Category: Articles


friday-13th-crocsAdmit it, at least once you’ve caught yourself watching one of the Friday the 13th movies and enjoying it. And what’s not to enjoy? They’re awesome… OK, most of them are awesome… some of them are awesome… they’re actually pretty stupid.
But by God, they’re entertaining!

Long before Rebecca Black, there was one person who struck fear into our hearts when we heard “friday” mentioned- and that person was none other than Jason Voorhees.
I grew up with these films, so they’ve always meant a lot to me, even if I never actually thought they were any good. Or scary. Or original. But there’s something to be said about the series’ tenacity, constantly trying to reinvent itself, failing miserably, and yet still thriving for 10 movies before a spin-off and a reboot. No matter how old or smart I get and no matter how much I realize how absurd these films are, well, in the words of Whitney Houston: IIII-e-IIII will aaalwaaays looove yooooouu!

Leading up to Halloween, I’ve been appropriately binge-watching the aforementioned horror franchise starring our second favorite masked killer. It would probably be more appropriate to binge-watch the Halloween movies, though. Well, maybe if there’s time.

But for now, here’s a blow-by-blow analysis of the series from 1980 to 2009. Yes, 2009. I didn’t leave out any movies.

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma…

"Here I come to wreck the daaaaay!"

“Here I come to wreck the daaaaay!”

1. Friday the 13th (1980)
Before I ever saw any of the Friday The 13th movies, I was a Boy Scout in New York (long after Jason “took” it) . One of my very first camping trips was to a campgrounds in New Jersey called Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, where they apparently filmed the first movie. Yeah- I didn’t sleep that weekend. When I got home, I had to seek out the movie. And I did. And it rocked. The twist had long been spoiled by one of my other all-time favorites, Scream, and I had ended up seeing a couple other Friday the 13th movies before I ended up seeing this one, but I still loved it. Here we learn of Jason Voorhees’ origins of how he was a mentally challenged boy with a physical deformity who drowned at Camp Crystal Lake when the counselors weren’t paying attention. And what does his mother do? Well, she does what any loving mother would do under the circumstances, she grieves and forgives the counselors, going on to lead an otherwise uneventful life… ha, just kidding. She slaughters everyone. Happy Mother’s Day! The film was clearly banking off the success of John Carpenter’s masterpiece, Halloween, even using another scary day as the title/ setting. Despite not being very good and actually being pretty slow at times, audiences ate it up when other films around the same time failed to do so. While still decent and much more solid than most of the sequels would be, the film lacked what Halloween had however in a scary villain with an iconic image (among other things like interesting characters, provocative ideas, but I digress) but that would soon change… in Part 3.
And it gave us Kevin Bacon… so that’s cool…

friday the 13th kevin bacon

Easily his best role until “Wild Things”

2. Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
Now we’re talking. After the first film ended with the surprise that Jason was alive the whole time, he ages rapidly from a little boy to a full-grown man in the course of two months to be the villain in this film. Because characters in these movies never learn, they decide to open a camp on the same lake that Camp Crystal Lake was situated with even more victims- I mean counselors. One of which is Ginny, a character finally worthy of the best “final girls.” More likable and realistic than anyone in the first film, Ginny takes the time to try to figure out Jason’ psyche, which is what this film actually does the best of any of the films: it treats Jason like an urban legend come to life. They really got the campfire story tone down with this one, complete with an actual scene where a character more bland than mayo on white bread tells the tale of Jason and his *ahem* unique relationship with his mother. They treat Jason as if he was a real, developmentally challenged man who was sheltered by his mother and then snapped after her death. And not really understanding what death is, he continues his mother’s work as a killer dressed up as the guy from The Town That Dreaded Sundown. What an odd homage.
So this horror franchise is doing pretty well. I guess it’s time to shit the bed. After all, what could be worse than wearing a potato sack on your head?

My mama told me I could be anything I wanted for Halloween... so I'm a potato.

My mama told me I could be anything I wanted for Halloween…
so I’m a potato.

3. Friday the 13th Part 3 (1982)
Oh crap, it’s this one.
In the 80’s, Hollywood thought it would be a good idea to take all their upcoming horror movies and release them in 3D. Why? Who f***ing knows. The point is, there’s a lot of long, awkward shots of random objects coming into the foreground for no reason like TV antenna, a yo-yo, farm equipment, and then eventually an eyeball on a string.

"Eye" see you! Thank you, I'm here all week, my wife won't let me come home...

“Eye” see you! Ha! Thank you, I’m here all week… my wife won’t let me come home…

This movie sucks. This is when the franchise went from mediocre into the realm of lazy. Here we start to see the one-dimensional character tropes that we will get used to seeing in the films to come: the nerdy character who likes a hot character but dies before anything happens, the dickhead, the character who inexplicably has a dark past involving Jason despite having no other relation or connection, and the sex-crazed couple whose only personality trait is an active libido. I know that last one is common for any slasher flick, but Jesus, do they really hammer that one in. Not to mention the film’s cheap effects, even by franchise standard. The noticeable padding on the actor playing Jason, the thugs lifted straight from a bad music video, and the overall lack of creativity. Even without 3D effects, this is the plainest looking film of the series.
I could forgive the film for being lazy if it weren’t so dull, which is really the film’s biggest crime. The best thing this film has to contribute is the introduction of Jason’ iconic hockey mask… yay.

