Wrestling is Real: New Japan Pro-Wrestling Presents Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-jo Hall

In my effort to keep this blog updated more frequently this year than any other year, I’m going to talk about wrestling again. I don’t do it that often but figured I’m do it here.

NJPW is the critically acclaimed, second largest wrestling promotion in the world. Dominion is their second biggest show of the year behind Wrestle Kingdom which is at the start of January. This is also the big show after their long running Best of Super Juniors (BOSJ) tournament and the major turning point of the year before G1 Climax tournament kicks off feuds that will lead into the new year. So a big show. Lets get into it.

I watched this from midnight to just before five am. I don’t normally watch live because I don’t want to but I’m getting tired of waking up after a big show and having big things spoiled before I have a chance to watch the VOD. This is only the third show I’ve streamed live since getting NJPWWorld account a few years back.

1. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) defeated Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) in 9:29-Tag team match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

NJPW roster is broken into stables, some of which have aesthetics. Suzuki-Gun, named after wrestling/MMA legend Minoru Suzuki’s aesthetic is mean and win at all costs. Masked wrestler El desperado and veteran Kanemaru definitely live up to the “win at all costs” motto. RPGK are youngsters who are part of CHAOS. A stable with no aesthetic really. A strange mishmash of personalities but they have a lot of titles so it works. Now SHO and YOH are the ace tag team of junior heavyweight division since returning from excursion last year. Wrestlers trained in NJPW’s dojo system go over seas for a while to better grow. These two also got a new “sexy!” photobook out and everything. It was a surprise they lost here, really. They won singles matches against these guys in BOSJ tournament and are becoming fan faves. However the story is that they’re still young and have a lot to learn? The match was good. nice hot opener with a loud crowd. The junior division will be (mostly) put on ice after the brief Kizuna Road tour so that the company can focus on heavyweights.

***

2. Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) defeated CHAOS (Jay White and YOSHI-HASHI) in 7:26

Taguchi Japan is not really a stable. Pretty much everyone who was not part of a stable/team was called New Japan Army but junior star (and WWE’s Finn Balors old partner) Ryusuke Taguchi sort of stepped up as captain of everyone. Anyway Juice and Finlay (son of legendary Fit Finlay and a fourth generation wrestler) took on random CHAOS pairing of YOSHI-HASHI and US Champion Jay White. This was predictable as NJPW has a big San Francisco show coming up in July and speculation around White defending. So Juice pinned him, then made motions for the belt. That’s the only story here. This was skippable.

**1/2

3. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.) defeated CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) in 8:42

The odd thing about this, is all the gold is from a small British indy wrestling company called Revolution Pro. One of NJPW’s partners. So Suzuki and ZSJ are the RevPro tag champs and Ishii the RevPro Heavyweight champ, and he won that from ZSJ. Also, apparently Suzuki and Ishii are angry with each other. Suzuki is a legit guy, one of the founders of Japanese MMA. ZSJ is the best technician in pro-wrestling with too many damn holds. Ishii is a bruiser, tough as nails. Yano is a comedy wrestler and cheater. Caught up? Anyway, this was good. Suzuji and Ishii brought the mean. ZSJ countered a Yano low blow (strike to the balls) into an attack on Yano’s arm using his thighs.

***

4. Michael Elgin defeated Hirooki Goto (c) and Taichi in 13:46-Three way match for the NEVER Openweight Championship

NJPW does have too many titles. This one’s original purpose is forgotten and exists now for guys who are important enough to need direction. Goto (of CHAOS) is the NJPW bridesmaid, never going to be the top dude but in his role as gatekeeper (midcard guy who can beat top card guys and it doens’t hurt him to lose to lower card guys) he is great. Taichi (Suzuki-Gun) use to be a junior and is now heavyweight. he is a divisive figure. Not as divisive as Mike Elgin (not going to get into that garbage). Three way matches go wrong a lot because you have to account for the third person, especially in one fall to a finish match. This one over delivered, becoming real good. Goto was the fighting champion, Elgin was the power, and Taichi was the asshole trying to pick his spots. Crowd got into this one, they rarely get three way matches like this.

