards for the two sex scenes she had with De Hart. Yes, he gave himself two sex scenes with a Playmate. And before you ask, yes, he sings the two songs under the sex scenes. Really awful flashbacks to The Room surfaced under these conditions.

1302247If you were really sharp, you saw Wings Hauser dancing during the clip. Here’s our plot, such as it is: Rick Bode (De Hart) and the unlikely-named Huck Finney (Hauser) were LAPD cops under William Smith (who packs the even more unlikely name of Normad). Normad frames them for drug charges – and about the worst thing to come from that is they lose their jobs – which somehow then makes him a judge. The passage of time in this is oddly (some might say ineptly) fluid, so I guess he got elected to that position somewhere in there. Now, not only is he William Smith, crooked cop and drug-dealing judge, no, that is insufficient for our needs, he is also a baby-killing Satanist. Bryant witnessed a baby sacrifice years before (or maybe it was minutes before), but Smith doesn’t decide to kill her until De Hart marries her. Which of course leads us to our Road to Revenge, perhaps the shortest Road to Revenge ever. Less than a block, or so.

De Hart’s baggy face rarely ever changes expression, though he is really good at looking directly into the camera. Wings Hauser is obviously improvising his dialogue, and it does serve to pad out the running time to feature-length. There is one speaking role – a nun – who is so mind-blowingly awful, she is in the movie twice, just to make De Hart look good. And yes, our hero is guilty of several counts of murder by the time the movie is over, but that’s okay, right?

You, too, can go to and purchase your own copy for a whopping 10 bucks. I do not personally recommend such a thing – but then, when have you ever listened to me?

TheBlackSixPaul takes his position as Designated Wuss very seriously, and left, before we put on Mark’s offering: The Black Six, the tale of a motorcycle gang made of six NFL football players. And if you know me and sports, you know I had no real idea what was going on, cast-wise, even though the opening credits were good enough to tell us what team each guy played on. Anyway, the Black Six are traveling the country after serving in Nam, generally being cool except when they are hastled by the man (ie., rednecks stupid enough to mouth off to six black men over six feet tall and in good shape). Until one of them finds out his kid brother was beaten to death by a white motorcycle gang.

That would be Gene Washington, chosen to be the main actor from our other pro players, who get distracted by such frippery as women on the street until they’re needed for backup.

The actual mechanism of Washington receiving this news by General Delivery at a post office during their wanderings led to a spirited discussion of exactly how much money Washington’s mother spent on postage, to send copies of this letter to every post office in America, just to make sure he got it.

Anyway, the Black Six arrive in town, get called “The New Uncle Toms” by Washington’s Angela Davis-lookalike sister, find out the cops cain’t do nothin’, and wind up in a big nighttime showdown with the murderous motorcycle gang, unaware that the spiteful honkies made a deal with an even larger motorcycle gang run by “Thor” (Ben Davidson, who I was helpfully informed was another football player). This is actually a pretty good final scene, as the six gather all the bikes in a circle and fend off onslaught after onslaught, finally ending in a huge explosion and conflagration, leading us to believe the Six are dead, except the titles assure us that everytime a brother is hassled, the Six will be there.

I’m not sure if the Black Six actually “waste 150 motorcycle dudes” – it gets a little hectic there – but it’s a pretty good finish. Up to that point, it’s obvious the Six aren’t martial artists at all, but they’re game, by golly. Matt Cimber directed a bunch of low-rent action flicks and blaxploitation movies, and his experience shows; it certainly had the most comprehensible plot of the evening.

Mark took his leave, his damage done, leaving myself, Dave, Rick and Alan. And while Alan took a nice nap, Dave started up Mission Stardust.

affiche-4-3-2-1-operation-lune-mission-stardust-1967-1I had meant to see Mission Stardust for years. It’s the Perry Rhodan movie, and when I was a teenager, I read a bunch of Perry Rhodan when Forry Ackerman started importing them here to the states.

Perry Rhodan is a weekly pulp series started in Germany back in 1961. It is pure space opera pulp – two-fisted astronauts, alien races, hairs-breadth escapes – it was glorious to young teen-aged me. Ackerman’s English versions were successful enough to keep the series running in bi-weekly paperback form until the new head of Ace Books decided it was “too juvenile” and cut it off around issue #120. Ackerman did keep it running in a subscription-only model for another twenty issues, but that was pretty much it for America. In Germany it kept going until 2011, when reportedly it got rebooted for a new audience.