Did I mention this movies was in 3D!?

Did I mention this movies was in 3D!?

4. Friday the 13th: Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman are in this one! (1984)
No, seriously. Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman are in this one, look it up!
Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter made a promise in its title that it obviously didn’t keep, but I give it credit for trying. In this one we have the obligatory group of teens coming out to the lake to stay the weekend (even though they get there on a Tuesday, seeing as this film takes place right after Part 3 which takes place right after Part 2, but whatever. Details aren’t important in this franchise) but we also have a family that lives next door, one of which is a fresh-faced Corey Feldman before he became this Corey Feldman:

I’m sorry you had to see that…
Anyway, this film, like that previous film, doesn’t do anything to advance the Jason mythology other than introduce Feldman as Tommy Jarvis who will be our lead character for the next two films as well. But it’s still a fun film with the distinction of having the most nudity of any of the Friday the 13th films, so imagine how happy the 12-year-old me was upon discovering this film.
I’ll also say that, before Kane Hodder showed up and completely owned Jason, this was the first film where I feel they really nailed the physicality of Jason. In Parts 2 & 3, he was just a big guy who killed people. But Ted White created a unique physicality that would carry over onto other films, making him more interesting than just a masked killer.
Speaking of physicality, I wasn’t lying. Crispin Glover is in this movie and it’s everything you ever dreamed it would be.

5. Friday the 13th: Ha- Just Kidding, There’s More (1985)
After I got home from Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco, before I ever saw the first one, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning was the first Friday the 13th movie I ever saw (and on HBO too, with all the violence and nudity intact, so that was cool). I was so ready to see Jason Voorhees kicking ass! And guess what? Jason isn’t even in this one… God damn it…
I love how they brought the franchise back, not after several years of failing to make a buck, but the very next year. It’s still one of the better films, though. It has high hopes of character development by showing Tommy years later joining a halfway house, still haunted by that night that happened an unspecified amount of time ago. He says no more than 30 words in the entire movie, instead relying on facial expressions and kicking the shit out of people with karate… seriously. Uncommonly for these films, I found myself kind of rooting for some of these characters which made the finale, dare I say, actually a little intense? Of course there’s a shitload of peripheral characters who exist solely to become butcher meat, which takes away from the film. When you introduce a character at a random point in the movie only to be immediately killed, it feels like a waste of time. The other films did this of course, but when you have characters with such potential that get less screen time because you have to introduce two hillbillies who are so cartoonish that they were almost two-dimensional (although to be fair, the hillbilly woman in question was f***ing hilarious) it becomes distracting. I just wish we had more time with these characters, especially when they’re characters who we have established have flaws or serious issues. More time with good characters would have made the film more forgivable when you find out that Jason this whole time was actually a paramedic who was the absentee father of one of the boys at the halfway house who was killed by another boy at the house for being way too Goddamn annoying (but also sort of endearing. RIP Joey). I still love it though for its generous amount of nudity, some more creative kills, and the coolest dance scene/ death scene you’ll see all day:

6. Sorry About That, We’ll Bring Back The Real Jason (1986)
The idea with the last one was that Jason was actually killed in Part IV and the next film would feature Tommy taking over as the killer due to childhood and current trauma. I’m glad they went back to form because Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI is, in my opinion, the best film in the series. And not just for bringing back Jason, it’s actually a good movie. Despite the initial silliness in the way Jason is brought back to life by being electrocuted by lightning after his corpse is impaled with a fence pole, the movie is actually pretty good. The lead characters are likable and well acted, the plot actually moves forward with little to no distractions, there are cool stunts (and even a car chase) and, most importantly, a kick-ass soundtrack. We find Tommy, no longer following the “Ryan Gosling School Of Acting With No Dialogue,” who is now a more energetic, proactive hero. He meets up with Megan, one of the counselors at the newly reopened camp, and who also happens to be the daughter of the sheriff of the town that has since changed its name from Crystal Lake to Forest Green. They manage to make the sheriff strict, but also understandable in his actions and later even likable. The chemistry between Tommy and Megan is remarkably strong for a film like this, and even the other counselors are more likable than most of the other franchise’s counselors. Plus, Jason is back! In the other films, you could still believe he was just a persistent mortal if you suspended disbelief. This time, he’s in full-on zombie mode and this would go on to create some of the cooler moments in the franchise. Of course the film still has the clichés of two characters having sex while the power goes out and then one of them is killed while the other listens to loud music, but this time it works because the scene ends with an RV flipping over a fallen tree followed by Jason punching the door off and walking out as it catches fire. F*** yeah!

"Mad it, ma! Top o' the world!"

“Mad it, ma! Top o’ the world!”