***1/2

5. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sanada and Evil) (c) in 15:03-Tag team match for the IWGP Tag Team Championship

YB of Bullet Club (maybe?)/Elite (definitely) made the transition from junior division where they dominated to heavyweight division earlier this year. Basically it just means they were given the a-okay to switch divisions really. Now Bullet Club is NJPW’s most popular international brand. You’ve probably seen those shirts. LIJ is the most popular brand in Japan, which is actually based on a brand from Mexico’s CMLL which barely exists anymore. LIJ is the smallest stable with only 5 members, two juniors and three heavyweights. So this was a very good match. A lot of heavyweight tag matches are forgettable. Too much belt trading, too many multi-team matches. EVIL and SANADA were suppose to represent the company looking to rebuild with two popular midcard guys who are part of their most popular brand. Bucks however are the world traveled tag team masters so… yeah. They won the titles.

***1/2

6. Bullet Club (Cody, Hangman Page and Marty Scurll) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jushin Thunder Liger and Rey Mysterio Jr. in 11:35

Cody (formerly Cody Rhodes, son of wrestling legend Dusty) is the (maybe?) current leader of BC, though he rarely works NJPW as he is contracted to NJPW partner Ring of Honor in the states. Still, he’s out for these big shows. So is his partners, though Mart Scurll was just in the BOSJ tournament, finishing third in his block. Their opponents is NJPW superstar Hiroshi Tanahashi, influential legend Jushin Thunder Liger, and lucha libre/WWE megastar Rey Mysterio Jr. This was good. Nothing much else to say about it.

***

7. Hiromu Takahashi defeated Will Ospreay (c) in 20:20-Singles match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

BOSJ 25 winner Hiromu Takahashi gets his title shot against the champ a week after a grueling finals. Ospreay, the champ finished second in his block but has been havign an amazing year since winning the title in January. Background, Hiromu is LIJ. Punk look, crazy antics, almost childlike wonder. He is a company superstar. he lost the title a year ago and has been trying to get the belt back. So his path has crossed with ospreay’s multiple times before. Ospreay, repping CHAOS, won the title a second time in January in a four corners match that included Hiromu. Then beat Hiromu in his first defense of his second title reign. Ospreay has had an incredible year. Also, both guys are crazy and Ospreay almost broke his neck a few months ago.

This was dynamite. Aggressive, action packed, with moments that would make you cringe. These two are on top of their game and the crowd was behind Hiromu. Best match of the show in my opinion.

*****

8. Chris Jericho defeated Tetsuya Naito (c) in 17:16-Singles match for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship

WWE, hell, wrestling fans in general know Chris Jericho. he worked in Japan early in his career but really we count this as his second NJPW match. His opponent, NJPW superstar and leader of LIJ, Tetsuya Naito. Naito portrays calm, apathetic but dynamic. This was mean, and scary. Naito had cuts around his eyes and was bleeding from his ear by the end of this. Jericho is wrestling unlike anything before. Might be his age, but he wrestles with such aggression and recklessness. This match had a few flubs but I felt a level of hate here that was intense. Surprise victor and WOW!

****1/4

9. Kenny Omega defeated Kazuchika Okada (c) 2-1 in 1:04:50-No time limit two out of three falls match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

Leader of CHAOS, Okada is the ace of the company. He dethroned the former ace (Tanahashi). He’s broken most the records for the IWGP Heavyweight championship. Longest single title reign (4th reign at 720 days), most combined days (1516 days), and most successful title defenses in a single title reign (12). He’s just missing combined successful defenses. His 4th reign will be fondly remembered for the amount of classics its produced like against Katsuyori Shibata or Hiroshi Tanahashi and of course Kenny Omega. The once leader of Bullet Club, member of Being the Elite, and one half of the Golden Lover’s with Kota Ibushi. Omega won the 2016 G1 Climax and challenged Okada only to lose in a match that had the world buzzing. The two did it ago at least years Dominion but it ended in a draw. The two went at it a couple months later in G1 Climax tournament where Omega put the champ away.

