Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Machete don't text, but he drinks tea.

Hey. I'm gonna interrupt all these Top 5 Movies of 2010 lists to bring you a commercial for iced tea. No, we're not sponsored, but apparently Machete is. You remember Machete, right? The lovable Federale from most of our Top 5 lists? Well, he's selling soft drinks. Check out the ad below:

(Warning: For some reason, the commercial features lots of Machete spoilers.)

Top 5 Movies of the Year: Kevin

5. Splice

I love science fiction horror, especially with an emphasis on the science part. Scientific experiments gone awry, researchers pushing the boundaries of science with horrific results, these things have been the cornerstones of good sci-fi/horror flicks for decades. Sadly, with Hollywood’s recent addiction to mindless re-makes and adaptations, there has been a severe shortage of good, original, sci-fi/horror lately. I think that’s why Vicenzo Natali’s Splice was such a welcomed addition to the genre when it was released this summer. While this certainly isn’t a perfect film (the wheels kind of start falling off the last 20 minutes), I think Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley deliver good performances as the two genetic engineers/lovers who test the limits of science and ethics, and the creature effects on Dren (the human/animal hybrid monster they create) are fantastic. I had a lot of fun with this in the theater and it makes an enjoyable rental for sci-fi fans desperately seeking original material.

4. Winnebago Man

There were a lot of great documentaries released in 2010 (Exit Through the Gift Shop, American Grindhouse, The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, etc); the one that I found the most entertaining and (surprisingly) the most touching was Ben Stienbauer’s Winnebago Man. At first, you wonder how a 4-minute YouTube clip of outtakes from a Winnebago sales video, in which an angry salesman messes up and curses up a storm, could translate into a full-length documentary. Well, in Stienbaur’s search to track down the reclusive “Winnebago Man” behind the clip, Jack Rebney, he uncovers a lot of truths about modern media, life, friendship and regret and proves there’s a little “Winnebago Man” in all of us.

3. Machete

It was hard not to get excited about Robert Rodriguez’s full-length version of his awesome Machete trailer from 2007’s Grindhouse. From the first announcement that the film was a go to the seemingly weekly updates of new cast members, my anticipation was palpable. In many respects Machete delivered on the over-the-top action, violence and tongue-in-cheek political satire hinted at in the original trailer. Surprisingly, the film was not as much of a throwback to exploitation films of the 1970’s as many were expecting. Instead, the film was more akin to Rodriguez’s past Mexican-centric action efforts El Mariachi and Desperado, which was fine by me, as I am a big fan of those films as well. It was also great to see long-time character actor Danny Trejo in a leading role, opposed to the standard gang member/henchman roles he normally plays. While Trejo’s acting is far from superb, it’s perfect for the soft-spoken, tough-as-nails renegade.

2. Inception

Despite my distaste for the highly overrated Leonardo DiCaprio, I plunked down my hard earned cash to see him on the big screen for the second time in 2010 (the first time being Shutter Island). By the time I saw Christopher Nolan’s Inception, the buzz around the film was already at fever pitch. Critics and colleagues alike were praising the film as a dense, psychological thrill ride with mind-blowing special effects. I thought for sure there was no way, with this kind of hype, the film could be anything but a disappointment. I was a huge fan of Nolan’s 2000 film Memento, but was left feeling out in the cold when it came to his revamping of the Batman franchise. While everyone in the world was praising those films as masterpieces, I was left pining for the Tim Burton Batman days. So, needless to say, I was expecting a similar reaction to Nolan’s newest “masterpiece”. However, to my surprise, not only did Inception live up to the hype surrounding it, it exceeded it. Like Memento, the story was complex and layered and really made you think about what reality you were experiencing during the film and despite its 148 minute runtime, the film kept me on the edge of my seat throughout and was never boring. While DiCaprio and co-stars Ellen Page and Joseph Gordon-Levitt were fine (there are a slew of young, talented actors who could have played those roles with just as much impact), the real star of the film is the Nolan’s nuanced writing and the inventive visual effects. My only regret about Inception is that I’ve read that Christopher Nolan had originally penned the film as a horror flick(!), which I would have been way cool. But as it stands, Inception is still one of the best films I’ve seen in a while.

1. Piranha 3-D

Is it hypocritical to spend an entire year railing against big budget Hollywood remakes and then pick a big budget Hollywood remake as my favorite film of the year? Maybe, but let me explain; I don’t mind remakes, if they’re done right. In fact, two of my all-time favorite films (John Carpenter’s The Thing and David Chronenberg’s The Fly) are remakes. What I don’t like is sub-par remakes of classic films (usually horror) made specifically to cash in on the original film’s name recognition (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, etc, etc). I don’t feel like Alexandre Aja’s remake of Joe Dante’s 1978 drive-in classic falls into that category for a few reasons. First, the original Piranha doesn’t have the name recognition that those other films have. In fact, it’s pretty much unknown outside cult/horror fans, so I don’t think they were trying to cash in on the original’s legacy. Second, it’s only a remake in title and premise. Beyond that, much of the storyline and characters are totally different from the original. But being a passable remake is not the reason this film is at the top of my year-end list. It’s #1 because this movie is F-U-N with a capital F! This movie makes no bones about what it is. From the great opening scene with Richard Dreyfuss to the end credits, this movie slaps you across the face with as much blood and boobs as it can cram into its 90-minute runtime. Is it mindless, one-dimensional, base and generally devoid of any real artistic merit? Of course it is! And what the hell’s wrong with that?! Hollywood used to crank out movies like this for the drive-in and grindhouse circuits and then later for the home video market. But now, good movies are good and bad movies are bad (usually bad). There are very few good bad movies anymore (and let’s face it, those are our goddamn bread and butter here at JFD) and this movie is a REALLY good bad movie. Plus, I’m not ashamed to admit that I love 3-D. I think it makes going to the theater fun again and helps me justify spending $10 on a movie I’ll be able to download in a week. But more often than not, 3-D is reserved for glossy CGI kiddie flicks or mega-budget action films. To see this kind of gratuitous sleaze cinema get the 3-D treatment was truly exciting and I hope Piranha’s 55 million dollar profit pushes Hollywood to releases more of this kind of campy fun for low-brow schlock fans like myself to devour.

