Blog

The Expendables: The Movie That Cannot Be Spoofed

There is really no sacred genre of film that cannot be spoofed in Hollywood.  Every type of film has been spoofed, mostly by the Zucker Brothers or the Wayans Brothers or some other pair of siblings. Even Holocaust movies sort of parody themselves by the sheer volume of how many are made.   Perhaps Sylvester Stallone has harbored ill feelings towards Hot Shots Part Deux for the last 20 years when it spoofed, among others, Rambo III.  Stallone’s answer was to revive action films, not with CGI, but with loud explosions, exploding heads and uncomfortably homoerotic close ups of bulging male biceps, when he wrote, directed and starred in The Expendables, a movie so mediocre in some parts and so patently absurd in most that is impossible to spoof.  That is because it works as a spoof by itself, albeit unintentionally. 

This blog will ruin and spoil “the plot” of the movei so stop reading here if you care.  However, if you are older than 9 or have seen at least 2 action movies in your life then the simplicity of the movie will spoil the plot for you as you watch it and predict its “developments” 20-30 minutes ahead of time and you should read on.

The plot involves a pack of awesome, but somewhat aged bro-dudes, led by Sylvester Stallone, who in his 60s is built like Iggy Pop on dozens of steroids.  When Stallone runs, which is not shown for very long, lest he break a hip on camera, it literally looks like an old man racing for the door of his favorite diner at 4:59 pm in hopes of not missing the early-bird dinner special.

I GOTTA GET TO THE $9.99 BUFFET BEFORE 5 PM! AAAAAGGGGHHHHH

The violence of the movie gets started in the very first scene where our band of merry steroid abusers arrives on a ship to rescue some kidnapped workers from some Somalian pirates.  Our heroes give fair warning to the pirates, but because they are crazy and evil they do not heed the warnings so they end up getting exploded by gunfire, the defining blow coming from some gun that Dolph Lundgren (Drago from Rocky IV) uses to literally blow apart the top half of the lead pirate’s body.  Probably the most violent thing I have ever seen in a movie.

This is a good time to crown Dolph Lundgren the worst actor I have ever seen. Porn included.  I wondered, how can a guy who is handsome, extremely well-built, has a degree in chemical engineering (true) not get more acting work.  Oh right, because he is beyond terrible at acting.  He and Gerard Butler belong to a small, but well known cadre of actors who are not American, but who cannot do a passable American accent so their dialogue comes out sounding like they are mentally disabled – what accent is that, “stroke?”  Dolph does not disappoint in the movie, basically delivering the same character and performance he made so forgettable in Universal Soldier.   But it is ironic that a guy who quit MIT after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship to go there (true) pursued bad acting.  I mean, only an idiot would do that, but by definition he cannot be an idiot.

God has given Dolph Lundgren looks, a physique, a brilliant mind. The only thing he did not give him was acting talent. So what did Dolph decide to do with his life?

The second worst actor is the guy who plays the fictional (I think) country’s military leader.  I do not know his name, but he is on Dexter, which, if they traded Michael C. Hall for Dolph Lundgren in Season 1 of Dexter, they would have assembled the Miami Heat of bad acting.

Dexter's Season 1 cast is like the Cleveland Cavaliers of 2007. Michael C. Hall is LeBron and this guys is Anderson Verejao. And like the 2010 Cavs, this guys showed how much worse he can be without his LeBron in The Expendables.

There are some introspective and thoughtful moments in the movie, mostly with Mickey Rourke, as the “I got out of the team, but I am still left with emotional scars and cliche thoughts,which will be painfully obvious because there will be mandolin music playing in the background when I speak” guy.

The main villain of the movie is played by Eric Roberts.  Now he he would be the obvious choice for many filmmakers as a bad guy in spoof films, but Stallone locked him up for this one so he would not be available for The Depenzables.

There is a damsel-in-distress and a scene that I found poignant was when Stone Cold Steve Austin (trained at the Actor’s Studio I believe) playing Eric Roberts’ henchman, punches said damsel in the face.  It is nice to see that after Stone Cold was suspended from the WWE several years ago for some time for punching his wife, that Hollywood has less exacting standards for female treatment than Vince McMahon.  It did give a level of reality knowing that Stone Cold had done it in real life.  Perhaps Chris Brown can be in the sequel.  Or they could get OJ out of prison to play Jack The Ripper.  That wouldn’t be creepy.  

