Monthly Archives: December 2019

 

Cats!

 

 

Tim Pool (above) is a journalist who covers politics for a living. Every day, he posts videos guaranteed to push somebody’s button — on the left or right.  Yet I’ve never seen Pool get so worked up, so frothing-at-the-mouth angry, about any subject like he does in the video below. The subject? It’s not Trump. It’s not the media. It’s not immigration. It’s the movie Cats.

 

 

Can’t say that I blame Tim.

I don’t go to a lot of plays, but to the best of my recollection, I’ve only walked out of one. About 30 years ago, my then-wife and I got up and walked out of a touring production of, you guessed it, Cats.

By the way, the clip above isn’t Pool’s entire rant. If you want to see all 13 hilarious minutes of it, check out “Timcast” on YouTube.

 

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Sex in the News!

 

Every week there is some new controversial Web post or podcast sex scandal involving “celebrities” I’ve never heard of:

 

 

I guess Wayne Gretzky’s daughter created a stir when she posted this cheeky photo on Instagram:

 

grouchyeditor.com Paulina Gretzky

 

grouchyeditor.com Tappen

 

I guess the NHL analyst pictured on the right above said something kinky about his blonde coworker, pictured on the left.

Below, the coworker, Kathryn Tappen, is shown on the run. We’re guessing she’s on the run from the analyst.

 

grouchyeditor.com Tappen legs

 

By the way, we don’t care about any of these people. We just wanted to post the pictures.

 

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Season two of Lost in Space is streaming on Netflix. It’s an enjoyable show because the actors who play the Robinson family are clever and charming, and some of the action scenes are truly spectacular.

But the show often turns into a yawner when the Robinsons are forced to interact with the dullard humans they encounter.

 

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We get a lot of review requests along with links to private “screeners.” Mostly, these are low-budget movies so dreadful that they don’t even appear on Netflix or Amazon Prime – yet.  They have titles like Luciferina and The Haunting of Mia Moss and, in this case, Lection and Shed.

Often the movies are unfinished: The soundtrack might not match the video, the credits have yet to be added, that sort of thing. But occasionally these films have a certain rustic charm; the spirit of Ed Wood living on.

 

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Low-budget movies tend to come in two distinct categories: watchable and unwatchable. Today, we take a look at two movies released this year by South Carolina filmmaker David Axe.

One is quite watchable and the other, well … you guessed it.

 

Lection

 

 

Lection has probably the least amount of dialogue since 1928 – the year they stopped making silent movies (more or less). The story is set in a post-apocalyptic future in which two casualties are the spoken word and the written word. “Election” becomes “lection,” “vote” becomes “vot.” Conversation becomes nearly non-existent.

A third casualty is the movie’s wardrobe department, which can happen when your budget is a mere $25,000 and the amateur cast is encouraged to wear their Saturday-afternoon shabbies. Hey, it’s OK though, because this is the (extremely) casual, dystopian future.

Anyway, a rag-tag group of survivors has split into two factions fighting for more bread. Or rather, “mor bred.” One faction is led by a sexy young black woman (Sanethia Dresch). The other group is led by a grumpy old white man. You can probably guess which side wins.

 

(Above right, actress Sanethia Dresch’s shapely backside; more about that below)

 

I’ll credit writer-director David Axe with this: His story is ambitious. It wants to explore the societal division between haves and have-nots. The problem is the movie’s execution. (I’m reminded of football coach John McKay’s rejoinder when asked what he thought of his team’s execution: “I’m in favor of it.”)

A major problem with Lection is its lack of dialogue. No speaking means long, long, long stretches of deadly dull footage in which nothing much happens. In this case, less is not more.

To watch the trailer for Lection, click here.

 

Shed

 

(Above, Mike Amason in Shed)

 

Compared to Lection, a lot happens in Shed (not to be confused with The Shed, another 2019 premiere), an Axe production that features many of the same actors from Lection but in a much more entertaining movie. Unlike Lection, Shed is a watchable mess.