NOTE: Since the creation of this list I have seen True Grit, Black Swan & Winter's Bone. While they are all "technically" better movies than many of the films listed here, I still stand by my picks.

Worst Movie of 2010: Paranormal Activity 2

While I'm certain that there were worse movies released in 2010, the worst one I saw was Paranormal Activity 2. I caught this on a drive-in triple feature along with Let Me In and Jackass 3. This rushed sequel to last year's low-budget, surprise hit was so boring, contrived and unnecessary it was genuinely maddening. Honestly, I wasn't as blown away by the first film as many horror fans were, so this stinker landed in my lap with an even more pronounced thud. Look for this pile of shit in 99 cent bins across the country in 2011.

Kevin Moss is a proud "geek from Ohio with entirely too much time on his hands". When he's not hosting Junk Food Dinner, you can usually find him playing drums with his band The Northwest Ordinance (who perform the Junk Food Dinner theme song) or hanging out with Junk Food Dinner announcer Laura Skaggs. He has never been in a fight, but is convinced he would win if he ever was. He also once had a cop pull a gun on him while he was on the toilet.

Keep an eye on the website for more Top 5 lists from JFD alum. And we'll return with a new episode on January 5.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 5 Movies of the Year: Kevin Merryman

This has been a slow movie year for me. For some reason or another (lack of funds definitely being in there somewhere), I just haven't found myself going out to the movies as much as I would have liked to. I'm only prefacing all of this because there could have been 20 films released this year (Black Swan, Machete, Winter's Bone, Best Worst Movie, and Toy Story 3 immediately spring to mind) that I didn't even see. I can tell that my Netflix queue is going to start getting crazy in the coming months. But for now, I'll do the best that I can.

5. Hot Tub Time Machine

So I know this movie gets a lot of crap, but I'll be damned if I had any more fun with anything I saw this year. Sure it's totally stupid, but that's the entire point. Shut your brain off, enjoy the blatant 80's stereotypes and just go with it. Plus Rob Cordrey, creep that he is, totally cracks me up in this movie. It doesn't all hit (I'm looking at you, wedged-in Cusack love plotline) but when it does (Billy Zabka cameo!), it totally does.

4. The Good, The Bad, and The Weird

I borrowed this Blu-Ray from a friend of mine and it's pretty great. I'm a sucker for off-the-wall Asian humor; case in point, I saw Shaolin Soccer in the theater 3 times. This movie is a love letter from director Kim Jee-Woon to Sergio Leone, except on steroids. I wish I could have seen it in a theater somewhere. Basically, 3 guys team up to go after a treasure when they find a map, and they run into endless obstacles to get it. Madness ensues.

3. Inception

The problem with movies like Inception is how they hold up on a second viewing. I haven't watched it again yet, but I was thoroughly entertained by what Christopher Nolan presented. He walked that tightrope of keeping it just confusing enough to let people dangle but not completely insane and losing them. That is ridiculously hard to do in a movie and he pulls it off. I want to watch it again really soon to see if it holds up after I understand a lot of the larger concepts and see if it holds up, but as it is, it's one of the better movies I've seen this year for sure.

2. Defendor

This movie caught me completely off-guard. Superhero movies have been all the rage for the past couple of years. Now we have The Avengers which is either going to mark the end of it or just the beginning of the over-saturation. After all of these movies I was kind of surprised that a movie like Defendor wasn't made sooner. Well, it kind of was with Kick-Ass, at least on the surface. The premise is similar, regular joe decides to become a superhero, but he has to deal with the no powers thing. I like Kick-Ass alright, and it worked on the aspect of these de-facto superheroes dealing with law enforcement and criminals, but it never felt realistic to me. As soon as Hit Girl bounces around the room killing 20 guys at once, or Kick-Ass himself not getting killed the first time he attacked a group of 5 armed men, it completely lost it's realness. Defendor, on the other hand, wallows in it's realism. Defendor isn't a kid trying to impress a girl, he's a guy with serious mental problems, probably from both nature and nurturing, and becoming Defendor is the only way for him to feel like he's making a difference. It's tremendously sad, way more than you get from the previews or any promotional material. Anyways, I've gone on about this one for a while. I could say a lot more but just see it, I think you'll find it's one of the more original takes on the superhero genre.

