Awkward Press

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Archive for ‘Movies’

Today’s Discussion Topic

August 07, 2009 By: Category: Movies, Music

Better concert film: The Last Waltz, or Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour? Discuss.


PS: Awkward One is now for sale! Buy it here!

You Can Quit Trying Now. The Best Title Already Exists.

July 31, 2009 By: Category: Movies

Must ... see ... immediately ...

Must ... see ... immediately ...

Okay, guys, time to pack it in. Sorry, but the best title for anything has already been written. From the LA Times today:

The Australian genre flicks of the 1970s and ’80s receive a jam-packed documentary tribute in Mark Hartley’s “Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation.” It’s a kicky, slightly exhausting look at a bygone era of low-rent moviemaking, whose colorful trove of film clips should delight fans of cinematic esoterica, nostalgic schlock and high octane drive-in fare.

A bit of history: In 1971, relaxed Australian censorship standards ushered in a string of locally produced sex farces with such titles as “Stork,” “The Adventures of Barry McKenzie” and “Alvin Purple.”

I don’t care how good you think you are at making up titles, Alvin Purple has got you beat. From now on, I’m going to have to call everything I write (untitled). Because one just looks foolish trying to compete on that kind of level.

Fantastic Mr. Fox Trailer Is In!

July 30, 2009 By: Category: Movies, Videos

Clearly, Roald Dahl is the best. We can all agree on that. There would be no Awkward Press if it weren’t for Roald Dahl, because I would have never wanted to be a writer if I hadn’t read his books. For that matter, if it weren’t for Roald Dahl, there would be no me or you, because the world we live in did not exist before Roald Dahl. It is his matrix. We just live in it.

When I heard that Wes Anderson was making an animated version of Mr. Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, my first thought was, “that is certainly a lesser choice from the Dahl canon.” Full disclosure: Roald Dahl has been my favorite writer since I was old enough to read, but I have not read Fantastic Mr. Fox. Is that okay? I just haven’t. Maybe it’s great. It’s probably great. I should read it. Don’t judge me!

Unlike you, I have not given up hope in Wes Anderson. I have given him a long leash based on my love for Rushmore and Bottle Rocket. I hated The Privileged Brothers Go to India, but I like his shtick, for the most part. It’s whimsical! Get used to it! There is room for whimsy in life. Enjoy the whimsy. Stop being so New York all the time.

Anyway, so Anderson made an animated version of Fantastic Mr. Fox, and here is the trailer:

If you ask me, they should change the name of this movie to Fantastic Mr. Fantastic. Because it looks pretty fantastic, is why I recommend that change. I am starting a movie studio next!

(Via Videogum.)

The Awkward Movie Challenge: Purple Rain

July 29, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Movie Reviews, Movies, Music, The Awkward Movie Challenge


According to Netflix, Mike and Jeffrey agree with each other on movies 84% of the time. In their weekly feature, The Awkward Movie Challenge, they search valiantly for that sweet 16% that results in big arguments and big laughs.



This past June 24th marked the twenty fifth anniversary of the greatest soundtrack ever recorded specifically for a movie. Man oh man, is Purple Rain ever an amazing soundtrack! “When Doves Cry”? That song is awesome. “Let’s Go Crazy”? Even awesomer, especially when Prince gets all Hendrixy at the end of the song. “Take Me With U”? Holy shit, that song is so awesome they don’t even have a word to describe it (you could probably describe it by calling it “Really, really, really awesome,” but that’s four words). “The Beautiful Ones”? “Baby, I’m a Star”? “I Would Die 4 U”? Awesome, awesome, awesome. Yes, there is no doubt about it; Purple Rain is one totally awesome record. Case closed.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the movie for which the Purple Rain soundtrack was recorded (did I mention how awesome that soundtrack is?), which celebrated its own twenty fifth anniversary this past Monday. Purple Rain: the Movie stars Prince as “The Kid”, a wunderkind musician who lives in his parents’ basement and creates music deemed too weird for First Avenue, the Minneapolis club where Morris Day and the Time draw huge crowds by playing music almost exactly like that of The Kid and his band, the Revolution. Except it’s not as good. The Kid meets aspiring singer Apollonia, falls in love with her, and lets her know this by tricking her into jumping naked into a lake. In Minneapolis. In the winter. Shooting her in the back would have been an equally romantic valentine, but then I guess we wouldn’t have gotten to see her boobs. Despite The Kid’s sadism, Apollonia is unable to resist the pubic hairs glued to his chest (or his purple pirate costume… or his Batgirl Cycle…), so she buys him a guitar. When Morris Day gets wind of the budding ingénue, he swoops in to turn her into his personal protégé. The Kid reacts to this news by punching Apollonia in the face.