7. Friday the 13th: The One Where Jason Fights A Telekinetic. I’m Not Even Kidding (1988)
Oh, Jeez. Another example of the franchise trying something new and failing, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood is one of the more tedious entries. This time, the lead character is a telekinetic who feels guilty over the death of her father which she was responsible for when she was a little girl. Now she’s all growed up and it’s time to go back to their house on (you guessed it) Crystal Lake with her doctor who thinks it’s a good idea to face the problem head on where it started. Of course we find out later the doctor is a selfish dick who only wanted to provoke and study her telekinetic abilities. But that’s not all, we have a group of friends getting together at the house next door for a surprise party only to all end up being murdered… surprise! All of these characters include the tropes I mentioned earlier. The nerdy guy who’s into film or costumes or something who likes a girl who’s only personality trait is sex who tries to get into the pants of the main guy who likes the main girl who turns out to be a telekinetic. You know, the usual stuff. Not to mention the other characters where they just double up on the tropes. We have about an hour of this bullshit before Jason finally faces off against our resident telekinetic, Tina. So it’s basically Jason vs. Carrie. Because that’s what we all wanted to see. There’s not much else positive to say except that some of Jason’s stunts at the end are impressive considering they were all done by Kane Hodder himself (the best Jason who makes his debut in this film) and at the end we’re treated to a sweet explosion following Jason’s unmasking which, by the way, is also sweet.

"You know, gingivitis is the number one cause of all tooth decay." -Ace Ventura

“You know, gingivitis is the number one cause of all tooth decay.”
-Ace Ventura

8. Jason Kills People On A Boat And Eventually Makes A Brief Stop In Manhattan (1989)
If the last movie’s reinvention of the series didn’t work, don’t worry, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan doesn’t work either. In an attempt to take Jason out of the rural setting and put him in an urban setting, they center the films around a graduating class who takes a cruise from Crystal Lake all the way to Vancouver doubling for Manhattan. Yeah, seriously, f*** Vancouver. You get the gist already, shy girl with past relating to Jason, nerdy guy, hot girl, girl with guitar, black guy, dick teacher, and a partridge in a pear tree. The draw of this film though was to see Jason in Manhattan, but when your film is an hour and a half long and Jason doesn’t even step foot on Manhattan until and hour and two minutes into the movie, you know something’s wrong. The glaring lack of NYC was due to budget constraints, but that’s not all that suffered due to low-budget. Jason’s makeup looked like a cheap rubber mask which is even more upsetting considering how awesome his face looked in the last movie. There’s the obligatory scene in Times Square to show that they actually filmed for a few hours in NYC, and that’s about as authentic as you get. As a resident of NYC, it was clear that the writer had never been to the city. The characters were cartoons, everyone they run into is either a rapist, a mugger, a junkie, or all three. Not to mention the whole finale revolving around toxic waste that floods the sewer at midnight (and turns old Jason into little boy Jason again. Um… OK…) despite the fact that it looked less like a sewer and more like the hallways under a dam or something, and that this doesn’t actually occur in the city. The whole movie was a cheap ploy to get people’s butts into seats after box office returns started taking a serious dive. Overall it’s a real waste of time, save for one moment involving Jason and a few thugs in Times Square.

Jason boombox kick

“F*** yo boombox!”

9. Jesus Christ, Another One? (1993)
The producers remembered how disappointed you were when you found out Jason wasn’t actually Jason in Part V, so in Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, the producers decided to makes sure Jason was in the whole thing,,, even if you never actually see him until the last five minutes. Son of a BIIIII-
Sorry about that, I blacked out. Where was I? Oh, yeah- this movie sucks. They thought it would be a good idea to randomly introduce Jason’s sister and concoct some poppycock about how only a Voorhees can kill a Voorhees. Sure. I’ll take the word of a shady motive-less bounty hunter who takes payment in the form of broken fingers. He also says only a Voorhees can save a Voorhees, so Jason is looking for one of the three remaining Voorhees to transfer his soul into. A soul int the form of a weird black worm gremlin that transfers from body to body throughout the film, causing the murders not to be done by Jason, but by random, out-of-shape supporting characters possessed by Jason. Super. Honestly the film might have worked as a standalone B-movie, but as a Jason movie with no Jason that waited 9 Goddamn movies to introduce this mystical mythology, it falls flat on its face. Even the stuff with Jason at the end isn’t that great because he’s constantly throwing the hero around instead of killing him because the director told him not to.
There’s a cool cameo from Freddy’s glove at the end but the movie isn’t worth it to get to that point and you can YouTube it anyway.

And that’s it. The final Friday, so to speak. Jason would never live to kill another day…

humor funny jason friday the 13th calendar friday jason voorhees 1920x1080 wallpaper_www.wallpaperhi.com_54

Just kidding! There’s still more money to be made!