1. True Grit

I just saw this last week, and maybe it's because it is so fresh in my mind, but I didn't enjoy a movie from 2010 more than True Grit.
With any remake there is always a tendency to compare it to the original. I assumed this wouldn't be a burden since I had never seen the original, so I went into it with a fresh perspective. When we got home that night we watched the original, and now unfortunately I think I'm left comparing it unkindly to it's newer adaptation. The thing that I was most caught off-guard about while watching the Coen Brother's take was how funny it remained. The original, despite the subject matter, is a pretty light-hearted western. It's shot with bright colors and John Wayne never seems as threatening as he thinks (or maybe the 60's thought) he was. The new one is very dark though, with nothing but earth tones, it being a western and all. It starts off with slow close up of a murdered man, for crikey's sake! But somehow, it's hilarious. Most of it has to do with the dialogue, which, I assume, is largely from the book, but there are so many little winks and elbow nudges that the Coens and Bridges and Damon and especially Hailie Steinfeld (where did she come from?!) throw in that it kind of crosses genres. It's a western with shades of comedy, drama, and even horror. Kudos to the Coens for another instant classic.

The Worst Movie of 2010: The Wolfman

There were a lot of shitty movies that came out in 2010, but to be fair, 99% of those were visibly shitty. You could tell from the casting or the plot or the director or any number of things that it's a piece of crap. Like any of those Scary Movie type movies, if there were any of those, you could tell that was crap after 3 seconds of a preview. The Wolfman falls into that dreaded 1% of movies that look really promising from most sides, but are worse than you can ever imagine. Then it doesn't become so much about whether it was the worst movie of the year, it's just that the expectations force it to become a bigger disaster than any normal, run-of-the-mill bad movie could be. Anybody who knows me knows I'm no proponent of remakes, but they can be done well. This was a remake that could work, because the original is so good but was made in a time when visual effects couldn't keep up with ideas. This was a chance to do it right, as it was intended to be.

And they completely fucked it up. Oh my god, I saw this with Mark and we just couldn't stop laughing the entire time. It was like a big joke. The acting is off-the-charts bad. I never once felt any kind of dread, and the final confrontation between Benicio Del Toro (ugh) and Anthony Hopkins (double ugh retire already ugh) is so anti-climactic I could laugh, and did. And one last thing, they CGIed a bear. No, not an attacking bear or a big bear battle or anything like that. A bear that sits on the ground at a gypsy camp, it was CGI-ed. I rest my case.


Despite the fact that he likes "Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows," Kevin Merryman is a solid dude currently residing in Columbus, Ohio. A veteran of the cult movie scene, he has been a guest on JFD13, contributed to Classy Hands, and has started his own weblog over at Cultural Atrocities. Look for Kevin on upcoming episodes of Junk Food Dinner. Don't act like you won't.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top 5 Movies of the Year: Evan Chakroff

Top 5 Films of 2010 (Chinese Bootleg Edition)

For the better part of a year, I've been living and working in Shanghai. Though only 20 Hollywood blockbusters make it past the censors and into Chinese theaters each year, these are more than adequately supplemented by the myriad bootleg DVD shops scattered throughout the city. With prices set at about a buck a piece, it's easy to stock an armageddon-worthy library, and even easier to waste night after night with mini-marathons. So, in that spirit, here are my Top 3 Bootleg Double-Features from 2010.

Salt / Unstoppable

Hour-for-hour I've probably watched more series television than films this year, and while I'm thrilled to have so many great multi-season serialized, novelistic series to dig through* sometimes I just need a simple, near-plotless Action-Packed-Thrill-Ride to kill a couple hours, and these two were the best I found this year. Salt was by far the more complex of the two, with multiple-double-crosses, shifting alliances, and miscellaneous Spy Intrigue, but ultimately none of that mattered: great action set pieces, stylish cinematography and decently-believable dialogue were more than enough to hold it together for the running time, and the film was satisfying even if you never really cared to answer the tagline "Who Is Salt?"

Unstoppable was a great action flick with a two-word plot. The film makes very few demands of the audience, but delivers a huge return on that small investment. The pacing of the film is perfectly synced with the speed of the train, building slowly but inevitably to the (somewhat inevitably disappointing) climax (When SPOILER ALERT they stop the train. By turning it off.) Great fun.
*lets see, covering the Sopranos, finally, Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles, catching up with Mad Men, following Treme and Boardwalk Empire as they aired (or several days later), and currently about halfway through Deadwood --- all recommended.

Chloe / Easy A

These are two I imagine Bizarro Lindsay Lohan could have easily starred in both were pleasant surprises with great performances from their young female stars. Chloe centers on an adorably-creepy performance from Amanda Seyfried who - while maybe not entirely convincing as a prostitute - nails the seduction and stalking of Julianne Moore and (briefly) Liam Neeson with her best Lolita in this (semi-)erotic, psychological thriller. Where the film really shines, though, is in the examination of Moore and Neeson's disintegrating marriage, the deep loneliness you feel from each of their characters; Chloe as a representation of long-suppressed hopes and desires.

Easy A was a pleasant surprise, probably the best high school comedy since Mean Girls, and a great showcase for That Girl From Zombieland (Emma Stone). While the Scarlett Letter framing device was cute, the film probably could have succeeded without it, given the quality of the jokes, and great performances all around. The video-blog narration gave the film a self-awareness that never seemed obnoxious, and allowed the characters to call out the John Hughes references specifically, which was a nice, realistic touch. Plus: Quiznos guy at a protest.

Shutter Island / Inception

When the first Russian bootlegs of Inception hit Shanghai, my DVD guy ingeniously put these two side-by-side. Seen back-to-back, Shutter Island's unambiguous twist ending suggests a neat solution to Inception's convoluted plotting and ambiguity: both films are carefully disguised character studies of a man who has has lost his family and loses touch with reality in his struggle to cope without them.

