Blu-Ray Review: Animal Factory

Animal Factory_AV115Way back around in oh, 2000 or 2001, I was working in a small independent game shop in NYC when in walks Edward Furlong wearing dark sunglasses with some woman I didn’t recognize in tow. I think he popped in to get away from a few fans who recognized him on the street (this sort of celebrity sighting thing happened a lot on St. Mark’s Place) and if I’m not mistaken, I think one or two other people in the shop knew who he was within a few seconds of him popping in.

Long story short, he hung out for a few minutes and didn’t say much (and I don’t recall if he bought anything), but he eventually left, leaving his sunglasses behind. I do believe my boss ended up keeping them after a few days when they weren’t reclaimed. Anyway, that’s the shortest celebrity story I know, but I have a few more that may pop up if and when the time comes. Living in this city, one tends to stumble into the occasional interaction that’s more than the usual fan on the prowl experience. Oh yeah, we’re supposed to be doing a movie review now, right?  Let me get my review hat on. A minute, please… there we go.

Steve Buscemi’s Animal Factory is a pretty darn good prison flick based on the Eddie Bunker novel and yep, the Arrow restoration is pretty solid overall. It features Furlong, along with Willem Dafoe, Danny Trejo, an unrecognizable Mickey Rourke and a few other surprises (for example, Tom Arnold in a somewhat short cameo). Furlong plays young Ron Decker who ends up getting 10 years on a drug conviction. He ends up meeting with Earl Copen (Dafoe), a long time convict who decides to keep Decker close and under his protection for a few reasons (and not the ones you might be thinking, you dirty birds). While Ron is seemingly safe from harm, he ends up getting on the bad sides of a few other cons as well as some prison officials and you get a pretty impressive mix of drama and violence with plenty of tension as the glue holding things together.

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Goodbye, Mr. Warmth

(Thanks, paratrip!)

I don’t remember the first time I saw the late, great Don Rickles on TV, but if it was a comedic appearance, I laughed my ass off. I think it was one of his appearances on an episode of The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast from 1974, but I think it may have been a few years earlier thanks to X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes airing on what I think was WPIX’ late, great Chiller Theater. Anyway, Don was the master of perfectly timed insults, the Prince of the Putdown, The Man You Went To See When You Needed To Be Taken Down A Few Notches And Wanted To Pay For The Privilege Of Being Insulted By The Best. Period. That sort of insult comedy was a great deal bigger back when Rickles was playing the circuit, when people were less triggered and more willing to laugh at themselves thanks to a man who could peg you with zingers, moving onto the next lucky or unlucky sap who dared to sit too close to the stage. Don made it work because you knew he was a total pussycat off stage, but once he got up to perform, all bets were off and if he singled you out, you’d better be prepared for the worst with an entire room full of people laughing at you.

(Thanks, ann turkel!)

Watching him in these old clips still makes me laugh loudly and that’s the best medicine for pretty much anything that ails you. I recall working for a guy many moons ago who was a bit of a stingy sourpuss, yet he paid good money to see Don live a few times around the country. Let me tell you, his mood was so much lighter after he returned that he was quite the nicest guy on the planet for a few days. I got a random raise once after one of his trips to see Rickles perform, apparently thanks to an ugly tie I’d given him as a birthday gift and a guy and his wife seated next to him who wanted to switch seats at the last minute. So I own an indirect thanks to the funnyman for getting me more money at one point in my life. Thanks, Don, er… Mr. Rickles. I’d probably not know what to say to the man if I ran into him at Patsy’s here in NYC, but I understand that he was pretty good with fans who approached him. Off stage, he was still a big prankster with his close friends, but treated regular folk just right.

(Thanks, KUSH Comedy!)

Now, you probably don’t need to buy both seasons of CPO Sharkey on DVD if you need a Rickles fix (although you should, as it was quite a hilariously wacky show for the era. My suggestion is to grab a copy of the 2007 documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project for a nice and hilarious look at the man at work. Yes, he also did a few dramatic performances and of course, younger folks will remember him as the voice of Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies. I’ll stop here because I need some laughs, and Don would probably give me one of those looks and lay into me something fierce for trying to be too damn sentimental.


Lost in Space: Dos Equis Boots Its Classy Coot to Mars

So, yeah… this happened. Dos Equis has decided to get rid of send off its former Most Interesting Man in the World and replace him with a to be announced younger dude who’s guaranteed to be more annoying and a lot less interesting (to me at least) because that’s what happens these days when a company practices ageism just to get more hipster doofus types soused out of their skulls (or: PROFIT!). Anyway, he’s going gracefully and humorously into that cold dark trip to his certain death, but hey – what a way to go, right?

Provided the fuel and liquid sustenance (which are both many kegs of Dos Equis) hold out, wait ’til he gets to “Mars” (hey, I saw Capricorn One TOO many times, folks) and finds Regis Philbin, Bob Barker and a bunch of other formerly popular celebs of a certain age booted off their shows for guzzling Geritol already up there playing golf. Betty White isn’t up there because she’s an alien (what, you didn’t know?) as are a few other oldsters you still see pop up on the tube.