10. Jasonnn Innn Spaaaaace! (2001)
Imagine you’re watching a bad episode of Babylon 5 and Jason Voorhees shows up. That’s Jason X.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear: Jason X is not the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but it is the dumbest movie I’ve ever seen. This is the moment where the producers threw up their hands and said “f*** it, let’s remake Alien: Resurrection but with Jason Voorhees.” “Brilliant,” said another producer as they plummeted to their deaths because they were driving while stoned off their ass. Fortunately for us, we still got Jason In Space, and by God it’s miraculous. This movie knows what it is probably better that we do. In a move that screws up the entire timeline set by Jason Goes to Hell and Freddy vs. Jason, Jason is cryogenically frozen by the government after every attempt to kill him has failed. After a mishap at the lab, he is frozen along with Rowan, the impossibly hot, young scientist. When both of them are thawed out in the future, all hell breaks loose and it’s Goddamn glorious. There are fights with cyborgs, there’s naked holograms, there’s future technology that makes no sense, and that guy from 300 who is informed that this is, in fact, Sparta- right before being kicked into a giant hole. Not only is there all of that, but after a particularly nasty fight with a cyborg, Jason is brought back by future technology and turned into Uber Jason! That’s- that’s not even my name for him, that’s his actual designation. I don’t know if it’s on purpose or accidentally, but the film is also really funny, which unfortunately undermines any attempt at tension or horror… but who gives a shit? It’s Jason Voorhees iiiin spaaaaaccee!!!! Easily the best of the “horror icon in space” genre, this film is in no way great, but it’s still one hell of an entertaining film.
P.S. There’s a moment where a female cyborg’s nipples fall off. You can’t make this shit up.

Jasooon innn spaaaace!

Jasooon innn spaaaace!

11. Finally! Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
This movie may have come 15 years too late to an audience who no longer gave a two-shilling shit about Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees, but it still delivers the goods… I think. I’m not actually sure if this movie is good or not. I still haven’t figured out if this movie follows the same tired formulas because it’s a poorly written piece of crap, or if it follows the same tired formulas in a satirical fashion. The film sort of reuses the setup of (the far superior) New Nightmare of Freddy losing his power because he’s been forgotten, only this time he releases Jason Voorhees from hell to start killing again so he can take the credit and people will remember him. And then they go their separate ways until the end. Huh… OK. Either way, it definitely still has its moments. Working as both a Nightmare On Elm Street ad Friday the 13th movie simultaneously, this movie gives us the stuff we’ve come to love (or rather tolerate) from both franchises until the final showdown between the two titans of horror. Was it a solid fight? Of course it was. Would it have been even cooler if it took place in Freddy’s dream world and we got to see both Freddy and Jason at their strongest as opposed to just Jason who is clearly bigger and stronger? Definitely. But it’s still a passable film that satisfied our thirst, even if it didn’t completely quench it.

The film we deserve, but not the one we need right now...

The film we deserve, but not the one we need right now…

12. “Is It A Remake Or A Reboot?” “Does It Matter?” (2009)
Michael Bay has made a habit of remaking horror movies that no one wants to see remade that end up actually being halfway decent. The Texas Chainsaw remake was actually not half bad, I actually prefer the Amityville Horror remake, and Jackie Earle Haley was well cast as Freddy Krueger. Unfortunately for Friday the 13th fans, this was not exactly what we were looking for. This remake was far too modern to speak to the sensibilities of the original franchise. The originals, while violent and full of nudity and flat characters, had a kitschy quality to them. Never to be taken too seriously and never unreasonably dark. This film took itself a little too seriously and I found myself having a hard time enjoying this film. I do however like the idea of the mash-up of the first four films. The first film is the flashback (where Pamela Voorhees is the killer and is beheaded), the second film is the prologue (where Jason starts killing wearing the burlap sack on his head), the third film is the main portions (where Jason has his signature hockey mask), and the small throwback to the fourth film with the male character looking for his missing (translation: dead) sister. Unfortunately, it’s hard to root for anyone in this movie. It’s one thing to not care if a character dies like in the originals, but when you’re hoping for the characters to die, that’s something altogether unforgivable. Plus it seems that every female character is topless at one point and they all end up dying, proving yet again that the Friday the 13th franchise is an allegory for abstinence. Bottom line: you have sex, you die. It’s like these movies were written by the gym teacher from Mean Girls.
Not to mention the dialogue- dear Lord Jesus, the dialogue. There’s a sex scene near the middle of the movie where the male character says, I shit you not, “Your tits are stupendous.” That’s an actual line from this movie. And he doesn’t stop, he continues to compliment every detail of her breasts. Now I did like Jared Padalecki’s and Danielle Panabaker’s characters simply because they’re talented, likable actors, but that wasn’t enough to make up for the rest of the characters.
I do however have one glowing praise for the film and that’s Jason. Derek Mears, who has made a career as a stuntman and physical actor, created a Jason unlike the previous Jasons but just as effective. He moved with more speed and agility than previous Jasons, creating a more threatening Jason than we had seen in most previous films.