It’s a bit of a throwback to 1980s schlock, but Axe has a few things going for him: His musical soundtrack is distinctive and surreal; and the man certainly has visual flair. Many of Axe’s shots are clever.

But mostly, Shed is enjoyable on a guilty-pleasure level. If you like gore, there is that. If you like gratuitous nudity, there is plenty of that. There are even moments that reminded me of – in a good way – Blade Runner. And if you enjoy hammy performances, here we have Lection’s Mike Amason (pictured above) in another villainous role.

The plot involves some mumbo-jumbo about an unhuman species that traversed the Atlantic hundreds of years ago, and which must kill humans in order to inhabit their skins. Events are frequently incomprehensible, but the film is never dull. Axe’s musical score, his pacing, some over-the-top performances, and the striking visuals ensure the movie’s entertainment value.

To watch the trailer for Shed, click here.

 

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The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Actress (and Her Shapely Derriere)

 

 

One thing Lection and Shed have in common is actress Sanethia Dresch, who stars in the former and provides support in the latter. She is a bright spot in both films. We tried to interview her.

After initially agreeing to do the interview, she did not reply to the actual questions. We’re guessing she might not have cared for our third query:

“Most of the reviews of Shed mention the “threesome scene” early in the movie. Can you take us through what it’s like to film a scene like that? It was a very dark scene (at least on my computer), but it appears that you are nude in it – were you? Was that difficult?”

Or perhaps she was scared off by the mention of Rip van Dinkle:

“When I get your replies, I might have some follow-up questions. Also, we have a humor columnist named Rip van Dinkle who wants to ask you a couple questions. I’ll forward them to you after I receive your replies to this interview.”

Can’t really blame her for that. Dinkle scares off most people.

Or, as director Axe told us: “She’s not always very responsive.”

Anyway … there seems to be some dispute about the aforementioned threesome scene (it’s mentioned in pretty much every review). For one thing, the actress who plays “Kahlan” (Caley Fleming) apparently used a body double (Courtney Busby) for the simulated sex — although the close-up shots below certainly seem to be of Fleming:

 

 

Then there is the third member of the horny trio, “Morgan” (Dresch), who joins in the bedroom fun. Axe told us: “To be fair, she (Dresch) wasn’t actually nude in that threesome. It just very briefly looked that way. The nudity in that scene mostly was the result of clever editing.”

Hmmm. That piqued our curiosity, and so because we have way too much free time, we lightened the (very dark) scene.

We suppose there could be a merkin involved, but these certainly look like bare butt cheeks to us:

 

Before:

 

 

After:

 

 

In the shots above, Morgan (Dresch) enacts a fantasy she earlier described to Kahlan (Fleming): “I’ve been dreaming … Gauge (Gauge Santiago, the dude above) is always there … I want you, too: your mouth, your tits, your cunt, your skin. And Gauge — his hands, his cock.”

Apparently some dreams do come true.

 

(Fleming, left, and Dresch discussing … uh, maybe Gauge?)

 

 

Sanethia Dresch

 

 

.                   grouchyeditor.com Dresch

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(Click on photos for a larger view)

 

 

 

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Bonus Trivia

 

Shooting Shed was apparently quite the experience. Director-writer-editor-photographer Axe includes this statement in the end credits: “An amateur cast and crew made Shed for $25,000 in Columbia and Eastover, South Carolina in late 2018 … during a hurricane. A bunch of actors and crew quit during production.”

