Awkward Press

Independent publishers of imaginative fiction and daily meditations on the ridiculousness of the universe.
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Archive for ‘Movies’

Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig Are Not Very Good at Their Jobs

July 28, 2011 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Movies, Opinions

I do not have any interest in being famous. I’d like to be respected. That would be nice. I’d like to make works that people enjoy. I’d like to be wealthy enough to not have to think about how that box of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream bars is going to affect my grocery budget. All of those things would be great. But famous? For the birds, in my opinion. The worst part would be having people bother you all the time. Leave me alone, dammit! I’m just trying to get my legs waxed in peace like a normal fellow!

That’s why I would not want to be an actor. Because the only way to succeed as an actor is to be famous. I mean, I guess you can be that guy who’s in those things that no one has ever heard of. But I would doubt there are a ton of actors striving to be that guy. If you’re an actor, the winning trajectory is to make the most of a small role so you can get better roles in bigger movies where you will be seen by more people and make more money.

Not that it’s all about making more money – I would imagine most actors sincerely enjoy pretending to be other people. But what I’m saying is it isn’t a job that can exist in a vacuum. Sure, you can pretend to be other people all by yourself in your bedroom, but I’m not sure how to turn that into a viable career path. A successful actor doesn’t just love pretending to be other people, he loves pretending to be other people in front of other people.

Unfortunately, along with all that pretending to be other people and making lots of money comes a few job requirements. One of those requirements is publicizing the movies you just got paid a shit ton of money to be in. Sometimes this promotional period can last for weeks. You might have to do one interview after another for a whole day. A whole day! Can you imagine? Like, 20 interviews in a single day, talking about the same thing. You might have to say the same thing 20 times! You will be fed and coddled and you will sit in a comfortable chair and you will almost certainly be treated in a very deferential manner by everyone who talks to you. But you might have to say one thing 20 times in a row! (more…)

The New Muppet Movie Is Unquestionably the Best Movie

May 24, 2011 By: Category: Movies

Man! Jason Segal, are you the luckiest man in America? Methinks! Not that you have no talent … you do! You wrote a frigging Muppet movie! But here is what you did to get that job: you talked a lot about how much you liked the Muppets, and how much you would like to write a movie for the Muppets. And then someone said, “that sounds like a good idea! Go do that.” And you did, and now it’s almost here, and it looks freaking awesome. Nicely played, Segal. If any studio executives are reading this post, please note that I really like Mummenschanz and would like to write a Mummenschanz musical. Just throwing it out there …

The Top Ten Horror Movies of 2010 that You Probably Didn’t See

January 10, 2011 By: Category: Best of 2010, Movies

It’s that time of year again, folks. What would our end-of-the-year wrap-up be without a lil’ Top Ten Horror Movies of 2010 That You Probably Didn’t See?

Truth be told –- this year, it was pretty slim pickings for the genre. Rib-bone thin. The multiplexes presented a dearth of horror flicks worth leaving the house for. Venturing beyond the genre offered a few deadly diamonds-in-the-rough for those brave enough to go hunting for them – but they’re out there, believe you me, lurking within some of the furthermost sections of the video store. I can feel myself already catching heat from the die-hards for a few selections on this list, but let’s be completely honest with ourselves here: Some of the most unnerving, truly frightening, utterly engrossing horror films of the year wouldn’t even be considered quote-unquote horror by traditional genre standards. I dare you to defy my selections for the best horror films 2010 had to offer…

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Buried, Splice, The Crazies, The Last Exorcism, The Children, Altitude, Survival of the Dead, Rec 2, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The Eclipse, and The Horseman.

10. FROZEN
Written and directed by Adam Green.
Watch the trailer here.

Full confession: I am not a fan of Adam Green’s Hatchet films. At all. Reductive rather than resourceful, his lauded slasher re-hashes smack of microwaved leftovers from a Vorhees family Thanksgiving dinner circa Friday the 13th Pt. V. So – imagine what a pleasant surprise it was to encounter FROZEN. Coming in with the lowest of expectations, I was happy to discover a film that prefers patience over genre-pandering. Taking a very simple concept, a trio of friends stranded on a ski lift, Green goes for broke and milks every conceivable polar-moment for their blistering potential. Frostbite has never felt more palpable onscreen… or this much fun. The camera lingers on skin-in-distress to such an intense (zero) degree(s), it’s impossible not to feel one’s own flesh crackle while viewing it. Kudos to Green for favoring the simplicity of a humble story and telling it well, taking the physical limitations of his conceit and turning them into narrative strengths – which only makes the fact that FROZEN was book-ended between Hatchets, parts one and two, all the more disheartening. Back to the slasher re-treads, I guess… (more…)

Help Awkward Press Finish Our Movie Project

October 14, 2010 By: Category: Awkwardness, Movies

Actual still from actual film that may actually exist if you donate to support the cause!