So in 1967 Mission Stardust was made (aka 4…3…2…1…Death!) and the fact that no other Perry Rhodan movies were made should clue you in how successful it was amongst Rhodan fans.

2500tibiPerry Rhodan (Lang Jeffries) is in charge of Earth’s first Moon landing, where the crew of the rocketship Stardust finds a disabled alien ship with two living occupants from the planet Arkon: the elder scientist Arkin (Pinkas Braun), and the ship’s captain, Thora (Essy Persson). Arkin is looking for younger civilizations to freshen up the Arkon’s genetic pool, which means Perry will be sucking face with Thora by movie’s end (Spoiler: it took like 18 books for that to happen) even though she doesn’t like these primitive screwheads. In the meantime, Arkin is suffering from a mysterious disease that turns out to be leukemia.

The thrust of the movie then becomes getting a doctor who has developed a new treatment for leukemia from Mombassa to the Moon without revealing that there are aliens camping out on said Moon. This is accomplished by landing a smaller spacecraft in the desert and hassling all soldiers that come their way.

Rhodan and his sidekick, Mike Bull (really) (Luis Davila) sneak into Mombassa with a handful of diamonds (of course, worthless to the Arkons. Their money is mercury), unaware that a Blofeld-level bad guy has a mole on their ship and is planning to hijack the spacecraft. In other words, in order to escape our run of bad action movies, we blundered right into the arms of a bad action movie.

But it was at least a bad action movie with spaceships and robots. That was different. Sort of.

Here’s Your Scorecard:

Best Fight Scenes: The Bodyguard (which should tell you something about the quality of the others)

Easiest Plot to Follow: The Black Six

Best Score: The Black Six

Best Playmate: Road to Revenge

Best Space Vehicle That Looked Like A Dildo: Mission Stardust

Best Song: Jesus Is My Friend

Lesson Learned: We will never be nice to Paul and Alan ever a-fucking-gain

I was fearsomely buzzed on caffeine and willing to do another movie. But Alan went home halfway through Mission Stardust and Dave and Rick wanted to have lives, or something. So I went home, logged the movies and sent rambling e-mails for the rest of the evening. And at some point, realized I had horribly disfigured my profile page with this rogues gallery:

63245d73-f41d-4b82-bc8c-0125d62e218aMeaning Jesus God I gotta watch more movies. Stat.

Crapfest: Hercules Against Disco Streetfighting Bees

Saturdays off from The Show are not all that uncommon, but prior notice of an upcoming dark night is, so when I found out I was at liberty Memorial Day weekend, I of course set about to bullying my fellows to gathering for a Crapfest. To my surprise, this worked. Saturdays are always easier to gather for these things.

I arrived a bit late – I was still recovering from some major dental work on Thursday, and running the technical end of the graduation exercise for my wife’s school that morning. While waiting for the others to arrive,  host Dave, Alan and Rick were playing some Wii golf game that had Tiger Woods in it. Knowing sports video games as I do, I realize that narrows it down to about a hundred and fifty games.

In any case, Paul finally arrived, and the tournament was cut short. I’m reasonably certain Dave was winning, as he had been playing the game obsessively for the last few weeks. While snacks, or the evening meal and so forth were being prepared, I put on what was left of my Tom Jones set.

This lead to some consternation. There is nothing to inflame the crap purist quite like injecting some quality into his evening. I laughed at them, for they did not realize that starting with a bit of quality only makes what comes worse. Like Alan Moore’s flower from the northern bank of Heaven set to bloom in the fields of Hell, it only makes the suffering worse.

Or, you can look at it this way: I like making Paul happy, and as this disc had Tom Jones jamming with Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, he was very happy.

However, jealous forces – and in these tales, there are always jealous forces – were at work, and Dave, finally not able to stand the quality anymore, cut off Aretha in mid-scat and started the first movie of the evening, Mr. Hercules Against Karate.