Okada had to put away other people in that time but the thought of losing one match, of being 1-1-1 against Omega has gnawed at him. So after beating Tanahashi at Dontaku, he challenged Omega. No time limit. Omega raised the stakes, 2 out of 3 falls. Omega, since Dominion, won and lost the US title. Went to the finals of 2017 G1 Climax but lost to Naito. Fought off Jericho. Battled for control of BUllet Club against Cody. reunited with his former partner, rival, boyfriend Kota Ibushi. That leads here. Ibushi in his corner, Omega went about winning the title. A tense, long, brutal match. Okada taking the first fall with a roll up pin. Omega winning with his finisher the One Winged Angel. Then the third fall where Okada could not unleash a good Rainmaker lariat and cover. Omega fought through, finally dethroning Okada.

Now, I prefer their first match overall. But this was great.

*****

Final Thoughts: Only one championship did not change hands. The only native Japanese with titles are juniors. This is a big deal. Anyway, top to bottom great show, one of the best wrestling cards of the year.

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Films: Solo / Red Sparrow

Here are some short, quick reviews.

Solo: A Star Wars Story from 2018 (Director: Ron Howard, Writers: Jonathan Kasdan and Lawrence Kasdan, Stars: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, and Paul Bettany, Runtime: 135 mins)

Han Solo, a character I actually was always sort of ‘meh’ about gets his own film. And I really fucking liked it. Here’s the thing, I was always more invested in Luke, Leia and Vader. I say that as a casual Star Wars fan. So when this got announced I thought “Yeah, sure. Okay.” The trailers did little to interest me but I figured it would still be good. I was very fucking impressed.

This space western has chases, train robberies, daring escapes and more. Alden is actually fun to watch as is most the cast. Glover as Lando and Harrelson a character new to the series. I loved Lando’s droid. She was great. There’s a couple cool twists, some big set pieces, and this feels just feels huge. I honestly would put this in my top 5 Star Wars films and I really only rank New Hope and the Empire Strikes Back.

As for the look, it looks good. A bit dreary like Rogue One but I’m fine with that. I don’t have much else to write. I was happy, laughing, digging the film from the start to the finish.

Red Sparrow from 2018 (Director: Francis Lawrence, Writers: Justin Haythe, based on the 2013 novel by Jason Matthews, Stars: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, and Jeremy Irons, Runtime: 140 mins)

After seeing Solo with my uncle, we hit the PF Changs then headed to his house. So this is what I wanted to see. A spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian ballet turned covert operative. This film is too long. Thats my note. Sure the length does not look like its a big deal with the limited action it does feel like it stalls multiple times in the film. I kept waiting for it to pick up.

Outside of that, the film was fine. Visually it looks good. The settings and locales really stand out. The stylistic choices really pop through out. I thought the stuff in the Sparrow school was pretty good. The sudden bursts of violence from Dominika were brutal and I would have liked more of that. On the acting from, Jennifer’s fine. Though sometimes her accent seems to break. The guy who plays her uncle is a creepy asshole. I really disliked the character so, well done Matthias. I did appreciate the mystery the movie started to put together and explained at the end for a nice twist.

Notes for a sequel? Speed it up or add more action.

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The Box: May Comics

I get comics through a subscription service and so I got 4 weeks of comics this past Wednesday. This is whats up.

Batman: White Knight #8-The final to writer/artist Sean Murphy’s excellent mini. The story based on a “reformed” Jack Napier aka the Joker, looking to fix Gotham as well as the fall from grace of Batman. It started out hot, cooled down. Still really good, okay it’s pretty great, but I definitely think it lost steam. If you like Batman and Joker (and Harley) check out the trade in September(?).

Deathstroke #31-It’s Deathstroke vs Batman. Writer Christopher Priest continue his run on Deathstroke and while the last arc was mostly hit and miss with me, he’s still got Deathstroke kicking all sorts of ass with lots of twists and turns. While the book isn’t quite classic superhero (or anti-hero) the artwork definitely is from the talented art team.