Crouching Jason, Hidden Tiger

Crouching Jason, Hidden Dragon

The Friday the 13th franchise is a confusing mess of a series ranging from good, to bad, to silly, to “what in all f*** is going on?” and yet we still watch them year after year. Maybe it’s the gratuitous violence. Maybe it’s the copious amount of nudity. Maybe it’s because we like familiarity and every Goddamn movie is exactly the same. Or maybe it’s the most heartwarming mother-son relationship since Norman Bates and his mother. Who knows?

"Mama always said, life is like a box of murder..."

“Mama always said, life is like a box of murder…”

Until next time, lock your doors, don’t go camping, and see you next Friday the 13th.

Ki ki ki, ma ma ma…

Anyone who regularly follows Game Of Thrones knows what happened at the end of last night’s episode. For anyone who is not caught up, beware spoilers.

joffrey shake

The face of a true leader.

Well, it happened. After three seasons and two episodes of rage building up in all of us, that rage was finally put to rest when George R. R. Martin showed us he actually liked his fans and gave them something to chew on.

Ladies and gentlemen… Joffrey of House Baratheon and House Lannister… is dead. Cue Pharrel’s “Happy.” Fans are rejoicing, people are dancing in the street, and the overall reaction is resounding joy. I know I should feel nothing but happy, but the truth is I don’t know how I feel. Once again, Game Of Thrones has gotten a complicated reaction from me in a way I haven’t felt with another show.

Let’s back up though, the whole episode was one big cavalcade of Joffrey’s douchiness. Chopping up Tyrion’s honestly thoughtful (though clearly condescending) gift, tossing around money like it grew on weirwood trees, and putting on a comical performance of the War of 5 Kings acted out by dwarves in absurd costumes. After forcing many guests to watch a re-enactment of their loved ones deaths played for laughs, he continues to humiliate Tyrion by asking him to fight the other dwarves. When Tyrion cleverly refuses and in the process makes a veiled slight towards Joffrey, Joffrey demands Tyrion to be his cup-bearer and does everything from pouring wine on his head to purposely dropping and kicking the cup. For the first time we see Sansa show a kindred compassion towards Tyrion and help him out by retrieving the cup, the same Sansa who had to watch a dwarf comically re-enact her brother’s terrible demise.

After all this, Joffrey starts eating his wedding pie and asks for wine to wash it down, and Tyrion obliges. Joffrey continues being a complete dick in shining armor, but soon he starts choking an eventually collapses. He starts convulsing and turning purple, he vomits up blood and bile, his eyes lose focus, blood and other fluids starts spurting from his nose, and with one final tremble of his arm, he accuses Tyrion. And there, being cradled in his mother’s arms, a 17-year-old kid dies horribly.

Joffrey-dead

“Look at how shitty I am!”

Of course I’m happy that no one has to face his sadistic tendencies anymore. Of course I’m happy that justice has been served for all the reprehensible acts he has committed. Of course I’m happy that people like Sansa and Arya will feel some form of justice has been served. Of course “Aquarius (Let The Sunshine In) was playing in my head. But am I happy that a kid was murdered horribly during his own wedding? I don’t know.

Throughout the show I have seen Joffrey as a psychopath with no humanity whatsoever. He was vile and cruel, and was a monster who had to be slayed. Nothing he did was ever forgivable and in the world of Westeros, the only true justice would be to pay the price. The iron price. But last night, in his final moments, I saw him as something else. It took his violent death for me to finally see him as what he was: a kid. A bully for sure, but a kid nonetheless.

Think of the worst bully you ever encountered or perhaps saw in another film or TV show. Now imagine he was given all the power in the world, was never reprimanded by his parents, never had to face the consequences for his actions, and never felt any obligations to do the right thing. He had the power to do whatever he wanted, and already being a douchebag, his existing sadistic tendencies drove only blossomed into full on murderous psychopath. We know as a kid he had these tendencies, but they were never treated or discussed. So they went untreated and that seed only grew inside him.

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No caption can properly convey the glory of this moment.

I’m not saying that anything he did is excusable, far from it. No matter what happened, if he couldn’t learn then he had to pay. In some ways, justice has been served, I’m not denying that either. But I can’t say I’m happy that he’s dead. I can’t relish in the death of a character who not only died so horribly, but a character who could have been different had his issues been approached early on. But his mother never tried to better him, she only told him how wonderful he was and only started to question him when it was too late. The same mother who had to sit helplessly as her child died in her arms. Not to mention his father who recently has felt a sense of worthlessness at not having accomplished anything or done anything for the crown noble or heroic enough for the history books.

Don’t get me wrong, I hated the character and I think there’s a special place in the Seven Hells for him. I mean, after all, the aforementioned bullies may have killed some nerds had there been no consequences, but Joffrey actually went there. He was still a murderer and admitted to Sansa that he would eventually rape her. But I still don’t think he was evil, I think he just wanted what he wanted and didn’t care what anyone said. He even showed signs sometimes that he clearly had no idea how to run a kingdom, but that didn’t bother him, it bothered him that people saw weakness in him. A very human trait. Still a shithead though. Little brat.

Photo-Jul-09-10-34-21-PM

Pretty… pretty much everyone.