It is damnably hard to find information on this 1973 wreck. We know it was directed by Antonio Margheriti, which means I got to say things like, “Wow, it’s hard to believe this was by the same guy who did Yor, Hunter from the Future!” What we have here is a couple of Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer clones, who are working on an oil derrick in Australia. The Bud Spencer clone is not and never will be called “Mr. Hercules’ – in fact his name is Percival – but he is outlandishly strong, and wrecks everything he touches, leading to both he and Not Terrence Hill – “Danny” – getting fired, but eventually hired by a Chinese man voiced by Paul Frees to get his ten year-old son back from his wife, who ran away to Hong Kong with a kung fu instructor named Hung Lo.

Yes, Hung Lo. The guy hiring them is named Ha Chu, which will present us with many “Gesundheit!” jokes. These are the jokes, folks, and should give you some idea of what we were subjected to for the next hour and a half.

Percival and Danny destroy things wherever they go, nonchalantly and unapologetically. They are, in fact, massive jerks, and frankly we were rooting for Karate. Unfortunately, Karate is represented by Hung Lo’s henchmen, led by (ahem) Skrew Yu, and they are not up to the task. Which brings us to an odd point: Hung Lo brings in a “Samurai” to equalize things, and he punishes failure by plucking out eyeballs. Kinda gruesome, for a comedy.

Anyway, eventually our “heroes” run out of things to break and asian extras to throw around, they’ve got the kid and the police have Hung Lo and the kid’s mom (who for some reason wears heavy geisha makeup and may have been played by David Bowie), and the movie still goes on for fifteen, twenty years, while Dave wails, “The movie was over! IT WAS OVER! WHY IS IT STILL GOING?”

Incidentally, remember what I said about quality accentuating the pain? Paul’s spirit audibly broke five minutes into Mr. Hercules Against Karate.

There was a call for something featuring actual martial arts afterward. The assembled masses were given a choice: Sonny Chiba or Disco Godfather.  They chose Disco Godfather. Given what we had just seen in Mr. Hercules, it was a pretty safe bet that a Rudy Ray Moore movie would  have at least a thousand times more, and better, martial arts. There is, in fact that very thing  just in the trailer:

The first indication of trouble here arises at the very beginning, the MPAA rating screen, which tells us that his movie is rated PG. Wait a minute… a Rudy Ray Moore movie rated PG??? He never gets to say “motherfucker” even once, which leads one to ask, Can this truly be called a Rudy Ray Moore movie?

Rudy Ray is playing Tucker Williams, a former cop who gave up the force for the glamorous life of a disco owner (and Godfather, needless to say). The crux of the matter here is PCP, especially when a promising young basketball player has a “whack attack” in the disco. It took me three-quarters of the movie to figure out the guy was Tucker’s nephew. This, even though Tucker’s old boss informs us, “There are three things that make Tucker mad. Number one is messing with his family.” He never bothers to tell us what the other two are, so we should just really watch our steps.

Social relevance has a tendency to get in the way of our story here, in that achingly 70s way. There’s a lot of time spent at an anti-PCP rally, and a young girl who’s stuck in psychosis after her whack attack. Her mother, pastor and a bunch of bible-toting parishoners crowd into her room, and will spend most of the movie praying and shaking, and generally making the poor girl feel like she’s in hell. That… doesn’t seem all that helpful, really.

Rudy Ray finally takes the fight to the local angel dust factory, leading to the best scene, where a guy jogging by sees Rudy Ray confronted by a bunch of thugs. ‘They’re runnin’ an angel dust factory here!” says Rudy Ray. “Well, then, let’s kick their asses!” says the man, who proceeds to do so. Luckily that was Howard Jackson, Rudy Ray”s martial arts instructor! What a coincidence! (which seems to happen in every Rudy Ray movie)

Rudy goes ahead of his backup and gets captured, and dosed with PCP, oh no!  (The most surprising thing about this turn of events was the discovery that all PCP users have the same hallucination!) The successful local businessman who was running the operations makes the mistake of crossing paths with the whacked-out Rudy, who kills him with his bare hands. The movie ends with the insane Rudy screaming into the camera. (oh, yeah, incidentally: spoiler alert)

Not at all what I expected. Doggonit, I never did get to ask him what I was supposed to put my weight on!