Detective Comics #980 and 981-I actually skipped the other Batman books during Rebirth cause I dug the team premise. Kind of a mistake because Batman is amazing. But this book is still good and its James Tynion’s wrap up to the his entire run. A run that I generally give a thumbs up to. I loved that this one acknowledged Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown’s retconned lives. I loved both as Batgirl when they had the cape and cowl. I still don’t care about Tim Drake or Kate Kane. I don’t think I ever will. The artwork through out the run is sometimes great, sometimes “meh” and a lot of times solid. But if you read superhero comics set within current cannon/shared universe you get use to a lack of artistic consistency.

Domino #2-Gail Simone, David Baldeon and companies second issue is fun. That’s all I got.

Doom Patrol #11-I’m actually surprised we’re at #11 with how this book comes out. Anyway we confront Retcon. Get his back story. Lots of craziness happens. It’s Doom Patrol, if its not crazy who cares? A good book but middle of the stack type.

Golosseum volume 1-What? Yasushi Baba’s manga about a future with a device called “Peacemakers” making their wearers immune to weapons. It’s a big martial arts melee. Putin is the bad guy and Rasputin is still alive, leading two warriors against his men. The US, China and Japan got their goals to. Oh, and Hulk Hogan guy is out here kinda being racist like real Hulk Hogan. I don’t know, I can’t be mad at the badly written black characters beating up the LAPD really. Like NWA said, FUCK THE POLICE. But Hogan (aka Axe Bowgun, a play on Hogan’s Japanese wrestling finish, Axe Bomber) had to save LA from the gangs. That’s a spoiler but not spoiling much of the important stuff going on. I liked it quite a bit. Hopefully volume 2 is just as good, or better.

Mother Panic: Gotham AD #3-I dug the first run of this series even when my favorite artists were not providing art. I did not care for Shawn Crystal’s work on some of those issues. Anyway, this book jumps to an alternate reality since the recent Young Animals/DC Proper crossover. It’s okay. The back up entitled Rots and Leaves by Motehr Panic writer Jody Houser and art by Paulina Ganucheu however is amazing. Beautiful art and fills in a piece of the current series plot but could be its own thing. Its a tragic story with the Gotham City Sirens but ultimately focused on Harley and Ivy. Harley/Ivy fans should seek this out. But you might cry.

Runaways #9-A Doombot Dr. Doom drops by. Julie Power is struggling with her relationship with Karolina Dean. Then there’s the central story of Molly and her friend who is eternally 13. Lots of teen drama, great art, reminder that the Hulu show sucks.

The Terrifics #4-Artist Doc Shaner draws this one, and its the best looking issue. This DC styled Fantastic Four has been a pretty good throwback superhero comic book. It’s like good pop, fun but disposable. I’ll probably forget about it until the next issue comes out. Like most superhero comics but at least this one will make me smile.

The Wild Storm #13-The slow burn resurrection of Wildstorm continues. I guess. Is it the resurrection? Focused on John Lynch and the guy would be best known as Backlash. I think, I’m not too familiar with Wildstorm comics outside WildCATs and Gen 13 and I barely remember what happened there. For me the interesting thing is the three warring factions. IO, Skywatch (I think thats their name) and Philip Marlowe. This is high science fiction espionage. Very cool book.

My subscription service ships every fourth week so I didn’t get three great Image books, so that will be in next months package. I dropped Green Arrow. Got a few FCBD comics I probably won’t read. Also got Port of Earth and Isola. I put those into a stack with the other issues. I’ll read them later.

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Reads: Gyo

Gyo by Junji Ito, Publication Run 2001-2002, 390 pages approx

So the second book I’m going to talk about is the Viz collection of Gyo by horror mangaka Junji Ito. Junji Ito is one of the best known horror manga artists. I have his classics Tomie and Uzumaki and both are twisted, crazy works. I also have another of his books on my TO READ LATER pile.