I won’t tell you you’re wrong for relishing in Joffrey’s demise, your feelings are justified. I’m only expressing my own confusing reaction to last night’s episode. I finally got what I had wanted ever since he had the butcher’s boy killed in the second episode, but not that I got it I feel unsatisfied. The show did a wonderful job at showing that even the most reprehensible, sadistic, vile people are just that. they’re still people. And to bring us so close to a person’s agony like that, it doesn’t matter who they are, it’s hard to watch.

One thing I’ll miss for sure is Jack Gleeson’s gleefully sadistic performance. Rarely do we get a villain we love to hate so much and Gleeson brought a pathetically whiney douchebag quality to the character that made his scenes so delicious… let me rephrase that. I’ll miss hating him, I’ll miss wishing that he would die, and I’ll miss calling him all sorts of words that I would never say in the presence of a lady.

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Farewell, ye olde douche.

Anyway, those were my thoughts, I sort of wrote as I went, sorry it took so long. And one more thing- oh never mind.

Goodbye Joffrey, you little shit.

2014-oscars-ellen-posterIt’s that time of the year again. It’s Oscar time.
Last year started pretty decently, with a few great ones sprinkled here and there, but ended with a bang. However, as a whole, it paled in comparison to 2012 which was consistently great. Whereas that year had a lot of snubs and safe nominations, this year, I gotta say, the nominations are overall quite satisfactory.

Let’s jump right in.

Best Picture: Nominated are American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years A Slave, and The Wolf Of Wall Street.
For the most part, that ain’t bad. It’s great to see an effects heavy film like Gravity getting love from an institution that rarely celebrates such large pictures. However, when the film is this phenomenal, it’s hard to ignore. Also deserving of its spot is The Wolf Of Wall Street which was arguably the fastest three hours of the year. Dallas Buyers Club was great but came as a surprise, seeing as most people are praising the performances but not so much the movie, I for one thought it was one of the best of the year. Other films that were great but maybe not perfect tens were Captain Phillips, 12 Years A Slave, Philomena, Nebraska, and Her. The latter three were sweet, clever films, the type that you might see nominated normally, but could have easily been lost in the sea of bigger, more widely seen films.

movies-gravity-sandra-bullock_1Then there’s American Hustle. What a bad, bad movie. However surprisingly, the film seems to have split people down the middle. Some see it as a tight, clever, expertly acted, written, and directed film. While others, myself included, see it as the inauthentic, unfocused, misguided, mess of a film it is. Most time with a film I don’t like, I at least understand why others like it. Like 12 Years A Slave. It didn’t quite feel fresh or powerful enough for me, but I know that others who have seen less movies or who have different sensibilities when it comes to certain subject matters or execution see it as something moving and difficult to watch. I get that and can’t necessarily say they’re wrong even if I disagree.
But American Hustle, when people say it had a terrific screenplay or it was so well directed, I can’t help but feel I was watching a completely different movie. The abundant improv buried what might have been a decent screenplay, and director David O. Russell’s frantic, in the moment style of directing may have worked for a raw, realistic movie like The Fighter or a movie about bi-polar disorder, but here it leaves the film with no clear-cut place to go, and when you get there, it isn’t earned from where we came.
DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUBAnd while some of the performances, namely Christian Bale, were dedicated and became lost, the unlikable characters and the gaudy, intense style of the hair, makeup, and costumes made it impossible for me to like anyone or believe that I was watching something more than actors playing dress up.
Just a bad, bad movie.

OK, rant over.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón for Gravity, Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave, David O. Russell for American Hustle, Martin Scorsese for The Wolf Of Wall Street, and Alexander Payne for Nebraska.
Ignoring the sheer technical feat of Gravity, what Alfonso Cuarón was able to do, keeping an emotional and thematic core in the movie without it being buried by the impressive CGI, is an art in its own. Scorsese on the other hand, is 71 years old and directed Wolf with the energy of a newcomer trying to prove himself. Throw in Payne with his off-beat style and McQueen with a history in fine art showing through his film, you’ve got a nice line-up here.
And then there’s David O. Russell.

Best Actress: Amy Adams for American Hustle, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Sandra Bullock for Gravity, Judi Dench for Philomena, and- big effing shock- Meryl Streep for August: Osage County.
blue-jasmine_0Sandra Bullock had to act against a green screen and she still gave one of the most impressive, fearful, and heartbreaking performances of the year.. Cate Blanchett on the other hand, was fast and furious in a movie with a surprising lack of car chases. What should have been a total bitch was given a tragic sense of sympathy by the incomparable Blanchett. Dench gave a very relatable, sweet performance and Meryl Streep is Meryl Streep. What the f*** else do you want me to say?
And then there’s Amy Adams. I’m thrilled Amy Adams is finally nominated in the lead category, I’m a fan of anything she does… except for this one.