But this movie already had one black guy: Terry Crews, who has the muscle size of 4 athletic black guys so I guess it counts as diversity.  Stallone, in another nuanced, homoerotic gesture gives Terry Crews the biggest, baddest, black firearm that vanquishes dozens of enemies at a time, but not so much that you can’t see gallons of blood pouring forth as he does it.  In one scene Crews (known for being in every other movie right now a la Kristen Wiig and for his bizarre Old Spice commercials) actually throws a bomb at a helicopter.  Like a small missile.  He throws it.  This is exactly what they did in Hot Shots Part Deux, except it was bullets. Watch the link below – I am not kidding how prescient Hot Shots Part Deux is for The Expendables.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a0L3Z1A-RM

But the real stars of this film are the dialogue and the violence.  The dialogue is basically just a collection of David Caruso tag-lines from CSI: Miami, but without The Who playing at the end of each one.  Just beefy dudes smirking at each other, amazed at their collective sense of humor.

But the violence is truly remarkable.  The action took place on a fictional small island (or perhaps real, who knows) and by my count The Expendables managed to murder 1.8x the population of the entire island, all without suffering a single casualty, except for good taste.  They would enter a room, which appeared to have 9 bad guys and next thing you know, 14 throats have been slit, 19 heads have been blown up by high powered guns and 16 necks broken.  It just didn’t seem to add up.  But don’t tell that to the ravenous actions fans that surrounded me in the theater.  No one-liner was too pithy or punny to not get a cheer or a clap.  No death was too absurd not to earn an “oooohhhhh sh*t!”  The violence in this film was so absurd that I think if a theater sees a parent with a child under 13 going into to see it they should call child services.  Making this movie simply R, instead of banning it, would be like making a film with gang bang, full penetration sex scenes R.  I am not some guy who decries America’s puritanical values (fu*k those people and their Eat Pray Love viewing this weekend).  But the violence in this movie would be harmful to a young mind.  Just look what it has done to Sylvester Stallone, and he supposedly has an adult brain.

If you are not crying or laughing at this movie, but instead are cheering or impressed I consider you an accomplice to this crime against humanity.

Which brings me to the DaVinci of this Sistine Crapel: Sylvester Stallone.  Something has gone Mel Gibson wrong in this dude’s mind.  He is in his sixties, still juicing for movie roles and is making his movies exceedingly violent.  Say what you will about religious fanaticism and Mel Gibson, but even after he became fanatical he made Braveheart, Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto, three very violent but very excellent films.  Stallone proves that violence without faith can make for some very sad movie-going experiences.

It is hard to say that Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal are lucky, but in this case they are.  Because they are the only two 1980s action icons not featured in this film (Jeff Speakman, A/K/A “The Perfect Weapon” not an icon, sadly).  See this movie if you must, but be prepared to either vomit or laugh uncontrollably. 

OK, now I have to get back to my Play Station 3 and rape some prostitutes and kill some people in Red Dead Redemption.

Blog

A Recap Of The Rock n Roll Hall Of…

Yesterday I went to the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame & Museum in Cleveland.  If you have not gone I strongly recommend it.  Perhaps if your favorite team is playing the Cavaliers, Indians or Browns one day/weekend build a trip around that, but the museum was awesome.  It is also geared as an all day experience (I spent about 5 hours there, which is a record for me at a non-school trip museum visit).  It was also relatively empty, which made for a pleasant visit (but it was weird watching all of the various movies and exhibits in empty theaters, except for the 45 minute recap montage of all the inductees – that was too amazing to feel weird in solitude).

And there is a special Bruce Springsteen exhibit on the top floor featuring tons of memorabilia.  Most interesting, at least from my perspective, was seeing items from the late 60s when he was promoting shows with handmade signs  saying “Come see The Bruce Springsteen Band – $3.”  With today’s technology, any as-hole (this as-hole included) can make impressive looking promo materials, but it must be especially gratifying for Springsteen to be able to see exactly how far he has come in every way.

I also had a black light with me to scan the exhibit for any body fluids of my housemates from Williams College.  Nothing was found, but the exhibit is supposed to be there through 2010.  Now I will give you a detailed recap of my favorite things in the museum, in case you never make it to Cleveland.

Best Hall of Fame Classes (in my opinion)

1) Gold Medal – 1989 – Rolling Stones, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, Phil Spector (for producer and street cred).  This must have been an absolutely incredible induction ceremony.

2) Silver Medal – 1988 – The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Bob Dylan, Les Paul.  Many would claim that this has to be number one, but I like the Stones way more than the Beatles, The Temptations win the Motown battle with The Supremes.  I do like the Beach Boys a lot, but they are cancelled out by Dylan’s mumbling. I did learn a lot about Les Paul at the Museum – they have a great exhibit dedicated to his evolution towards the electric guitar.  It was just great to learn about the guy who invented my Guitar Hero guitar.