The funny thing here is I had NO idea Mexico had a space program. American companies are sending them our jobs (they’re NOT “taking” them, ladies and gents) and they’re sending our fine American acting talent to other planets. That’s just not right, folks. Ah well, all this confusion and heavy thinking is making me want a beer. Any suggestions?

If Arnold Has A Crush On You, You’d Better Run For The Hills…

(Thanks, Arnold)!

Yikes. Well, at least he’s smashing stuff with that tank he owns for a good cause, so it’s not as if he’s gone completely nuts like the time he got me in a choppa to take me somewhere and left me there when he went to go get some cigars from the nearest corner store. Which just so happened to be 147 miles from that jungle hell I had to cut my way out of with a rusty machete. Of course, Arnold acts as if he’s forgotten all about it, but he knows I had to live on assorted insects, plants and half a Little Debbie cinnamon bun (yuk!) I had in my pocket. Anyway, check out the rest of the Let’s Crush videos HERE and get a little chuckle on a fine Friday afternoon, I say…

Man, It’s COLD Outside. Arnold? Do Your Thing…

Ah, thanks man! You’re always there when I need ya, pal… Wait, what? Did you say “LIFT” and not “LIVE”? Hey! You got one of the best damn lines you’re world famous for wrong, dude. Oh, wait… I get it. You’re doing yet ANOTHER charity event. Oh great, now instead of getting a rescue and a ride home in that choppa, I get to go allll the way out to Califoirnia just to see you ham it up for a good cause:

*Sigh* I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. Arnold, you’re a total nut. But you’re kind of OK, warts and all. Now fly me home already. It may be a freezing hell in NYC, but at least we have no drought to deal with (er, yet)…

Arnold Is Still Horsing Around, But He’s Got Tanks-giving On His Plate…

Arnold_Product_2.0Hey Arnold! Next time you’re in public and doing something goofy, tell or yell to the people shooting at you with phones to TURN THE DAMN PHONE SIDEWAYS. These awful phone videos shot in tall form need to be squashed out of habit (despite the crappy way phone cameras are set up) and YOU, sir can be the vanguard for setting things straight. So, why am I even caring about this?

Well, Der Ah-nuld is doing something pretty darn cool with that tank he owns for charity and I think some of you might want to pony up ten bucks and see what happens. Me, I’m not a cigar smoker at all, but put me in a tank and I’ll be trying to drive it back to NYC with Arnold running after me and screaming like Conan falling down a flight of old dusty crypt stairs. Or perhaps he’d yell “Get to the choppa!!” to some assistants as he ran over to whatever other vehicle he had nearby to start the chase. Hmmm… I wonder who’s going to do the music for this little (and very short) movie I’m planning on should I win? Of course, I also wonder how I look in a modern orange jumpsuit or with prison stripes like some old cartoon? I’ll of course also wonder how much a good lawyer costs and so forth and so on, but if I can sell the movie rights to my unplanned escapade, I think I’ll be fine with that. They better NOT get some no-name chump to play me, that’s for sure…

HUMOR: Arnold Has His Own Tank. YOU Try Telling Him He’s A Hypocrite…

(thanks, GovSchwarzenegger!) 

Yeah, that’s your big advice from the big man today. I say you zip it and do what he says lest you want him to turn that turret around and point his big gun your way. You just got around to fixing that train hole in your wall from my earlier post, right? I thought so. And put those darn thumb tacks away, silly. Tanks don’t have tires you can pop like in some old cartoon. The only way to stop a tank from moving (other than blow it up) is to disable its treads, and for that you’ll need a sticky bomb. What, you don’t have a field manual handy there? Just clear out your sock drawer of orphans and go look under the sink for that old Composition B you stocked up on when you went to Costco last year and bought in bulk because it was 99 cents for 20 pounds and you thought it was some sort of all-purpose cleaner. Yeah, we’ll show Arnold a thing or three. Oh, you’ll want socks WITHOUT holes in the heels, as that would be a bit self-defeating (and how!)…

Iron Man 3 TV Spot 7: Getting Closer To That Heavy Metal Madness…

I haven’t followed any of the early reviews and in fact, I don’t even know if there are any out there yet. OK, I did hear about a few today, but I didn’t even bother to peek at one. Yeah, I’m THAT disinterested in some parts of pop culture because (dammit) I really like to be surprised (dammit!). That said, it would be pretty hilarious is this film was really bad when all is said and done. Hey, I’m NOT wishing that on this flick at all, folks. I was at the library today and some kids were having a rather animated conversation about that very thing for some reason and although I wanted to beat them all with a heavy book for yapping so loudly, they made me laugh as well AND get an idea for a post. So, yeah, kids are good for something after all (hee hee)… Continue reading