If you’ve been following the Awkward Press film and book project at all, you know we already have four amazing adaptations of the stories in Awkward Two, all of which can be viewed now at films.awkwardpress.com. As you can see from the films we’ve already done, we’re not joking around. These are some kick-ass movies by some talented-ass filmmakers.

Well, there is one more talented-ass filmmaker waiting in the wings, but we need your support to make sure his film sees the light of day. In order to do that, we need to raise $750. The film is “Zen & the Art of House Painting,” based on the hilarious and touching story by Wayne Scheer. I have not seen the finished product yet (it doesn’t exist. For more information, see: the entire post surrounding this parenthetical remark) but the script is great and the actors are phenomenal and the director (Joel Maguen) and DP (Kevin Krupitzer) are talented, talented, talented, and I think this is going to be one fantastic movie when it’s finished.

To collect your donations, we’ve put up a page on Kickstarter.com. You can visit it right here. There are incentives for donating! These incentives are:

  • $5-$9: Special thanks in the credits of Zen And The Art of House Painting
  • $10-$24: Above plus free electronic download of Awkward Two book release, including short film adaptations.
  • $25-$49: Above plus hard copy of Awkward Two book + DVD of films
  • $50-$99: Above plus hard copy of Awkward One book
  • $100 +: Above plus Executive Producer credit on “Zen And The Art of House Painting”

Once the final film is finished, we’re going to press a DVD featuring all the films, to be sent out to anyone who orders the book through our site and to anyone who makes a donation of $25 or more.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “You guys are a for-profit company! Why do you need my money?” Here’s the thing: we are absolutely for-profit. But we are also entirely self-financed, and we have put a lot of money into this project so far. More then we can ever possibly make back. Basically, we’re trying not to lose our shirts on this deal, and your donation could really help make sure that happens.

I mean, if you want my baby daughter to live in a box, that’s cool … the world is a harsh and cruel place, a lesson she’ll have to learn at some point in her life. No pressure. But if you can give a few bucks, we’d really appreciate it.

Awkward Film #4: The Vanishing Point

October 05, 2010 By: Category: Awkwardness, The Awkward Film Project, Videos

The days continue to churn into weeks and the Awkward Two film project just keeps getting better and better. Today’s entry is The Vanishing Point, directed by our good friend Eric Kissack and executive produced by my lovely wife Sarah. The film is based on my story from Awkward Two. I wrote the screenplay, too, so my fat fingerprints are all over this one. I know I’m biased, but I think the film is great and I’m pretty certain we’re going to take home the Oscar. Enjoy! And after you’re done enjoying, please buy a copy of Awkward Two so you can read the story the film was based on!

The Vanishing Point from Awkward Press on Vimeo.

Say There, Black Swan

August 18, 2010 By: Category: Movies

Hey Black Swan! You look good! And has Darren Aronofsky ever made a bad movie? I don’t think he has. But are you aware that you’re Showgirls? Please fix. Thx!

Shooting The Vanishing Point

June 22, 2010 By: Category: The Awkward Film Project

The Awkward Press film project got underway this past Saturday with the shoot of The Vanishing Point, based on my story of the same name from the upcoming Awkward Two anthology. It’s fitting that this story was the first to be shot, as it was really the catalyst for the entire project. A few months ago, my friend Eric Kissack told me he was looking for a project to direct while he was between editing gigs. “What a coincidence!” I said, “I happen to have written a story that I believe would make an excellent film!” Because that is how I roll.

Remarkably, Eric dug the story. I went home and busted out a screenplay in a few hours. This is not as impressive as it may seem – the screenplay was only 7 pages long. It is a very short story.

We sent the script back and forth for a few weeks until we finally came up with something we thought would work. I kept waiting for the moment when Eric said, “Hey, I’ve changed my mind, this is a terrible story,” but that never happened. Before too long, he’d signed on two excellent producers (my wife, Sarah, and Eric’s friend Lisa) and the ball was rolling. (more…)

The Monstrosity Exhibition: Lost Terrors of VHS Sleeve Cover Art

April 19, 2010 By: Category: Horror Films You'll Never See, Movie Reviews, Movies

The Monstrosity Exhibition: Lost Terrors of VHS Sleeve Cover Art
written by Clay McLeod Chapman

Black Christmas

Video World was tucked off into a topiary-barricaded alcove of the Stony Point Shopping Centre, a swift five-minute Schwinn sojourn from my front door.