Gyo is the story of rotting sea life coming onto land with organic metal legs. The ensuing terror that grips the world as the reader follows Tadashi and Kaori. We start with them at the first location this starts and watch what happens as the world is engulfed. Its pretty light on story and characterization to be honest. There is a lot about gas and smell. The story does seek to explain what goes on in vague retro science fiction type of way. As for characters Kaori is very annoying and Tadashi’s uncle is an a-hole but there’s little else running through. Tadashi seems like an alright dude but he does get annoying at times.

The thing about Junji ito is that his work is really the experience. It’s insane and unique approach to body horror. Gyo is a a quick read with so many crazy images. Its a visual marvel for anyone into horror. The scene with the great white shirt with legs is something I kind of like to see a Hollywood studio try. in fact the story is so bare bones a good horror script writer could make some real magic here. With the right director, could be a horror masterpiece. But its Hollywood so… And then I’m sure they would go with a happy ending. Ito’s works don’t have happy endings. They just sort of end in despair. Though this one did have a brief suggestion of hope for the future but the stories personalized to Tadashi, and to a point Kaori, so the story has to end with them.

The Viz collection I have has two bonus stories. The first a short of little substance but the second one! The Enigma of Amigara Fault is the major source of inspiration for Steven Universe’s Kindergarten. If you’re familiar with SU, you know Kindergarten is where gems grew other gems. Body shape holds in stone mountains where gems popped out. That’s dark for that show, here its down right horrifying. A discovery has people all around the world visiting this strange phenomenon and the ones most entranced, finding what hey believe to be their own hole. If I had never watched Steven Universe I’d still want to talk about this story.

If you like horror, specifically body horror and strange horror, this is for you. Of course, Uzumaki and Tomie are superior to Gyo. But I say check them all out.

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31 Days of Film: Final Days

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4

May 28th-The Time Machine from 1960 (Director: George Pal, Writers: David Duncan Based on The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, Stars: Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, and Alan Young, Runtime: 103 mins)

The story about making a time machine, going into the future, and meeting the morlocks. Really its rather simple film. The stop motion animation for time changing was pretty cool. I honestly watched this, forgot about it until I wrote this little entry. It was fine, no negative feelings but no strong feelings in favor of the movie.

[Trailer]

May 29th-The Day The Earth Stood Still from Year (Director: Robert Wise, Writers: Edmund H. North, based on the 1940 science fiction short story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates, Stars: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal, Billy Gray, Hugh Marlowe, and Sam Jaffe, Runtime: 92 mins)

The classic scifi film was good. A story about a strange visitor who wants to warn the Eart about bringing their aggression beyond their own world because most the planets in space are at peace. I don’t have a whole lot to say, because at this point I’m winding down and ind looking forward to not watching a film everyday. I like doing these in order to watch movies but I get burnt out. Anyway, Michael Rennie gives a great performance. I enjoyed everyone in it. I thought it ending with the threat was a great send off. It feels like a big film in a small scale which sometimes is hard to do but director Robert Wise is a legend. Him (and the team) bring a lot of style and mood to the picture. Its a very strong film.

[Trailer]

May 30th-The Funhouse from 1981 (Director: Tobe Hooper, Writers: Larry Block, Stars: Elizabeth Berridge, Kevin Conway, William Finley, Cooper Huckabee, Miles Chapin, and Sylvia Miles, Runtime: 96 mins)

Tobe Hooper is one of the most important influences on horror thanks to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Poltergeist*. But lets be honest, his work isn’t really all that good out his hits. This is the second or third of his movies outside his major hits that I’ve seen and its boring. It started with some style, a combination of Psycho and Halloween as a major fake out. Set the film on the path. Then got boring and annoying. The characters were stupid and not all that interesting. The killer was pretty bad. I give it credit for trying to create mood and the setting is neat, but overall its a waste of time.

*Steven Spielberg probably directed Poltergeist with Tobe only doing parts and assisting.