This is, I suppose, Rudy Ray’s serious movie, his message movie. Intriguingly, Rudy is actually pretty good in this venue. You can also see a whole lot of inspiration for Black Dynamite in several scenes. I think we were expecting something more along the lines of say, Dolemite or Petey Whitestraw, but no, this movie is very serious in tone. I wonder if Rudy Ray fans were similarly disappointed, which might explain why the flick got re-released as Avenging Disco Godfather.

Well, enough delays. It was Chiba time. Chiba Fever had been slowly building since the last Crapfest, when the previews for The Bodyguard wowed everybody. I brought both that movie and The Streetfighter, which won the vote thanks to its reputation.

Sonny Chiba is Terry Tsurugi, who was to continue our streak of unlikable badass protagonists and proceed to paint that streak a mile wide. To call Terry mercenary is an understatement. He saves a killer from execution in the very beginning, and when his clients can’t pay the other half of his fee (and the guy half of the pair kills himself trying to beat Tsurugi), our Streetfighter hero sells the girl half of the duo into prostitution. At this point, we decided Tsurugi was perhaps something of a jerk.

Well, the mobsters he sells the girls to (whom we are told are Yakuza, and that the Yakuza run the Triads, and they are all run by the Mafia, which I am sure was surprise to all of them) try to hire Tsurugi to kidnap a girl who just inherited Exxon, or something. He turns down the job, and eventually winds up helping to protect the heiress, because he “hates punks worse than anything!”

Yeah, this movie has the devastating X-ray punch, as seen later in Story of Ricky. Tsurugi does indeed fight dirty as hell, culminating in an episode where the heiress gets kidnapped, and unfortunately finds herself in the care of the single black man in the Yakuza/Triad/Mafia, who is the Vice President in Charge of Rape (“That’s racist!” Rick helpfully informed us.) Tsurugi swings in through the window, and rips off the guy’s member with his bare hands, because if there’s anything he hates worse than punks, it’s a punk’s junk.

There was more than enough carnage on hand (on hand! get it!) to satisfy all, and many were the “Whoas!” and “AAAAAAA!”s uttered in the course of the movie. Stuff like this is why it was such a gas seeing Chiba do comedy in Kill Bill Part 1.

Paul now exercised his Wuss Clause and left. Which is just as well, because he didn’t get to see my charity bite me on the ass. You see, in the e-mail roundabouts preceding the Crapfest, Rick, after enduring the 93rd e-mail beatdown of his crusade to get us to show The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, e-sobbed that his life would be complete if he only had a copy of The Savage Bees.

Flashback: This goes back a few years, when Rick was exclaiming about a movie where bees were covering a volkswagen and it was rolled into the Astrodome, where the cooling system was turned way down and the bees were frozen. This might have happened while we were watching the godforsaken director’s cut of The Swarm. Anyway, like a lot of movies seen in our youth, it was misremembered. That wasn’t the Astrodome, it was the Superdome, and it wasn’t The Swarm, it was The Savage Bees, a made for TV movie.

I had a copy of it. I made Rick a copy of it, so his life would be complete. And after every movie, he would hold up the DVD and say, “Bees! I have a movie with thousands of bees!” until Dave shoved me bodily aside and finally put the DVD in. That will teach me to be charitable.

The horrifying African killer bees (“That’s racist!” Rick helpfully explained) sneak in on a Brazilian Banana Boat (“It’s a bad Brazilian Banana Boat, with bees!” “Balderdash!”) and keep swarming closer and closer to New Orleans during Mardi Gras. I was severely disappointed that no one ever said “We can’t shut down the Mardi Gras!” Now there were some pretty good bee stunts, I will admit. Somehow our heroes get the entire swarm to light on that VW and slowly drive it through New Orleans (“We’re lucky this is Ash Wednesday! It’s the quietest New Orleans will ever get!”) into the Superdome, which is chilled down to 45 degrees, the exact temperature that puts bees to sleep. And that’s the end. What?

Alan decided the general direction given to any scene was “Milk it! Millllllllllllllk it!“, and oh yes, there were more extended takes here than during a Bergman film. Ben Johnson and Michael Parks are our heroes, with Horst Bucholz providing the requisite doomed bee scientist. Good cast, at least. A fairly decent cooldown movie.

And then we sort of disbanded before anything else terrible could be inflicted on us. I’m older and slower, and stood around talking with Dave for a few moments, then, when we opened the door, found Rick there, waiting, arms outstretched, just outside the door. “Willllllllllllllllllliams!!!