No bigger than a boutique, this early-80′s video store was infinitesimal in comparison to the cancerous sprawl of the Blockbuster Video chain that had begun to malignantly metastasize its way through America’s suburban strip malls, eventually putting all the mom-and-pop operations like Video World out of business. I was fortunate enough to push through my preadolescence before the big blue-and-yellow Blockbuster awnings started cropping up all across my hometown. Walking into Video World was like immersing myself in a Betamax Shangri-La. Every last inch of wall space, from floor-to-ceiling, was lined entirely in video cassettes. At 8 years old, I had officially found my home-away-from home. Each 4 by 7-and-a-half inch VHS cassette contained a different story, just waiting to be told – and I made it my mission to watch them all. Or as many as my allowance would allow.

Hidden at the rear of the store, buried behind comedy, family, drama (but before you reached the “private room” of adult films at the very, very back) – there remained a single row of videos off-limits to children. Little boys and girls were not allowed to rent the videos from back here at the shadowy edge of the forest.

The horror section.

A kid like me couldn’t help but feel a shift in the atmosphere upon entering the aisle, suddenly surrounded by so many R-rated movies. The carpet seemed to darken, stained somehow. Even the air had a miasma of decrepit breath to it, thicker than the air in the childrens section. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be here, which only made me want to explore even more – go deeper, take just another couple steps in, see if I could make my way past the A’s, past the B’s, even the C’s, until I was utterly immersed in the aisle, enveloped in images of terror from all around.

This – this was where fear resided.

Every kind of fear you could think of, or not think of, was right here – captured on magnetic tape and sealed inside its own cardboard box – little gift-wrapped packages presented in a tableau of carnage.

Deadly Spawn. Faces of Death. Def-Con 4. Xtro. The Stepfather. The Driller Killer. The Stuff. Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. I Spit On Your Grave. The Dead Pit. Black Roses. Headless Eyes. Magic. Black Christmas. He Knows You’re Alone. Class of Nuke ‘Em High. Cellar Dweller. Mother’s Day. The Prowler.

So go ahead, kid – I dare you. Slip a video off the shelf.

Pick any horror film and take the cassette into your hand. Rub your finger over the cardboard cover with its softened edges. Feel how fuzzy and worn the corners are?

Now look at the cover.

(more…)

Awkward Movie Review: Avatar

December 21, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Movie Reviews, Movies

avatarUntil last week, I had absolutely no interest in Avatar. I’m not a James Cameron hater. I still think Aliens is one of the best action-adventure movies ever made. The first two Terminator movies were cool. I even thought Titanic was just fine. It did not make a huge lifelong impression on me, but for the 12 1/2 hours I was in the theater, I remember being interested in what was happening. Spoiler alert: the boat sinks.

That being said, Avatar just did not look good to me. Three words: blue cat people. I’m all for computer animation if it involves adorable Pixar characters, but I have yet to see anyone convincingly combine CGI characters and people characters. I mean, I guess that’s why people were so pumped about this in the first place, because Cameron was assumed to be the first person who was able to do it properly. But then the previews came out, and the blue cat people looked like bad video game animation. So I wrote it off as a movie I would not be attending. Until the rave reviews started coming in, and I decided that I didn’t want to be left out of the conversation at the water cooler. Even though I am the only one in my office right now and the only person who would try to talk to me about Avatar at the water cooler was me. Also, someone else bought tickets for me. (more…)

Can Where the Wild Things Are Possibly Be As Good As Its Trailers?

August 07, 2009 By: Category: Movies

First of all: No fair. No fair, Spike Jones. It’s not supposed to be cool to expand 10 page picture books into movies. The Grinch, anyone? The Polar Express? I never saw The Polar Express. I rest my case.

But you went ahead and made the movie that wasn’t cool to make, because you are Spike Jones, a self-generating credibility machines. And then you made the previews for that movie so good that I would pay to watch them all on their own. They are not previews, they are tear extractors.

Here’s the thing: I saw you that day in front of Square One cafe across from the Scientology center. You rode up on a Vespa and you had a long white scarf around your neck. A riding scarf. And a mustache. You had the gayest 70s porno mustache that has ever been worn outside of 70s gay porn. And you met up with two guys who were just totally normal guys. And you were waiting for someone who kept calling and saying she would be there in five minutes. You stood there the entire time that we were eating, making very normal conversation with your two normal friends, and you never lost your cool, even though your friend was making you all wait. That was pretty awesome.

I really hope you’re not a Scientologist.