[Trailer]

May 31st-Tragedy Girls from 2017 (Director: Tyler MacIntyre, Writers: Chris Lee Hill and Tyler MacIntyre, Stars: Alexandra Shipp, Brianna Hildebrand, Josh Hutcherson, Craig Robinson, Kevin Durand and Jack Quaid, Runtime: 96 mins)

The story of two girls girls who run a true crime blog, kidnap a serial killer, and then start executing crimes themselves. This film is about friendship. How important it is to find people we relate to. Just so happens both ladies are psycho. Obsessed with themselves and clicks on their blog. The murders are pretty cool, the film has a slick look and appropriately timed music. The actresses Brianna and Alexandra are cute together and have lots of energy. The film starts to track into predictability territory but then swerves out of it toward the end. Good flick to end this week on. If you like slashers and black comedies you’ll enjoy this.

[Trailer]

Ranking
White Heat
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades
Klute
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
Deadpool 2
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Clue
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx
Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell
Tragedy Girls
Peeping Tom
Destry Rides Again
The Way of the Dragon
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Vanishing Point
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons
La Belle et la BĂȘte
The Lair of the White Worm
Towering Inferno
The Time Machine
Jason and the Argonauts
Game Over, Man
Bullitt
Dark Passage
Razorback
My Bloody Valentine
Dreamscape
The Funhouse
A Boy and His Dog
Slither

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31 Days of Film: Week 4

Now that I’ve broken up the stream of articles, time to start linking the previous weeks.
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

May 21st-Peeping Tom from 1960 (Director: Michael Powell, Writers: Leo Marks, Stars: Carl Boehm, Anna Massey, and Moira Shearer, Runtime: 101 mins)

Last year I embraced podcasts. I listened to a few wrestling related ones but I jumped into all sorts. one of my favorites is Faculty of Horror. Two woman discussing horror films academically. After getting caught up (and along the way watching horror films new to me and rewatching ones I may have not cared for) I started doing my “homework.” Which is to watch films before the newest episodes. The next one up (which might be out by the time this is published) is focused on proto-slashers Peeping Tom and Psycho. As I write this I’m “rewatching” Psycho. Seen it a bunch of times so I don’t really need to pay attention. Peeping Tom, however, is a new one for me.

The story of a damaged man who works in film and as a photographer, he always has a camera with him. He begins a small killing spree, filming his victims. The film works on themes of child abuse, voyeurism, and more. Its a film that I think could’ve have been better. It looks great and the performance by Carl Boehm. The Austrian-German actor is incredible in this film. The way he moves, talks, and everything. He’s creepy but also comes off as vulnerable. Its fascinating that this performance, and Anthony Perkins Norman Bates happened in the same year. Yep, Peeping To not only shares the same film year as Psycho but came out first! Still, Psycho is a better structured, paced, and suspenseful film. Peeping Tom is a strong movie with an odd pacing and a few moments that make you scratch your head. I enjoyed this one and was glad to watch it.

(On the podcast I learned that the film ran only five days before being pulled and it killed the directors career. The film survived thanks to Martin Scorcese. I then read Scorcese and other fans of director Powell found an intact print, restored it, and rereleased the film in 79. Its now regarded as a classic.)

[Trailer]

May 22-Razorback from 1984 (Director: Russell Mulcahy, Writers: Everett De Roche, based on Peter Brennan’s novel, Stars: Gregory Harrison, Runtime: 95 mins)

Sometimes you see a horror film with s much potential that falters. Razorback is hat kind of film. From the director of Highlander is a pretty looking film with several great sequences bogged down by horrible pacing and not focusing enough on the most interesting character in the film. Basically the first third is pretty spot on and then the wheels come off and it becomes kind of boring. Anyway a grandfather loses his grandson to a Razorback. He gets the co-star treatment to another character who is less interesting. The Razor back is kind of cool, best in limited shots. There’s a bunch of asshole kangeroo hunters. Yeah… started strong, went disappointing.