Shutter Island was an adequate thriller, with a solid performances all around, an appropriately-tormented diCaprio (and luckily just-shy-of-too-many horror-flick cliches), but Inception was a triumph. Without the emotional core of diCaprio's character driving the action, I'm not sure it would have worked,* but with each action sequence clearly justified (at least in in-film dream logic) each scene seemed wholly necessary, and the cuts between different dream-levels and time-scales made for a thrilling climax unlike anything I've seen in a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster.**

*probably would have turned out like The Prestige, a fun film to unpack (especially on second-viewing after the big reveal) but not one with particularly engaging characters.

**not counting Memento or TimeCode. (remember that one?)

Inception rises to the top of my list for another reason. While I take Dom's introspective journey/mourning/grief to be the primary theme of the film, inextricably linked to this is its meditation on how we construct our own reality. The long exposition takes place in three distinct urban environments: Tokyo, Paris, and Tangiers/Mombassa: each shown in aerial shots, and each representing a unique mode of urbanism. The chaotic souks of Africa. The Beaux-Arts Boulevards of Europe. The futurist high rises of East Asia. While still ostensibly in the 途eal worldNolan presents these cities as clearly distinct, with as many differences in pacing, editing and tone as there are between the various dream levels. On a second or third viewing, this equivalence is clear, with the real-world cities falling nicely in line with the four levels of the dream world. The Paris sequence is particularly rich, as Adriane constructs and deconstructs the city in real time, in a prophetic vision of the user-generated augmented-reality video-game world of the coming century.


Evan D. Chakroff is a world traveler and friend to all who, as stated before, is currently living in China. He has a website here as well as collected photography here. Also, he has contributed to our good friends over at Classy Hands.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Top 5 Movies of the Year: Mark

5. Scott Pilgrim vs The World.
Though I meant to, I never got a chance to read the Scott Pilgrim books before I saw this. That may have been for the best (and it seems to be a running theme among the movies I've put on this list) because that usually only serves as a means for me to complain about how the source material was blah, blah, blah. This movie delivered what it promised and for that I am grateful. Edgar Wright, in my eyes, has done no wrong up to this point. His films (and wonderful TV series) come with a genuine appreciation and love for movies as their own universe (horror/action/superheroes). If you didn't see this but are a fan of girls with cool colored hair, 8 bit jokes, onomatopoeia, bright colors, 1 ups, having crushes, and puns- I would certainly recommend you see it.

4. Inception.
Yeah, I put Inception on my list. I liked it, so what? I was on board. I was ravenous for this to come out. Reading anything I could while trying to avoid any major plot points or spoilers. I saw it twice in the theatre. After seeing it for the first time, I was hesitant to say what I thought about it because I had be waiting with bated breath for the release and didn't want to say I liked it just because I had finally seen it. But the more I thought about it and discussed it and then eventually seeing it again, I was sold. I like dreams. I like film-making. I was taken with the visuals, the story, the sheer scope, and (full disclosure) I love that sound. I don't think it's perfect, but I do think it's great.

3. Red Riding (1974/1980/1983).
I first saw the trailer for this trilogy about a year ago when I saw Hausu at the IFC Theater and I was more than a little interested. I missed the theatrical run but watched them in the comfort of my home. These films are based around the actual events of the Yorkshire Ripper and each film is from the perspective of someone involved in the case. Each film is done by a different director and were shot on different film stocks (16mm, 35mm, Red One Digital) which I think is cool. Lots of twists and turns and everyone smokes a lot so you know how tense it is. These were released via the BBC in 2009, but they ran theatrically in the US starting in Feb. 2010, so I counted them on my list. When I first started doing this, I almost just used these as three separate entries to eat up space. But I didn't. Also, I didn't read the 4 books these were based on.

2. Black Swan.

We arrived not late, but later than I would have liked to see this at the theater. As a result, we took our seats in something like the 8th row. A little too close, I thought. But then after swimming around in this, I came around to our spot. I felt immersed in this film. The intensity builds with such fervor that I was hunched up in my seat. The camera sweeps and whirls like a dancer. Barbara Hershey was Piper Laurie level creepy. Natalie Portman scared me to death. All in all, an onslaught. I would watch this again, but I know it won't be the same. I know when the intensity is coming. I know what to expect. I'll have to sit this one out for a little while before I see it again.

1. Winter's Bone.
Another one I missed in Columbus and then missed when I moved here, I couldn't wait to see this. I was able to catch it on a screener only a couple days before we did the show. That could be one of the reasons it placed at the top of my list, but I think no matter when I saw it, it would've been on here. Strong performances, great story, great soundtrack, and a feeling of claustrophobia make for a complete package. I might have to check the book out to see how it differs, though I doubt it could be much. I'm seeing "True Grit" today and had I seen it earlier, I imagine it would be on this list as well. Both films have similar stories and I'm interested to see how they compare.

Worst Film of the Year: Repo-Men.