Yeah, I was parked behind him. That moment made it all worthwhile.

The First Crap of Spring

So there were a bunch of us who had Good Friday off, for a variety of reasons. Enough of us – back in February, we did it with only four people, and frankly, it has been done with three. At any rate, it was time for an impromptu Crapfest.

We were pretty determined to take it easy, and the first hour – Rick and I arrived at Casa Dave at 3:00 – was spent on the patio, watching Dave grill and smoke these Flintstone-style brontosaurus ribs he had hand-rubbed the day before. Alan made a surprise appearance, having been given the day off at the last minute, and when Paul arrived – his first Crapfest in a while – we began.

How Dave’s ribs tasted: artist’s representation

Well, first, we had some of those ribs. Let me say I am not a great fan of pork ribs, but Dave’s alchemy had wrought magical changes in this meat. The very last scene in Lynch’s Eraserhead, where Henry embraces the Girl in the Radiator in heaven, all white light and one sustained, heavenly note? That was the first bite into these ribs. And every subsequent bite thereafter.

Then we began.

At one of those Crapfests, in the faraway land of 2011, while we were watching 70s variety TV and watching Dave scream with horror, Paul had brought up the subject of Alice Cooper: The Nightmare, an ABC special done in the In Concert time slot. Basically, it’s Alice’s then-current album, Welcome to My Nightmare, done in long video form… in 1975. Well, I dug up a copy – it had ever only been released on VHS – and here is Vincent Price making damned sure the producers got their money’s worth:

(Or rather we would if the YouTube version of Scrooge hadn’t scoured any excerpt from that special off the Innernets. Somebody give me lots of money so I can start hosting videos on my site.)

Shorn of commercials, The Nightmare is only an hour long, and frankly, even then, it comes close to wearing out its welcome (and mind you, this is an Alice Cooper fan talking here). But just when it reaches that point, it ends, so the worst thing that can be said about it is I have been walking around with Alice Cooper music stuck in my head ever since. Not such a bad thing. (again – Alice Cooper fan)

But then, as Dave arose to change discs after the end credits rolled, something happened… somebody had put something on the disc after Alice Cooper. Something horrible. Who could have done such a thing?


Yes, it was the full infomercial for Harvey Sid Fisher’s Astrology Songs, shot with two cameras, a simple video switcher and probably two hours in a studio with three or maybe four interpretive dancers – we kept losing track. Mr. Fisher is still around, and still selling music – give him a shot.

You know, I was expecting the “stop” button to be hit after a couple of minutes, the joke told. But no, you guys surprised me: you stuck it out through the entire zodiac. Respect.

I also suspect that the desire to go through the whole thing was fueled by Dave’s heavy sighs and eye-rollings. And also when his wife, Ann got home and Dave was heard telling her, “No, we are not running it back so you can hear your sign!”

After that… well, the whole thing was so impromptu, we hadn’t really established a battle order. I had brought a stack of DVDs, and Dave had brutally gone through it and arranged them in order of *harrumph* quality (and totally dissed my copy of Wicked World, autographed by Barry “Things” Gillis!). When it was commanded we watch something with “lots of kicking”, it was time for The Magic Blade. Here, have a window-boxed, spoileriffic trailer:

Ti Lung plays Fu Hung-hsieh, a complete badass who may not have been based on The Man With No Name, but he is certainly wearing the only poncho in the World of Martial Arts. He also carries a remarkable custom sword that is a combination of a machete and a tonfa. If that isn’t enough for you, he’s come back to fight Lo Lieh’s character, Yen Nan-fei, a year after their first duel; the rematch gets postponed when somebody tries to kill Yen repeatedly, and Fu as well. As ever, somebody is trying to take over The World of Martial Arts, and is eliminating all competitors in his quest to obtain the legendary Peacock Dart, a sort of martial arts neutron bomb. And he’s doing it with a small army of colorful henchmen, with names like The Wood Devils and Devil Granny.