[Trailer]

May 23rd-My Bloody Valentine from 1981 (Director: George Mihalka, Writers: John Beaird, Stars: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, and Neil Affleck, Runtime: 90 mins)

Maybe I just wasn’t in the head space for an early 80s slasher. This classic of the genre did nothing for me, mainly because I didn’t care for most the cast. I think slashers suffer when you don’t put an interesting woman in the lead. Or you don’t do more with the cop/authority figure. John Saxon in the first Elm Street or Black Christmas to even Leslie Nielsen in Prom Night. The setting is good, the story is weak.

[Trailer]

May 24th-Destry Rides Again from 1939 (Director: George Marshall, Writers: Felix Jackson with Screenplay by Henry Myers and Gertrude Purcell and Based on the 1930 novel by Max Brand, Stars: Marlene Dietrich and James Stewart, Runtime: 95 mins)

There’s trouble in Bottleneck, the new sheriff looks for help from Tom Destry to clean it up. A mix of comedy and pure drama, its a fun cowboy movie. Haven’t seen too many James Stewart movies and no Marlene Dietrich films so this had to be seen. Also, shout out to my uncle Mike who suggested it. I brought up how I checked TCM on Marlene Deitrich’s birthday earlier this year and they did not show a single of her movies. Anyway, I don’t have much to say about this film but that it was entertaining and short. Which was nice. Just over 90 minutes. More films should be under 100 minutes.

[Trailer]

May 25th-A Boy and His Dog from 1975 (Director: L. Q. Jones, Writers: L. Q. Jones and Alvy Moore (uncredited) Based on the novella by Harlan Ellison, Stars: Don Johnson, Susanne Benton, Ron Feinberg, and Jason Robards, Runtime: 90 mins)

Post-apocalyptic story of a teenage boy looking for food and sex, his telepathic dog that helps him forage. Its a cult classic based on a classic scifi story. I did not care for the movie. It was just… I don’t know… I’ve watched worse films this month but this one somehow just really annoyed me. I don’t want to talk about it.

[Trailer]

May 26th-The Lair of the White Worm from 1988 (Director: Ken Russell, Writers: Ken Russell Based on the novel by Bram Stoker, Stars: Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi and Sammi Davis, Runtime: 93 mins)

Hey kids, want to see a young Hugh Grant and a twenty-something Dr. Who battle a snake woman? So this film is based loosely on a Bram Stoker novel but, like, who knew Bram wrote anything other than Dracula? Apparently the book is bad and the abridged, rewritten version is also bad. So a guy digs up a skull and a crazy religious mosaic art piece on a farm where these two sisters live. One of their neighbors is a rich dude who lives in a castle whose family may have fought a giant evil snake. There’s also an immortal snake priestess. This is not a good movie but the performances, specifically Amanda Donohoe, are fun. Plus its just the right amount of over the top ridiculousness to save it from being just bad. This is fun bad. Shave off about seven minutes and it would have been even better. The ending was pretty cool. I liked it.

[Trailer]

May 27th-Vanishing Point from 1971 (Director: Richard C. Sarafian, Writers: Guillermo Cain and Barry Hall (uncredited), Stars: Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, and Dean Jagger, Runtime: 98 mins)

1970’s were a time of famous car races, chases, and crashes. 1971 gave the race film Vanishing Point. the story is so thin you can miss it if you don’t pay attention. But its really a set up about a man who only finds joy on the open road. Running from troubles and frustrations of the past and the working class life. The cops in each state and city are trying to stop him. This film is very style and enjoyable. Barry is very subtle, low key in his performance. Cleavon Little, pre-Blazing Saddles, has a very fascinating part as a radio DJ “speaking” to our driver. Very counter-culture elements throughout. There is a remake with a libertarian bent, sounds like they added a lot to the story and character and changed the DJ’s role. Also removing all the counter-culture elements and the seedier parts. Sounds like a bunch of bullshit. Anyway, this is a classic and I liked it. Me and my uncle then watched countdowns of famous car chases in each decade from the 70s to the 00s. Good times.