I know on the show I said that "Greenberg" was the worst film of the year. But I was pressed for time and this garbage was the furthest thing from my mind. Initially, I thought the trailer for this looked pretty good. I didn't go to the theater to see it, but was excited when Erin got it from Netflix. Needless to say, it's awful. I mostly like Jude Law and Forest Whitaker but they're both horrible. The RZA's role is criminally small. The music is awful. The story is awful. The dialogue is awful. Everything is awful, formulaic trash. I'll go ahead and spoil it for you: IT'S ALL A DREAM. Yeah, seriously. It's a dream. You're welcome. Also, we could not figure out what J. Law was saying during one scene to the point that we had to rewind it and eventually turn on the captions only to find out he was saying "I can't dance the mambo alone." Avoid this movie at all cost.

Mark Freado, Jr. is a co-host on the weekly Junk Food Dinner podcast and he lives in New York now. Presently, he is out of coffee and is torn between facing the blizzard conditions to go get some and just going to sleep.

Keep an eye on the website for more Top 5 lists from JFD alum. And we'll return with a new episode on January 5.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Top 5 Movies of the Year: Parker

5. Machete

"Machete" is a highly enjoyable, but also fairly flawed exploitation throwback flick from Robert Rodriguez. It actually just barely breezed into my top five after a very recent second viewing of it made me realize that even though Machete's highs aren't as high as the ones I experienced in my now #6 movie of the year, "A Nightmare on Elm Street," its lows certainly aren't as dreadfully low. The parts I didn't care for in "Machete" made me leave the theater mumbling "so, what the hell happened to Tom Savini, anyway?" but the lows in "Nightmare" (i.e. that Joy Division kid and the CGI deaths) made me want to punch everyone's faces while peeing on them. Anyway, "Machete" is action-packed, hilarious at times and does bring me back to the glory days of not only the exploitation flicks its paying homage to, but action films in general. (Mostly) gone are the days when Stallone or Arnold would gratuitously blow up 40 or 50 thugs in one scene and still be considered "good guys" who'd get a line of action figures. Now, we have stuff like "Inception" and "Transformers" being passed off as "action" flicks.
Also, Jeff "Le Penis" Fahey gives a great performance.

4. Jackass 3-D

What can I say? I haven't had this much straight up, pure and simple fun watching a movie since ... well, probably since "Jackass: Number Two." Watching the Jackass clan get back together and come up with ways to torture themselves to make us giggle is just fun. If you can watch things like the multiple midget scene from this third installment and not laugh, well, then your cold, dead heart would be better suited memorizing Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics because they apply to you.
At this point, I've been watching watching Jackass for a third of my life, which made the look back at the gang's past and their first Jackass clips over the ending credits, (accompanied by that great Weezer song) a surprisingly sentimental trip down memory lane. It's also been about a third of my life since I've heard a great Weezer song, so that was nice, too.

3. Frozen

I was excited for this movie when it was first making rumblings and while I still had the idea that Adam Green was an "acceptable" director after I saw the first Hatchet movie, which I also found "acceptable." I finally got to watch "Frozen" a couple of weeks ago, just one night after enduring the abortion known as "Hatchet II." Needless to say, I wasn't expecting much from this icy Green installment afterall, but I was quickly glued to the tube as this story unfolded. This film is driven by very believable characters, a believable situation and good dialogue. Then the film hits on so many deep-rooted human fears while these three skiers find themselves trapped on a ski lift, left alone as the workers leave for the week. The simple idea is done in a wonderful, minimalist fashion, as most of the movie is just these three characters dealing with the hopelessness of their situation.
This film is a beautifully effective exercise in fear, tension and atmosphere.

2. A Serbian Film

I'd heard vague things about this movie on message boards and from friends for a while and it really got my interest when people I knew who were horror vets and gore hounds were coming out saying this movie crossed a line or was too much for them. I went into the movie thinking that such a movie would be a cute breeze. Afterall, I consider "American Psycho" light, summer reading.
Turns out, this is absolutely the most disturbing movie I've ever seen. Of course, as a man who knows Asimov's Three Law of Robotics because they apply to his cold, dead heart, that doesn't mean I didn't like this film. This film will forever haunt the far corners of my brain. Like I said on the show, the disgusting things that happen in this film are made so disgusting by virtue of the fact that this movie is made so chillingly well. Great writing, direction and acting culminate in one of the most horrifying nihilistic endings this side of "The Mist."
If you fancy yourself brave and wanna watch this, just remember that when you think things can't get any worse, they do.

1. Toy Story 3

The only logical choice after "A Serbian Film," I suppose. This is just a perfect movie. It'll run you through a gauntlet of emotion and it closes one of the best movie franchises in history out on high note. It's kind of unbelievable how Pixar can hit so many movies out of the park, not just in terms of different films, but I doubt there is any trilogy of films better than "Toy Story." Other trilogies fall short in spots ("Star Wars," "Lord of the Rings") or just completely implode into a pile of crap ("Spider-Man," "Scream"), but "Toy Story" is consistently good, or even, arguably, gets better.

Worst Movie of 2010: Hatchet II

Our ridiculing of Adam Green for his handling of the abysmal failure that is Hatchet II's unrated release has been well-documented on many episodes of the show. To pretend to be a martyr standing up against the MPAA's censorship is just a mammoth douche bag ego move. The reality of Hatchet II's removal from theaters is due to the fact that the movie didn't make theaters enough money to pay their workers to sell popcorn to the non-existent ticket-buyers of "Hatchet II."
Green's insistence that "Hatchet" is "old-school American Horror" is absurd. It's a lame ploy to tug at the nostalgia of us kids who grew up with VCRs and parents who didn't care what we watched on them. In reality, the Hatchet films are to horror what those "Epic Movie" movies are to ... well, movies. "If we get Robert Englund AND Kane Hodder in the same movie, will you like us," Green seems to be begging the audience. "What if we throw Danielle Harris into an already established role and give Tony Todd more lines? What if we make references to other horror franchises being 'real?'"
"Hatchet II" is laughably bad. For a movie set in New Orleans, there's not a single Cajun accent, which I guess is the least of why this movie sucks, but it's also a great example of the insane carelessness of the filmmaker. "Who cares about the acting or story when we have 300 gallons of fake blood?!"