Best Actor: Christian Bale in American Hustle, Bruce Dern in Nebraska, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street, Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years A Slave, and Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club. Yes, the guy from Ghosts of Girlfriends PastSahara, Fool’s Gold, and Failure To Launch is now an Academy Award nominated thespian.
But to be fair, he was excellent in what I think is his best performance to date in a year with two other great performances, Mud and The Wolf Of Wall Street. Giving him a run for his money is the coked up, booze ridden, sex addicted Leonardo DiCaprio as Charlie Sheen in The Wolf Of Wall Street. Honestly, I’d be happy with either of these actors winning. Bruce Dern gave a surprisingly reserved, subtle performance considering his filmography, however his character was definitely more a prominent supporting character to Will Forte’s (totally underrated) lead character. So it almost feels like he took the spot from another actor, especially in a year with several killer lead performances from men. Chiwetel Ejiofor, much like the lead in a certain other recent slavery film, was as good as he could be in his role, but was overshadowed by a slew of supporting characters that stole the limelight.
wolf_wall_street3And then there’s Christian Bale. I’ve seen him play many a bad guy and make him likable, like Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, so I wonder why such a good performance left me feeling cold an uninterested?

Best Supporting Actress: Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine, Julia Roberts in August: Osage County. Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years A Slave. Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle, and June Squibb in Nebraska.
Lupita Nyong’o… good Lord. Such a tragic character brought to life by such a talented newcomer. She was so good, in fact, that I think the movie would have been better if the movie were about her. Sally Hawkins was a nice surprise despite her great performance, but was another actress overshadowed by the powerhouse, and arguably more memorable, Cate Blanchett. June Squibb was certainly the scene-stealer of Nebraska, and it’s nice to see in actress in her twilight years is still capable of having a memorable, breakout performance. And Julia Roberts is Julia Roberts, she was practically designed to look good on the red carpet.
And then there’s Jennifer Lawrence. I adore Jennifer Lawrence, but you can’t tell me that not only could another actress have played it just as well, but that if she was completely cut out it would have made a difference at all. It’s frustrating that such an easy, unimportant, forced, forgettable performance is getting accolades when her far superior, emotionally resonant, unforgettable performance in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire never had a shot at getting recognized.

????????????Best Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips, Bradley Cooper in American Hustle, Jonah Hill in The Wolf Of Wall Street, Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club, and Michael Fassbender in 12 Years A Slave. And the winner is Jared Leto…
Fine, fine… I’ll go on. This is Jared Leto’s award to lose. His fierce, heartbreaking performance is one to celebrate, especially when he’s representing an age and a person that was initially looked down upon. Fassbender on the other hand has been on the edge of a nomination for a while and finally heard his name called. What’s interesting is that many saw his character as pure evil whereas I saw it as more than that. I saw him as a man stuck in a loveless marriage to Sarah Paulson (another underrated performance) in which he has no control, and takes it out on his slaves, but not before getting pissed drunk beforehand. He’s constantly making a fool of himself and torturing his saves almost to prove a point, usually out of anger or the liquid devil. Either way, it was a great performance, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think he could do better. Jonah Hill, the guy from Accepted and Superbad, the guy who dressed up as a hot dog and had an obsession with drawing male genitalia has now been nominated for his second, second Academy Award. And you know what? I think he earned it. And Barkhad Abdi was memorable and believable as the lead Somali pirate, but he should count himself lucky to even be nominated.
And then there’s Bradley Cooper… sigh. Is it me, or did every actor nominated for American Hustle give a better performance in a different movie this year?

HERBest Original Screenplay: Eric Singer and David O. Russell for American Hust– nope, I can’t do it. Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine, Spike Jonze for Her, Bob Nelson for Nebraska, and Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack for Dallas Buyers Club.
Is there any doubt that Spike Jonze is gonna win? His screenplay, while not perfect, was clever and heartwarming. Not to mention original and a little frightening as to where our world is going. Woody Allen is at it again with his swift, snappy screenplay, Bob Nelson wrote a sharp screenplay with a nice throwback to traditional America complete with people we’ve all known and met, and Borten and Wallack wrote a screenplay that moved nicely but never let it get in the way of characters designed for great performances.
And then there’s American Hustle. This nomination is the only proof I have that the movie even had a screenplay.

?????????Best Adapted Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight, Billy Ray for Captain Phillips, John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave, Terence Winter for The Wolf Of Wall Street, and Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope for Philomena.
Philomena
had a surprisingly smart and witty screenplay, but in a subtle, more accessible way so you’re not overtly aware of just how gosh darn well written it was. I’d like to see this take it, especially to see Steve Coogan win for a movie he was all around great in, acting, writing, and producing. The Wolf Of Wall Street on the other hand was just so full of life and well-developed characters that you should hate but couldn’t help love. But the sheer dramatic depth of 12 Years, and the long history of the notoriously well written Before trilogy could come in for an upset. As for Captain Phillips, it was really Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass’ movie to take by the horns and make incredible.