[Trailer]

Ranking
White Heat
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades
Klute
Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance
Deadpool 2
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril
Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
Clue
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx
Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell
Peeping Tom
Destry Rides Again
The Way of the Dragon
Vanishing Point
Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons
La Belle et la BĂȘte
The Lair of the White Worm
Towering Inferno
Jason and the Argonauts
Game Over, Man
Bullitt
Dark Passage
Razorback
My Bloody Valentine
Dreamscape
A Boy and His Dog
Slither

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Reads: Snow Crash

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, Publication in June 1992, 480 Pages

Had a resolution to read more and after a few false starts I got one done. Snow Crash, took me several weeks…

Snow Crash is a cyberpunk (words never used) story set in a dystopian landscape. Based around anarcho-capitalism (I guess) so you have the federal government ceding lands to franchises run by the mafia or others. The lead is a sword wielding, pizza delivery driver, and hacker named Hiro Protagonist. On a failed delivery he meets kourier (thats how its spelled) and extreme skater Y.T. They become associates gathering and selling intel for the CIC. They find themselves dealing with a new drug called Snow Crash and an Aleut badass killer named Raven. All this ties to a corporate executive name L. Bob Rife.

Okay… apparently this book is on TIME’S 100 best English-language novels published since 1923. I don’t know. I don’t read enough so-called classics to really have an opinion on if I think it is one of the top 100 novels. I finished it, and since I have a habit of getting bored quickly or easily distracted that’s good. But I don’t really even know how I feel. Writing this review is making me scratch me my head. I like that the lead is a mixed race man, and Hiro is a pretty cool guy. Even if I don’t understand why such a clearly intelligent and talented hacker isn’t making good money. Y.T. is amusing. The teenage kourier is a lot of fun and I dig her attitude. Though there is a scene that made me roll my eyes and skip a paragraph or two. But then again I’m a bad reader and have habit of missing (or not absorbing) lines. The actual drug Snow Crash is a virus that attacks hackers. So there is a lot about linguistics, religion, archeology and more. There’s some incredibly fascinating stuff in there and sometimes it bored me. The metaverse (you know, 3D cyberspace fun) has some interesting stuff going. I like the scenes in the Black Sun.

What I don’t care for is the setting. Is this the future libertarians want? Doesn’t sound good to me. Most people are either poor or middle class people who are over worked tools. Then there is the rich who may or may not be corrupt assholes. Depends on who and really, its all about protecting their franchises/businesses. But hey! You don’t pay income tax and the federal government is letting you deal with protecting yourself. Of course that just means more assholes in the world, including security forces hired by whatever franchise is control of whatever piece of land. Hope you got money for a good bribe. Its all trading problems for problems. I actually did look into libertarian scifi and what I learned is any story that shows a hint of those values is loved and rewarded. Even if that was not the point and/or written by people who clearly do not identify as libertarian. Really fascinating stuff. Made me rethink Robert Heinlein’s Moon is a Harsh Mistress for a minute which is apparently one of the most beloved libertarian science fiction stories. Though that book was written in the 60s so before contemporary libertarianism and Heinlein himself probably leaned more libertarian-socialism (due to his work for the campaign of socialist writer Upton Sinclair). Heinlein is a good writer and Red Planet is a great YA read.

Also, a lot of these hard science fiction stories present free market and more personal freedoms in a dire future where the people (most of which poor, poor working class) rely on big corporations for survival even though many are violent and corrupt entities. Where as a lot of Utopian based science fiction presents some idealistic place where people are happy but there is secretly an evil Authoritarian entity lying underneath ready to destroy. Geez…

So what about the story itself? It moves. Things happen. Most of it I like, some of it I shrugged. Never actually boring. Though I am a terrible reader so it took longer than it should, which means I did not have the urge to ‘plow through it.’ It was good. I kind of liked it. Might watch the Amazon adaptation if it gets made (Ha! Adaptations of this die in development). Glad I am done and will be taking a manga break.

Might actually do an update on that.

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