3) Bronze Medal – 2001 – Michael Jackson, Queen, Aerosmith, Paul Simon.  MJ is like the LeBron James of the Hall of Fame classes – he could not have the supporting casts of the earlier classes (though Queen and Aerosmith are definitely better than the musical equivalents of Mo Williams and Anderson Verajao), but he alone makes this one of the greats.

4) To Be Determined – 2012.  This is when Guns N Roses is eligible and if the Hall of Fame can get them to reunite then all bets are off. (I was happy to see Welcome to the Jungle as one of the 500 songs that defined Rock according to the Hall of Fame).

5) Honorable Mention – 1999 – Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen.  No need to argue the better 70s/80s/90s singer-song writer when they are both on the bill.

Most Awkward Hall Of Fame Moments

1) 1992 induction of Ike and Tina Turner.  Nothing else needs to be said.

2) 2004 Induction of George Harrison as a solo artist.  Not sure he merited it, but it was the Hall of Fame’s way of telling Ringo Starr, “We really think you are the useless member of the Beatles, which is why the rest of them have been inducted twice.”

3) There is an exhibit of a photographer who has captured major musical moments at Madison Square Garden.  The last two photos in the exhibit are from a 2008 Holiday Concert.  The top photo is of Rihanna.  The bottom photo is of Chris Brown.  Did the Hall of Fame not hear about them or did they figure leave it – perhaps we’ll induct them together in 20 years.

4) 1998 Induction of the Mamas and the Papas.  Did nobody think it weird when one of the inductees was grinding his daughter on the dance floor?

Other than personal goals in comedy and seeing a Utah Jazz title, seeing a reunited GNR in concert would top my list of things I want to see

5) 1997 Induction of the Bee Gees.  Have you ever looked at the 4 Gibb brothers?  Clearly Mom fu-ked someone else when she had the ugly twins.  Andy, who died young, looked like a more handsome Heath Ledger and Barry Gibb looked like him.  The twins looked like anorexic Paul Giamattis.  But I will cut them slack since one of them passed on and their music was excellent.

Members That I think Are Overrated

1) Elvis Costello – don’t get him, don’t care for him

2) The Police – Every Breath You Take – great.  The rest of their songs – repetitive and annoying. 

Other Thoughts/Observations from the Hall of Fame

  • Based on sheer volume how is Phil Collins not in the Hall of Fame – he seems to meet their criteria.  Then I saw Genesis on the 2010 list of inductees.
  • Frank Zappa – has a musician ever looked more like a porn star?
  • No one has ever rocked a beard better than Marvin Gaye. Except maybe for early 90s Tom Cruise.
  • I used to not get why David Bowie got so much respect in the music world (you mean the guy from Labyrinth that slept with Mick Jagger?).  I wonder no longer – that guy’s catalogue is pretty sick.  And so diverse.  He’s like a whiter, more feminine Prince, but 10-15 years earlier.
  • Tom Petty has the deepest speaking voice and the whiniest singing voice.
  • Even though I usually roll my eyes at “spiritual” people (they generally believe enough to make themselves seem worldly, but really just hate judgment), Jim Morrison seemed pretty cool, at least the way they write him up.  Val Kilmer was a good choice to play him, but if Will Ferrell got in shape when he was younger and wore his Chazz Michael Michaels hair from Blades of Glory I think he could have pulled it off.

 See what I mean?

  • Good God a lot of rock stars died early.  How are Motley Crue and the Rolling Stones still alive given all the drug and plane crash deaths that seem to strike musicians.
  • I don’t want to meet James Hetfield of Metallica. TO me he seems like he’s 7’0″ tall and 350 lbs.  He looks like a monster bad ass on stage and it would be disappointing to stand next to him and dwarf him.
  • Steve Winwood was a member of Traffic, who got inducted in 2004.  Between his solo work, The Spencer Davis Group and Traffic this guy is like the Robert Horry of music.  Good work Steve.

Ok, that is it for the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame & Museum.  Now tonight it’s off to see LeBron in person (19 rows from the court).  And then it’s a good thing shows start up again at the Cleveland Improv tomorrow night because I think I will be out of activities to do in Cleveland.