Cinematography was always gonna go to Gravity, but I’d also like to see Roger Deakins finally win for Prisoners or for The Grandmaster to win for its smooth camerawork. Editing could go to the very in your face American Hustle or it can go to the reserved, meticulous Gravity or kinetic Captain Phillips. Production Design and Costume Design should go to The Great Gatsby but could just as easily go to the just as elaborate, but somehow more in your face American Hustle or the era capturing 12 Years A Slave. Makeup could go any way. Even though I didn’t see it, I’d love to see Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa win just to mix it up a bit. Best Original Score is Steven Price’s to lose for Gravity, but it could go to the classic sound of Saving Mr. Banks or the legend himself, John Williams for The Book Thief, because John Williams in John Williams. Best Original Song goes to Frozen. Next category. Sound Mixing and Sound Editing are up in the air, but I’d like them to go to the ear shattering Lone Survivor or the more reserved Gravity and All Is Lost.

The-Great-Gatsby-15Best Visual Effects. OK, now we’re in my territory. A little upset at the absence of Pacific Rim, an otherwise mediocre movie but one that was undoubtedly a visual spectacle, and Man Of Steel whose final Act alone should have warranted a nomination. However, despite how good some of the other nominees are, The Hobbit: The Desolation Of SmaugStar Trek Into Darkness, and even Iron Man 3, the award was never not going to got to the most impressive visual film since AvatarGravity. That only worries me because the abundance of the technical awards it’s sure to win could hurt it’s chances in the more prestigious Picture and Actress categories.

Now for the fun part, the part where I get to bitch and moan (aside from how much I already have) and talk about the stuff everyone can’t wait to complain about:

THE SNUBS!

savingmrbanks51e6c3601025b-618x400Let’s start big and angry. No nomination for Tom Hanks for easily one of his greatest performances to date. Probably even his best since Saving Private Ryan or even Cast Away. The last ten minutes of this film are so tense and so powerful, that I was actually brought to tears. Tom Hanks proved in Captain Phillips that he’s not just the guy who makes classic cameos on SNL, but that he’s one of the best actors of multiple generations and that he’s still capable of disappearing into a character the way he has so famously done before.
And while his lack of a nomination for Saving Mr. Banks  is more understandable, the lack of a nomination for co-star Emma Thompson is not. Another cold, unlikable woman being give n a tragic understanding and even sympathy by the immensely talented Thompson. A strong, funny, and even heartbreaking performance that was overlooked. And though his name was absent from Oscar buzz, the snub for Colin Farrell as her father is no more upsetting. He gave one of his best performances and it was painful to watch his descent.

The-Worlds-End-Simon-PeggThe same could be said for any number of the leading men this year who gave killer performances. The aforementioned Hanks, Robert Redford who was totally screwed after playing one of the most challenging and thankfully impressive roles of the year in the dialogue-free All Is Lost, Simon Pegg in a role that’ll have you pissing yourself laughing and then getting caught up in the loneliness of his character, Joaquin Phoenix who had to act against a faceless character in Her (not to mention Scarlett Johansson who with this and Don Jon had a remarkable year that was completely ignored), even the dark horses like Hugh Jackman for Prisoners, Michael B. Jordan for Fruitvale Station, Oscar Isaac for Inside Llewyn Davis, etc.

The lead category was so crowded that even actors in supporting roles were overflowing. Jake Gyllenhaal was the best I’ve seen him as the dedicated cop in Prisoners (he was my choice to win until I saw Jared Leto), Sam Rockwell as the hilarious scene-stealing water park owner in The Way Way Back (as well as scene-stealing co-star Allison Janney), Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Dane DeHaan who all in a way supported each other in their respective segments in The Place Beyond The Pines, and the aforementioned Colin Farrell.
As for supporting, I was also kind of hoping for some love for Jennifer Garner who is also the best I’ve seen her in Dallas Buyers Club.

o-LONE-SURVIVOR-TRAILER-facebookThe year was so packed that some movies were either completely shut out or received a pitiful one of two nominations, like the powerful and different The Place Beyond The Pines, the nail-biting and emotionally taxing Prisoners, the mature and surprisingly moving Mud, the gut wrenching, tension filled, hard to watch Lone Survivor, the nerve-racking send up to classic 70’s horror films: The Conjuring, the informative and emotional Saving Mr. Banks, and the expectedly tightly written, stylishly directed, and classically hilarious The World’s End. Plus many of the blockbusters this year that were much better than many were expecting like Catching Fire or The Hobbit which were both better than their predecessors. Not to mention all the technical awards that The Great Gatsby was screwed out of. Cinematography, Visual Effects, Editing, Sound Mixing and Editing, Original Score, Original Song, etc. It was practically designed to win all of those awards.

As well as some technical awards for films like Furious 6Thor: The Dark World, Elysium, or Sharknado– just kidding.

So it sounds like I’m bitching again her in the snubs, but that doesn’t stop me from being mostly pleased with this year’s nominations.

So to recap:

What I hope will win:
Best Picture: Gravity, but as long as Cuarón wins Director, I would love to see The Wolf Of Wall Street win Best Picture.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Best Actress: Sandra Bullock or Cate Blanchett
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey or Leonardo DiCaprio
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto

What I think will win:
Best Picture: 12 Years A Slave
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett
Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto

Oscars, I have spoken!