Dear Tim Burton

June 22, 2009 By: Category: Greatest Hits, Movies

Hi! First of all, thanks for Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice. Those were great, how that guy had scissors for hands and that dead clown was so scary. Second of all, you dirty filthy bastard, if you ruin another one of my favorite books, I will kill you. Here is a picture from your new retelling of Alice in Wonderland.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Prop Comic

Johnny Depp as the Mad Prop Comic

Here, by contrast, is John Tenniel’s classic interpretation of the Mad Hatter.

John Tenniel's Mad Hatter

John Tenniel's Mad Hatter

Now, it is useful to note that John Tenniel’s illustrations were in the first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, meaning they were approved by Lewis Carroll himself with all respect to the original text. It is also useful to note that the Mad Hatter in John Tenniel’s drawings is not a Bozo-haired S&M drag king.

See, here’s my problem with you, Tim Burton. You are not very funny. I’m sorry, but you’re not. Pee Wee Herman, he’s funny, and so you made a funny movie with Pee Wee Herman. Somehow you pulled off Ed Wood, a movie that was mature, well-paced, funny, and touching. But did you see Mars Attacks? Did you, Tim Burton? Did you watch your own movie that you made? Because it was not funny.

The worst things you do are adaptations and remakes, and you seem to do an awful lot of those kinds of movies. I don’t know how you managed to sap the humor out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but you did. It is practically impossible to remove the humor from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That’s like removing the cute from a koala. Watching your version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was like watching a koala with rabies and knowing that I was going to have to kill it later by myself with a safety pin. The day I saw your version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the day the clown cried.

And now you’re doing Alice in Wonderland, because of course you are, because there is nothing more Tim Burton on earth than Alice in Wonderland. Except for that part about how even though it has a sinister edge, it’s also one of the funniest books ever written. My guess is that your interpretation of it is going to be all sinister edge with, I don’t know, a fart or two. Which, come on, Tim Burton. Just because Lewis Carroll liked to take pictures of naked little girls doesn’t mean you have to punish the rest of us. I’ll admit, this one’s a little better:

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper

… or it would be a little better if Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t the only woman you knew. You should meet more women, Tim Burton.

And you should stop ruining my favorite books, please. If you make another adaptation, please choose something that is not very good. Like Marley and Me. A little of your gothic S&M touch could really do wonders to Marley and Me.

Persepolis and Nick Cassavetes

June 16, 2009 By: Category: Movies

Despite the fact that reading subtitles can be a drag (as Jeffrey mentions below), Persepolis is without question one of the most awesome movies I’ve seen in the past year. Few movies capture the confusion of adolescence with such a subtle mixture of humor and anxiety. If you haven’t seen it, I’d highly recommend renting it.

The English version also includes the voice talent of Sean Penn, Iggy Pop (!), and Gena Rowlands.

Now, a little free association here… Gena Rowlands is the widow of 1970s auteur filmmaker John Cassavetes (she also starred in several of his best movies). John Cassavetes was a total badass before dying of cirrhosis of the liver in ’89.

John and Gena’s son, Nick Cassavetes, is also a film director. His films include
The Notebook, and the recent My Sister’s Keeper.

Whether or not you like these movies, it’s pretty indisputable that they’re mainstream Hollywood puff. It’s fascinating to me that the son of one of the guiding lights of the 1970s movement against this kind of puff is now creating it himself. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, really… but it’s pretty ironic. Some film student should definitely write a PhD thesis about it, if you ask me.