Parker co-hosts Junk Food Dinner like every single week. You should probably know that already. You can check out his almost-never-updated blog here or follow him on Twitter.

To comment on Parker's list, email or just ... leave a comment.
Keep an eye on the website for more Top 5 lists from JFD alum. And we'll return with a new episode on January 5.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Red State teaser totally vague

Kevin Smith has put out the trailer for his upcoming horror flick "Red State." I've learned enough about life at this point to know that being excited and optimistic for a Kevin Smith film is about as dumb a thing as you can do. On the other hand, I can't think of a single bad thing John Goodman has ever done*. This movie, like "Dogma," will no doubt be a shallow, thinly veiled soapbox speech against religion, but that's alright. I liked "Religious" and that didn't have the benefit of potential blood and guts.

*Except that Blues Brothers sequel.

Top 5 Movies of the Year: Jason Frisbie

Top 5 Movies 2010
by Jason Frisbie

Since I only saw six new releases of the many that were released this 2010. I have listed the most notable five of them in order, rated “meh” to “awesome.” (Note: I also saw Inception. Double “meh”)

5. Date Night

I indeed saw this movie. Knowing Tina Fey on "30 Rock" and Steve Carrell of "The Daily Show" and "The Office" if you really want to talk about it, one would think this would be non-stop hilarity. But it falls short. Why? Because a movie executive thought “Hey- wouldn’t it be great if we got two really funny people to play a boring restricted suburban couple?!?” Hopefully, that executive was fired shortly after. If you do watch this film, you will be surprised at the chemistry between James Franco and Mila Kunis as methed-out couple who whore each other out for drug money. Guaranteed, the movie should have been about their date night.

4. Machete
This was a good effort at a new age grindhouse feature, by grindhouse fan-boy: Robert Rodriguez. I like this sort of film to an extent, but rather than nerd-out at the allusions to grindhouse features (i.e. cheesy film music, over-the-top action scenes), I see these less as a tribute and more of an attempt to revive an exact concept that already had its day. Have you ever listened to Amy Winehouse and thought “Yeah, Motown was pretty alright”? Is your next thought “I should keep listening to Amy Winehouse” or “I should check out more Motown”? For me, it’s the latter, and for Machete, I just wanted to watch an original grindhouse feature instead. Besides, Tarantino perfected grindhouse as a cinematic voice with “Inglorious Basterds.”

3. Easy A

Surprisingly smart and funny. The ending was a little hokey, but what’s to be done with a teen rom-com that typically ends with the girl winning prince charming? To be sure, this movie, being smart and funny, approaches said typical ending with a unique charm that changes the tone of teenage rom-coms. Instead of high school being one huge party, ala Can’t Hardly Wait (the most disappointing non-Replacements associated film whilst remaining a Replacements-inspired title for a film). The characters, in "Gilmore Girls" fashion, confront sexual awareness, motives, and cues with a more matured and funny approach, which picks up where Superbad left off, by which I mean the credits don’t roll with a bunch of drawings of dicks in the background. I know: dicks are hilarious, but so is smart humor. And Emma Stone shows the potential to be really hilarious with subtlety and pratfalls, like a female Chevy Chase. In short, I wish I had more teen movies like this growing up, so I could have taken my non-existing high school girlfriends to see them.

2. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
A surprise knock-out, this film actually delivers as the best comic to screen translation of any comic book movie I have ever seen, and I, need I remind you, am a total fucking nerd who will freely indulge in Spider-Man slash fiction just to see if it follows cannon. On that note, Scott Pilgrim proves that you do not need to follow cannon to successfully present a comic book on the screen. If anyone remembers Sin City, you know how close filmmaking came to capturing the pace and tone of a comic, but shot-for-shot didn’t cut it. If anyone remembers Ang Lee’s "The Hulk," you know how far filmmaking falls when they try to adapt comic panel shots. But Edgar Wright has the spastic eye of every-nerd to capture the pace and tone of reading a comic to the screen. He managed to fill each shot with vividness, action, or emotion, with quickjumps that mimicked our shifting, comic-reading eyes, and it worked ten-fold. You can say the ending totally missed the mark and that you don’t agree with having to fight for a girl to make her like you, but the direction, and the visual cues and effects, promoted this movie to the best comic adaptation I have seen yet. (PS, the comic series, six books total, is a good read if you have a free afternoon).