And then there is this from Axe in an on-line interview:

 

 

Can’t say the actresses weren’t warned about Shed’s nude scenes. Here is the casting call:

 

 

Speaking of nudity, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention actress Emilia Olga’s (“Caley”) eye-catching full-frontal shower scene:

 

Olga All Dressed Up:

 

 

Olga All Undressed:

 

 

Just for fun, here is a blink-and-you-miss-it skin shot when Morgan’s cheerleader skirt flies up as she runs through the woods:

 

 

In case you are beginning to wonder if we have a fetish about Sanethia’s fanny, well, we aren’t the only ones. Check out this clip from her YouTube page and a shot from her Instagram:

 

 

 

The “End”

 

 

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by William Strauss and Neil Howe

 

“Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night new decade.” – (apologies to Bette Davis in All About Eve)

 

According to this book, something big is about to happen. Think World War II big. Or Civil War big. In fact, it’s probably already happening, but in a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees, we just aren’t aware of it yet – but historians will be.

Strauss and Howe make a convincing case that America is well into its “Fourth Turning” – the final, crisis stage of four recurring cycles of history.

The authors go back about 500 years and present evidence that society nearly always (the Civil War being the lone exception) goes through:  1) a “high” (think post-World War II);  2) an “awakening” (the chaotic 1960s);  3) an “unraveling” (when this book was published, in 1997); and finally and potentially catastrophically, 4) a “crisis” (ummm … right now). And then the cycles repeat.

Turning links these historical patterns to another recurrence: four human generations. These are, in order, the “prophets” (Baby Boomers, in what seems to me a misnomer); the “nomads” (Generation X); the “heroes” (Millennials); and the “artists” (Gen Z). How these archetypes interact with the four historical stages determines the fate of mankind.

Strauss and Howe’s case is strong about America’s past. Where they falter is in the book’s subtitle: the “prophecy” part. Although they do provide caveats to their (often alarming) predictions for this century, many of their projections seem off-base.

Not even these guys could predict Donald Trump.

 

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These photo ops of Bernie Sanders trying to hit a baseball … I’m sorry, but I think they have the opposite effect of what his handlers probably intend. Bernie looks like frail old Mr. Burns trying to play ball:

 

 

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Trump’s Space Force

 

Hmmm … is it just a coincidence that our new Space Force is introduced just as UFO reports are on the increase?

Just asking.

 

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I get ill when I think about these two porking in the bedroom.

Then again, I get ill thinking about Harvey Weinstein porking, period.

 

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This came in the mail:

 

 

We here at The Grouchy Editor are taking this as a personal challenge. We’ll be the judge of best butts, dammit.

For starters, how about this one?

 

 

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This is Angie Craig, who represents a district near me in Minnesota:

 

 

Why is it that Minnesota gets all of the fruit loops?

 

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From The Hill:

“The unrelenting opposition to Trump is not based on the fictional quid pro quo with Ukraine’s president but rather a desperate need by the entrenched establishment from both political parties to maintain the status quo of their all-powerful club – aka part of the “swamp” Trump sought to drain.”

 

That’s why, were I Trump, I wouldn’t be too comfortable with impeachment in Mitch McConnell’s hands. I suspect McConnell would be much happier dealing with a President Mike Pence than a President Donald Trump.

 

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Dinkle vs. King

 

 

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In 1973, my high-school pal Terry and I went to see The Exorcist at a cinema in downtown Minneapolis. Two hours later, we walked out of the theater in stunned silence. It was the scariest movie we had ever seen.

A year later, I took a cheerleader named Laurie to see Earthquake in Willmar, Minnesota. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as it turned out), the movie was sold out and we had to either go home or watch the other movie playing in the building, something called Black Christmas. We chose the latter option. Two hours later, we walked out of the theater in stunned silence.

In the span of one year, I had seen the two most frightening films I would ever see — before or since.

In the ensuing years, I’ve felt no need to justify my admiration for The Exorcist. Its place in the canon of all-time-great horror films is secure.

Not so with Black Christmas. For years, most people weren’t even aware of the low-budget masterpiece from Canadian director Bob Clark. And then, 13 years ago, its memory was pretty much trashed by the release of a much-inferior remake. And now it’s happening again, with wrongheaded feminist/director Sophia Takal defiling the title Black Christmas in the name of “social justice.” And so …

STOP REMAKING THIS MOVIE!