Blog

I Am Pitching A New Reality Show For Bravo

It’s called “Chris Brown Beats Up The Women On  Bravo Television Shows”

If Bravo were a bar it would be a place where shallow women and shallow gay men could meet and discuss the lives of other shallow women and shallow men, both straight and gay.  Unfortunately it is a television channel that sometimes shows women with nice bodies and on my way from CNN to Comedy Central I am sometimes distracted – the same way an episode of The Bunny Ranch or Real Sex on HBO can sometimes derail me on my way to finding real programming.

Well I recently caught a few episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker, the genius show on Bravo that tries to match millionaires who are either ugly dudes with incredible arrogance/douchebagginess or decent looking dudes with no social skills with women in Los Angeles who, get this, are willing to date millionaires.  The matchmaker on the show claims to have a 99% success rate.  Why not 100%?  Matching rich dudes with shallow women is the second easiest job in the world after being Usain Bolt’s track coach (“run fast and try not to dance before the finish line”).  Bravo is actually releasing a companion show soon called Porn Star Matchmaker where I try to match female porn stars in their 20s with guys from New Jersey who are willing to date porn stars.

I also caught The Real Housewives of New York on Bravo.  I could not stomach a full episode, but here’s  synopsis:

  • These women do no housework. 
  • They all have children uglier than them because they married ugly rich dudes thus diluting their husband’s intelligence and drive with their shallow whoriness and diluting their looks with their husbands’ faces for radio.  What you get is a batch of mediocrity known as the bottom 50% of New York City private schools.

I admit this was only from about 30 minutes of viewing one episode, but I seriously could not watch more than that.  Perhaps I am wrong and these are real salt of the Earth people. 

My real questions is when did the bitches win?  I have had women tell me that bitches always win and nice girls finish or get taken advantage of.  Sadly, this may be true because these women hardly ever do any self reflection which might cause them to break down and realize their lives are shams.  But even if bitches do win and get their way, why are we celebrating them?  I keep seeing ads for The Bad Girls Club, which from the looks of it could literally be called cu-ts.  I know the language is a little harsh, but please correct me if I am wrong.  Rather than accepting these women as a sad part of society we are celebrating them. 

That is why I am proposing a new show for Bravo starring Chris Brown called Beat Down with Brown (other possible title is Brown Town).  The premise is simple – Chris Brown goes on dates with women from shows on Bravo (and throw in Bad Girls Club on oxygen for good measure) and then does his thing.  Does the date end in a kiss and a dance or a biting session?  Tune in to find out.   At the end of the season only one girl is left standing.  Literally.  Or in a shocking turn one of the girl/women’s fathers shows up (most of these women have to have physically or emotionally absentee fathers to be on these shows in the first place) in the season finale and beats the piss out of Chris Brown (which makes me question – does Rihanna have a brother or a father?  probably not if she’s subjecting herself to Chris Brown, who if it were my daughter or sister, would end up on the sidewalk like Carlo in the Godfather).

Hopefully Chris Brown gets word of this.  Everyone loves a comeback.

Blog

The Good, the Bad and Watchmen

Some lists for the week.

The Good

  1. American Idol – A few weeks ago when they announced the Top 36 contestants I picked my Top 5. All 5 of my picks are in the Top 13.  https://jlcauvin.com/?p=622 So I guess I am actually on my list of good.  This show is good.  I constantly hate myself for feeling this way, but it is.
  2. March Comedy Madness at Caroline’s – 2 years ago I made the Sweet 16.  Last year I made the Elite 8.  After going through a broken up engagement and gaining a sick Obama impression I have done the equivalent of comedy performance enhancing drugs to try and win the thing.  1st round this Wednesday – check the calendar for info.  Note: this could be bumped to the bad list immediately upon me getting bounced from the tournament.
  3. HBO Sunday nights.  – Eastbound and Down is an absolutely great comedy. Flight of the Conchords has been hit and miss, but the last two episodes have been amazing.  And Big Love – a show whose first two seasons I watched on demand simply because there was nothing on television  last summer – is off the charts great this season.
  4. My Best Friend’s Girl – I ordered this movie on demand, making it the first time I had paid for anything featuring Dane Cook since a 2004 performance at Caroline’s.  It started out shaky, but I really enjoyed the movie.  Perhaps it was because my expectations were lower than Paul Blart: Mall Cop ( and even given those expectations, quite possibly the worst movie ever made), but if this had been his first movie instead of his 6th or 7th his film career might have a different trajectory. 
  5. The Utah Jazz – 11 wins in a row.  My favorite thing on Earth other than my own jokes is the Utah Jazz.