1. True Grit
I love the Coen brothers, but I love them like my own brother—it’s unconditional, but not blind. “'Ladykillers' sucked,” “'Burn After Reading' was dull,” blah blah blah. I know, and Neil Young came out with that “Trans” album. All artists do some really off-the-mark stuff sometimes, but they can also produce a work that rallies their own craft and raises the bar for their peers. So accomplishes "True Grit." Any memories you may have of John Wayne’s original adaptation of the western novel will, unfortunately, not hold as much clout as this film. The Coens seamlessly meld the best of their subtle humor, colloquial quirks, and human struggle into what may be their best mainstream feature. By this I mean: If “No Country for Old Men” was for the Oscar and “A Serious Man” was for themselves, then “True Grit” is their contribution to the tradition of quality American cinema. The characters are not too over-the-top, the pacing will keep you interested, the action sequences are entertaining without CGI; simply, it’s a tribute to what American movies could be if Hollywood were not concerned with summer blockbusters (see: opposite of "Date Night"). Mind you, this is not the Coens being nostalgic for a previous cinema trope, like “Machete,” but showing balance, craft, and a wide-appeal in story-telling on film. It’s a foolish dream, but I genuinely hope this film sparks another renaissance for American film-making, or at least pushes Michael Bay out of everyone’s consciousness.

Bonus List:
Films-from-the-past-year-or-so-that-I-haven’t-seen-and-know-nothing-about Encapsulated Reviews:

Human Centipede: A brilliant adaptation of the classic videogame. 1,000% Atari Accurate

Lottery Ticket: Grown-up Bow-Wow and a cast of dozens star in this tale of boy traveling in a dystopian SoCal to collect the word “Lottery” among thousands of lucky game pieces. Awesome.

The Book of Eli: Hey! Eli wrote a book! And it’s got pictures!

The Wolfman: Finally, someone had the good sense to do a biopic on DJ Wolfman Jack. Anthony Hopkins and Benecio del Toro are in it for some reason.

Hot Tub Time Machine: An uninspired, cut-to-the-chase porn version of "Back to the Future."

Jason Frisbie is a stand-up fellow and occasionally guest hosts on Junk Food Dinner. For more Jason Frisbie, check out JFD5 and JFD14.

To comment on Mr. Frisbie's list, email or just ... you know... leave a comment.
And keep your eyes on for more Top Movies of 2010 lists from your JFD hosts, co-hosts and contributors.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

JFD40: Silent Night Bloody Night, Scrooged, Ernest Saves Christmas

Grab some egg nog and throw another yule log on the fire because it's Junk Food Dinner's End of the Year/Christmas Spectacular!

First we take a look back at the year that was and discuss our favorite (and least favorite) films of 2010.

Then, we dig into three Christmas-themed flicks, up first we have JFD favorite Mary Woronov in the 1974 holiday slasher Silent Night, Bloody Night.

Next, Richard Donner and Bill Murray update A Christmas Carol for the 80's in the yuletide comedy Scrooged from 1988.

And finally, we yuck it up with everyone's favorite bumpkin when we reminisce about Ernest Saves Christmas, also from 1988.

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Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at or leave us a message at 347-746-JUNK (5865).

Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Blubrry or

Thanks for listening!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Should I flip a coin? A coin of the damned?

I've spent the last 2 or 3 hours on the most addictive website since Hot or Not, Flick Chart. If you're not hip to this - and since you're on this website now and not charting your flick, I'll assume you're not - it's a website where you rate movies. Over and over. Forever.

The site gives you two movies, you pick which one you like more. Then, using some ancient Chinese math, it makes your Top Movies of All Time list for you.

Like I said, for the last few hours I've been doing this and it's becoming magically accurate and sometimes difficult. They made me choose between "Office Space" and "Pulp Fiction," man! And then between "Shaun of the Dead" and "The Big Lebowski!"

But then I got a couple of movies to choose between that have made my brain stop working. I can't decide which movie is WORSE, for God's sake! To pick either of these movies as "better" would be to concede that one has some redeeming value at all!

Needless to say, I'm gonna have to look deep within my soul and find out how black it is...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Life, the Universe and Everything


Mark already beat me to posting the Trailer, as he got to see it a week sooner in the theater and thus was able to stop weeping and start mildly functioning again long enough to get to the internet a few days before me. But since this is the film that lives inside my head, and probably everyone's head, and the most anticipated movie of my life, and most likely the most beautiful, profound and important film ever made, I had to post something!!! So here is the first official advance one sheet poster (the previously seen online one with the house, tree and stars is/was apparently just a mock-up used for marketing purposes at a film market).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


How amazing does this shit look? Answer: Real, real amazing. I saw this before "Black Swan" and have been waiting to be able to see it again. It seems pretty possible that Michael could also post this on here with a big gushy entry, but for now I just wanted to put it up.

The Only Reason.

The only reason I would see that "Yogi Bear" movie is if this were the actual ending. Thanks to Mike McClelland for hipping me to this.

Junk Food Dinner Podcast: Episode #39

Junk Food Dinner is back like woah with Episode #39.

This week we get spaced out and naked with Jane Fonda in 1968's Barbarella.

Next, we ask that you kindly take us to your leader before we are up to our dirty Reebok's in shakey, pudding filled aliens in the Polonia Brothers classic- Feeders from 1996.

Finally, we realize that you can't say the word "poster" enough as we discuss the cannibal-zombie-kung-fu epic Raw Force from 1982.

All this plus Nerd News, DVD releases, and more on this weeks JFD. Tune in!

MP3 Direct Download here.

Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at or leave us a message at 347-746-JUNK (5865).

Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Blubrry or

Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We've got a Thor trailer now!

Were you successfully teased by that teaser poster we put up a few days ago? Then prepare yourself! For a full "Thor" trailer has been sent to us from Asgard (read: Hollywood).