If, like me, your major exposure to old school Shaw Brothers kung fu flicks had been Chang Cheh’s blood-and-thunder exercises with the Venoms, the films of director Chor Yuen are a bracing breath of fresh air. Largely doing film adaptations of the pulpy wuxia novels by Ku Long, these are like detective novels infused with distilled Chinese martial arts flicks, and they are amazing. I started really getting into Hong Kong martial arts flicks with Chang’s Kid With the Golden Arm, when I realized that, for all intents and purposes, I was watching a comic book made flesh, all superhero battles and internecine conflict; Chor Yuen and Ku Long’s universe embraces that fully, right down to the colorful noms de guerre of the bad guys. Black Pearl, Iron Flute, The 5 Poison Kid, Serpent King… and in my limited time, I can’t find the exact reference, but I recall a villain translated as something like Venomous Eddie, the Stun-Dude.

I am thankful Image Entertainment put out a nice DVD of this using the Celestial Pictures restored print, but with the added option for the English dub. Those old, familiar voices I’ve heard for years. Best of all, if you want to severely injure your friends, use the “But still” drinking game. One of the phrases used by English dubs to fill up lip movement is “But still”, and The Magic Blade has a metric ton of them. Guaranteed alcohol poisoning by the end of the flick.

We had our second wind now, and while Rick warmed up the delicious pulled pork he had brought (which would be enriched by a variety of fruit salsas – amazing stuff) we filled the time with movie trailers from the 42nd Street Forever: Alamo Drafthouse Edition, wherein I discovered that Dave had never seen Message From Space, which I found astounding in someone who had been the Ultimate Star Wars Nerd until the prequels broke him of that behavior – and that Sonny Chiba’s The Bodyguard looks incredible:

Then, our bellies full and far too torpid to make a run for it, Dave decided it was time for his contribution. Keep in mind, now, that Dave is a vengeful monster, probably still smarting over Astrology Songs. Hell, probably still smarting over Things and Darktown Strutters. Therefore, he began the 1997 unsuccessful TV pilot for The Justice League of America. Never shown in America, it was instead shipped over to Europe, because we hate Europe.

(First, HD trailer, my ass, second of all… isn’t that the theme from the infinitely superior animated series?)

If you were smart enough to not click on that, here’s an overview, of sorts. Our licensed DC heroes are The Atom, Flash, Green Lantern, Fire, and Ice – all turned into young twenty-somethings, so it’s a sort of proto-Smallville, though I didn’t hate that series as much as I hate this idea. You see, they’re almost all sharing a house, and there are, therefore, pseudo-Big Brother interludes where the heroes, in their civvies, talk humorously about being superheroes.

Besides the obvious – who are these guys, who supposedly guard their secret identities jealously, making these interview tapes for… well, there’s a plethora of things wrong. The Flash here is Barry Allen, supposedly dead for twelve years in continuity, and chronically unemployed. We never see his origin because that took place on his freaking job as a police forensic scientist. And well, also because they stole his origin for Ice’s origin. A guy trying to get a date with Fire’s secret identity recognizes her as the heroine on TV largely because all she does is smear some makeup under her eyes. Dave, when he wasn’t giggling like the Riddler at our pain, was complaining about the off-model costumes or moaning that Green Lantern was being a dick. That, at least was to expected, because it was Guy Gardner.

Well, not all of us were too stuffed to run away, because Paul and Alan, who are always our designated wusses, slinked out during this. If you are not a Designated Wuss, you can check out the whole heavy-sigh-inducing thing on YouTube. I do not recommend it.

So we remaining three needed a bit of fresh air afterwards, and I convinced Dave to put on Point Blank, because Lee Marvin being a badass can heal many wounds.

I’ll be frank: since the last time I’d seen Point Blank,I’d read the source novel, The Hunter, by Richard Stark aka Donald E. Westlake, and I’d conflated the two; the movie is quite definitely drawn from the book, but the novel is leaner, meaner, more tense. John Boorman directed the movie, and there’s quite a bit of Boorman angst and psychedelic melancholy at play here, way more than I remembered. But it’s a good flick, a good way to decompress, and man, Lee Marvin really does want his money, which became our riff for what was left of the evening. “That guy must really want his money.”

It was late, we started packing up, and Dave found a showing of Mortal Kombat on cable. Rick said goodnight, but I remained through the end. Hey, it was Mortal Kombat, and if you can’t understand that, then I’m afraid you can’t understand Crapfest, either.