 

The Bad

  1. Rihanna and Chris Brown – I have harped on them enough, but this couple – the young black version of Michael and Kay Corleone in Godfather II – should both have their careers go up in flames.
  2. The Heartland Institute – their Conference on Climate Change in NYC over the next few days is and effort to show that global warming is either hoax or greatly exaggerated.  I wish there was a way to ensure that only them and like minded skeptics/non-believers of fact would die in the event of environmental catastrophe.  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/09/science/earth/09climate.html?_r=1&ref=us
  3. 24 – The President is being held hostage.  Even for a far fetched show – this season sucks.  The only thing good related to this show will be my forthcoming spoof.

Watchmen

I saw this movie this weekend.  It was ok if you like movies. It was great if you like neon blue penis shots.

Blog

Sunday Bloody Sunday

First Rihanna, then an anti-“Gentile” heckler.

This weekend I learned of a few widespread rumors concerning Rihanna and Chris Brown.  Apparently love has a lot to do with it for the 21st century’s Ike and Tina.  Or at least daddy issues.  Rihanna is said to be taking Chris Brown back, which sends an awful message to young women in abusive relationships.  After sitting in the complaint room of the Bronx District Attorney’s Office for 3 1/2 years telling abused women that they should leave their abusive boyfriends or husbands it will be a tougher sell to to get Maria to leave Jorge if Rihanna won’t leave Chris.  Furthermore, as if trying to undo the symbolic value of Barack Obama in a one-two punch, Rihanna is also rumored to be preggers with Chris Brown’s spawn.  So I guess Rihanna is getting kicked inside and out.  I assume either Pharell or Timbaland is mixing a beat for Chris Brown’s newest single “Forgive Me” or some ridiculous song like that.  We have forgiven men peeing on women (R Kelly), men hitting women (Tommy Lee) and men swallowing women whole (Macy Gray) so I see no reason that with the right PR campaign, the right beat and the right stupid American public why Chris Brown can’t make a comeback.

Well, last night I wanted to make a few current event jokes (hoping certain Jews lost money with Madoff, Chris Brown/Rihanna jokes, talking about Obama shattering MC Hammer’s record for most money spent by a black man in one day), but I was interrupted by a heckler at the Goldhawk before I could start a joke.  I have a sort of repressed temper that used to be really bad.  Last night it almost came out, but instead this heckler simply ruined the end of what was a ridiculously great show.  Here’s a recap:

  • Jim Dodge led off the show brilliantly.  We have our 3rd big crowd in a row – woo-hoo.
  • Pat Breslin steps up and talked about his new engagement – laughs ensue, everybody happy.
  • Jess Burkle, who may be one of the quickest, sharpest comics I’ve ever seen on any level absolutely destroyed the room.
  • Mark Normand – with the toughest job of the night is equal to the challenge and killed.
  • Helen Hong goes up and this is where I start to smell trouble.  Retarded drunk guy comes in and is speaking a little loudly and trying to inject himself into Helen’s routine, but she dealt with him quickly and powered through her routine maintaining the great energy of the room while he sort of stayed quiet.  But like a bad plot of 24 he was just the opening plot line that ends around episode 15 to be usurped by an even worse plot.  Helen Hong’s set ends, enter the The Heckling Jewish Guy (HJG)
  • Jim brings me up to my Craig Ferguson credit:

HJG: Ferguson sucks

J-L: Alright – thanks man.  Any Jewish people here pissed about Madoff(about to go into a Madoff joke)?

HJG: I’m Jewish – right here. Fu-king gentiles are mad because they lost all their money with Madoff.

J-L: OK buddy, let’s be serious.  (scowling at him so that his entire party is telling him to be quiet and apologize for him – mood lost for the show which was one of our best ever)

HJG: Yes, let’s be serious.

J-L (wanting to plant the base of the mic stand through his skull and give him the worst beating a Jew has seen since Jesus): Jim, can we get some staff in here please (sitting meditating, forehead vein pulsing)?

HJG: (leaving with friends): I’m Jewish, Fu-k you gentile (these were the words I heard, perhaps in different order).

I do not deal well with hecklers, especially drunk and stupid ones – they are sort of like the Terminator – “they can’t be bargained with. they can’t be reasoned with.  they won’t stop ever, until the show is dead.”  My response is all or nothing.  Either I let it pass with no response or I really ruin the show by saying something like “SHUT YOUR FU-KING MOUT MOTHERFU-KER!”  I have found the passive route more likely to give me an aneurysm, but maintains a better show.  

I should have probably left the stage and yelled at Pat and Jim – “keep him here!” and then come back while Jim and Pat are having drinks with him and gone Goodfellas on him.  There’s always next show.