This trailer has me a bit more excited than I was before. My thought have been "Well, it's necessary to have a Thor movie leading up to "The Avengers," but it'll certainly be the weak link and it'll mostly just fill the space between "Iron Man 2" and "Capt. America." But this looks pretty cool. We'll see how it turns out in May, though, I guess.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Shape of Junk to Come.

Ladles and jelly-spoons, we are thrilled to bring you a couple announcements about some fine folks we share this little corner of the internet with.

First up, a new contributor to the Junk Food Dinner weblog! Michael Little of "All Clues, No Solutions" will be chiming in from time to time with fresh content and his near encyclopedic knowledge of the weird world of film. Spend some time over at "All Clues, No Solutions" and then wait with bated breath for his entries. They are sure to please.

Second, JFD favorite and occational guest-host Kevin Merryman has finally started a film/tv blog of his own. "Cultural Atrocities" is located here and though still in it's infancy is shaping up real nice. Look for Kevin on upcoming episodes of JFD, but for now, you'll have this to hold you over.

What does the new year have in store for our heroes? Stay tuned and find out. Or tell us if you know already.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Prepare to be teased by Thor poster

We've got a teaser poster for next year's "Thor" movie and it looks totally metal. Go grab some mead and listen to Sigur Ros and Iced Earth (simultaneously) because those will help with the viewing of this poster.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hugh Jackman to rock 'em, possibly sock 'em, too.

Fighting robots that DON'T turn into cars?! I'll bite!

High Jackman will star in a movie about robot boxers. The film is called "Real Steel," but will no doubt be hard to say. Next year, I'm sure thousands of people will accidentally say: "Two for Rill Still, please."

Anyway. This looks like it might be mindless fun. And the broad from "LOST" is in it, so I bet Mark will be happy to see this.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Junk Food Dinner Podcast: Episode #38

On this week's episode of Junk Food Dinner, we discuss three hootenannys of cinema.

First up, we've got 2004's "Lollilove." Released by Troma, this mockumentary starring Jenna Fischer from "The Office" (who also directed) and her then-husband James Gunn ("Slither," "Dawn of the Dead") features a wealthy young couple who set out to cure homelessness via lollipops. The film features cameos by Lloyd Kaufman, Judy Greer and more!

Then we've got "Alone in the T-Shirt Zone." The 1986 comedy/drama centers around a young T-shirt artist named Mike and the horrors of his mundane existence. This experimental flick was directed by Mike B. Anderson who would go on to direct "The Simpsons."

Finally, we look at Italian horror master Mario Bava's final film "Shock" (aka "Beyond the Door 2") from 1977. The film features a possessed kid, a widowed woman and a vengeful Slinky.

This week, we're joined by special guest Laura Skaggs. We also have Nerd News, new DVDs and Blu-Rays and much more!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dahmer vs. Gacy?

What happens when the government starts cloning serial killers and John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer escape to go on a killing spree in Los Angeles? Also, ninjas are involved?

We'll find out when "Dahmer vs. Gacy" comes out on DVD later this month!

I just stumbled upon this while browsing the interwebs and it looks pretty fun.

Batman: Dead End

You don't know this yet, but on the next episode of the show, we're gonna talk a little bit about the short film, "Batman: Dead End." This is the Sandy Collora film that Kevin Smith called the best Batman movie or some such. Of course, he only had Adam West, Tim Burton and Joel Shoemaker to compare it to, so that's not saying much. Either way, the movie's pretty cool. Check it out.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

You'll never forget the name of ... Goldust

WWE wrestler Goldust (aka Dustin Runnels) has announced via Twitter that he'll be directing, producing and appearing in an upcoming film called "The Fire Witch."

It's been well documented on the show that I'm a fan of wrestlers trying their hands in Hollywood (The Rock in "Southland Tales" (JFD5) and Roddy Piper in "Hell Comes to Frogtown" (JFD1) and "They Live" (JFD21)). So, while I'm not sure if I'm totally optimistic for this, I'm definitely interested. Goldust was one of my favorite wrestlers when I watched regularly and WWE's other horror movie production, 2006's "See No Evil" was pretty fun. So this film seems worthy of keeping an eye on.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Junk Food Dinner Podcast: Episode #37

No, you're not hallucinating, Junk Food Dinner Episode #37 is actually here!

This week we see what happens when an all-black army forms to protect their community, only to be corrupted themselves, in the 1975 blaxploitation film Black Gestapo directed by Lee Frost and starring Rod Perry and Charles Robinson.

Then A mercenary attempts to rescue his ex-girlfriend who has been kidnapped by a street gang in the campy action-adventure flick Streets of Fire from 1984 directed by Walter Hill and starring Michael Paré, Diane Lane, Rick Moranis and Willem Dafoe.

And finally, a female high school student masquerades as a boy to get respect as a journalist in the 1985 gender-bending teen comedy Just One of the Guys starring Joyce Hyser, Clayton Rohner, Billy Jayne and William Zabka.

Also, we have Nerds News, this week's DVD and Blu-Ray releases and much more!

*NOTE: Mark's internet crapped out on him halfway through the DVD releases and he had to complete the show via his telephone. We don't address it on the show but that's why there is a dramatic change in his audio fidelity 20 or so minutes in. No big whoop.


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Got a movie suggestion for the show, want to give your opinion on a movie we talked about or just want to tell us we suck? Drop us a line at or leave us a message at 347-746-JUNK (5865).

Also, if you like the show, please take a minute and subscribe and/or comment on us on iTunes, Blubrry or

Thanks for listening!