 

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Uh, no. The movie has humor, certainly, but it’s not “campy.” It is scary as hell.

 

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“For the uninitiated, the 1974 Black Christmas is often considered one of the earliest slasher films ever made. Though it received some not-so-great reviews when it first came out, it since gained a cult following, and even partially inspired John Carpenter’s more famous 1978 slasher, Halloween. The film stars Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, and Andrea Martin as sorority girls who received lewd, threatening phone calls from an unknown villain who stalks and murders them. It is, as Decider’s Meghan O’Keefe says, “a bonkers must-watch.” — from the Web site Decider

 

Corrections:  1)  Not just “one of the earliest slasher films ever made,” but one of the best ever made. 2)  Not just “partially inspired”; it hugely inspired Halloween. 3)  Contrary to what you might believe from the above description, Keir Dullea does not play one of the sorority girls. Sheesh.

 

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OK, I’ll stop ranting about Black Christmas now. Read my review of the original by clicking here. See video of the remake’s nude director by clicking here. See below how even the “woke” critics at Rotten Tomatoes are trashing the new version:

 

 

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I can’t decide if Adam Schiff is the love child of Dom DeLuise …

 

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… or Grady Sutton:

 

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Trump

 

It’s more and more apparent that I’m not going to change your mind and you’re not going to change mine.

So we might as well just go ahead and have our civil war and be done with it.

 

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Free advice for the national media: If you’d like to salvage what little credibility you have left, you must move some national headquarters the fuck away from coastal big cities. Having bureaus and stringers in “flyover country” won’t cut it. Some of your headquarters must be located in Chicago or Minneapolis or St. Louis or wherever. It’s your only hope of understanding the entire country.

 

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Yeah, this pretty much confirms my theory that most TV journalists are illiterate.

 

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Why little children have nightmares:

 

 

Hell, that guy gives me nightmares.

 

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Because we here at The Grouchy Editor are deeply committed to social justice, this week’s Review is sponsored by a company striving to promote the well-being of all Americans.

In the sweet commercial below, a loving husband submits to his wife’s deepest desire and gets her what she really wants for Christmas. In turn, the wife expresses her heartfelt appreciation.

 

 

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The Untouchables

 

 

We’re hearing a lot about Prince Andrew and his ties to notorious pervert Jeffrey Epstein. And we hear bits and pieces about the Clintons’ “friendship” with the dead pariah.

But why aren’t we hearing more about Alan Dershowitz (above) and his trips to Epstein’s Fantasy Island? Is it because he’s a high-powered attorney and everyone’s afraid they’ll get sued?

Could it be that Dershowitz’s Martha’s Vineyard friends stopped inviting him to parties not because he was perceived as a Trump supporter, but because those neighbors were afraid for their teenage daughters?

Just asking. We don’t want to get sued, either.

 

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You might not like Tucker Carlson, but I was reminded of Ted Koppel or Mike Wallace in their heyday when Carlson savaged the apparent biggest prick on the planet, Wall Street’s Paul Singer (above), on Carlson’s Tuesday show.

 

There’s an advantage to running a small Web site that no one has heard of. You can name names, like we did two weeks ago with the Trump “whistleblower,” and shame names, like Dershowitz and Singer, and they let you do it. Because they’ve never heard of you.

 

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Dinkle vs. King

 

 

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Burning

grouchyeditor.com Burning

 

Until its ending, which I thought was unnecessarily ambiguous, Burning felt like a Korean version of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. A young man (Ah-in Yoo) falls in love with a free-spirited girl (Jong-seo Jun) in the first half of the film and then, after the girl vanishes, he spends the second half engaged in an obsessive search that leads to some very dark places. But until that abrupt and unsatisfying ending, the movie is compelling and filled with haunting images. Release: 2018  Grade: B+

 

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