Mandy (feat. Nicolas Cage)

Do you like heavy metal, sci-fi, and 80s horror? If so, this is the film for you. And it feels more genuine than pandering to its demographic. It feels good. Almost every shot fades to black, and fades in from black. The psychedelic touches don't go too far, turning the film into an incomprehensible mess. Mysteries built in the first half of the movie are resolved in the second half, but getting there is dreadfully slow with an emphasis on Dread.

And then you figure out Mandy is yet another Cage revenge/Cage saves girl movie. Despite Cage's wonderful performance within the powerful flex of director Panos Cosmatos, this is just a fancied-up version of every other Cage film of the era. I really thought there was going to be a stronger sci-fi element, but there wasn't. Despite a wonderfully immersive presentation, Mandy hardly qualifies as a horror film. So with its merits, I will rank it higher than the other Cage's other revenge films. But gosh, I was really hoping for something more original.

  1. Raising Arizona
  2. Leaving Las Vegas
  3. Red Rock West
  4. Adaptation
  5. Pig
  6. Birdy
  7. Wild at Heart
  8. Joe
  9. National Treasure
  10. Guarding Tess
  11. Snake Eyes
  12. Mandy

  13. Dog Eat Dog
  14. Color Out of Space
  15. Mom and Dad
  16. World Trade Center
  17. Peggy Sue Got Married
  18. Zandalee
  19. Prisoners of the Ghostland
  20. City of Angels
  21. Willy's Wonderland
  22. Captain Corelli's Mandolin
  23. Bangkok Dangerous
  24. Drive Angry
  25. Army of One
  26. Lord of War
  27. Gone in 60 Seconds
  28. Matchstick Men
  29. Vampire's Kiss
  30. Con Air
  31. Face/Off
  32. Trapped in Paradise
  33. The Boy in Blue
  34. Honeymoon in Vegas
  35. Kill Chain
  36. Deadfall
  37. Amos and Andrew
  38. Moonstruck
  39. Tokarev
  40. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  41. Knowing
  42. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
  43. Bringing Out the Dead
  44. The Family Man
  45. Stolen
  46. It Could Happen to You
  47. 8mm
  48. The Frozen Ground
  49. Left Behind
  50. A Score to Settle
  51. Pay the Ghost
  52. Primal
  53. Dying of the Light
  54. Grand Isle
  55. Looking Glass
  56. Arsenal
  57. Between Worlds
  58. Ghost Rider
  59. Trespass
  60. The Humanity Bureau
  61. Next
  62. The Weather Man
  63. 211
  64. Fire Birds
  65. The Croods

Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

I may have read the rest of Bukowski's novels, this being his last which tells his life story as lived by Henry Chinaski. He's an old fashioned drunk ass hole. Everything is ugly from the view of this ugly man. And there's a definite poeticism to it. There's a reason Bukowski's so famous.

He doesn't waste his reader's time, regardless of what contempt he might feel for anyone who might pick up his books. Bukowski's writing was likely the only good thing he did. And there's something special about that. Every page is indulgent and juicy. And the scenes of the first and last time his dad beat him come out like songs. Dark songs before their time.

We could talk for ever about separating art from their artists, and I think every case is different. Often art is the good that comes from the most depressing of realities and delusions. To create is to channel the good and move forward, connecting the quiet within to the nastiness on outside.

The high points in Bukowski's story are mostly about getting in fights and peeping on his neighbors, masturbating in the bushes. And one who can make others feel happy for them in such moments must have a gift. That's my piece on Bukowski. You've heard of him and you already have an opinion.

Dying of the Light (feat. Nicolas Cage)

This 2014 film tells the story of an old CIA agent who can't give up the search for the terrorist Muhammid Banir, who broke off part of his ear. But it's not quite what you'd expect. The film starts off with an edgy speech by Evan Lake (Cage), on why you should choose to be in the CIA. The reason is American Values, whatever that means.

Lake was told 20 years ago to get off the case of Banir, who was dead as far as anyone knew. But of course, Lake couldn't give up and couldn't stop thinking about it. And eventually he comes down with a case of frontotemporal dementia, causing sensory distortions that will continue to get worse until they kill Agent Lake, a condition he tries to hide from the CIA.

With this condition you might expect to see some severe performances from Cage like in Matchstick Men and Bad Leutenant, but that's not the case here. Lake's young protege finds evidence that Banir is alive, but dying of some form of anemia. So said protege, for no logical reason, risks his career to help a dying agent go after his dying nemesis. Aside from being a criminal, the only thing Lake has against him is the missing piece of his stupid ear.

In Romania, they meet the only female character in the film, who also happens to be a past love interest of Cage's character. Like 80% of these Cage films. The stakes are pretty low here, and viewers are never given a reason to care about any character. I might dare to say the characters in this film are stupid. Lake is in the CIA, so he doesn't have a family or anything. He's just an anonymous agent who's going to die soon anyway. After a weak action scene and a vh1-esque hallucination scene, it all ends with someone getting poked in the eye really hard.

So this movie isn't very good. There are some mildly oppulant bad parts, but nothing really worth seeing.

  1. Raising Arizona
  2. Leaving Las Vegas
  3. Red Rock West
  4. Adaptation
  5. Pig
  6. Birdy
  7. Wild at Heart
  8. Joe
  9. National Treasure
  10. Guarding Tess
  11. Snake Eyes
  12. Dog Eat Dog
  13. Color Out of Space
  14. Mom and Dad
  15. World Trade Center
  16. Peggy Sue Got Married
  17. Zandalee
  18. Prisoners of the Ghostland
  19. City of Angels
  20. Willy's Wonderland
  21. Captain Corelli's Mandolin
  22. Bangkok Dangerous
  23. Drive Angry
  24. Army of One
  25. Lord of War
  26. Gone in 60 Seconds
  27. Matchstick Men
  28. Vampire's Kiss
  29. Con Air
  30. Face/Off
  31. Trapped in Paradise
  32. The Boy in Blue
  33. Honeymoon in Vegas
  34. Kill Chain
  35. Deadfall
  36. Amos and Andrew
  37. Moonstruck
  38. Tokarev
  39. The Sorcerer's Apprentice
  40. Knowing
  41. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
  42. Bringing Out the Dead
  43. The Family Man
  44. Stolen
  45. It Could Happen to You
  46. 8mm
  47. The Frozen Ground
  48. Left Behind
  49. A Score to Settle
  50. Pay the Ghost
  51. Primal
  52. Dying of the Light

  53. Grand Isle
  54. Looking Glass
  55. Arsenal
  56. Between Worlds
  57. Ghost Rider
  58. Trespass
  59. The Humanity Bureau
  60. Next
  61. The Weather Man
  62. 211
  63. Fire Birds
  64. The Croods

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

This is the novelization of a BBC miniseries written by the famous Neil Gaiman. It has a lot of the comic book style characters in the fantastical other side of London. Richard Mayhew, a young and somewhat passive businessman gets to Neverwhere on accident, after saving the life of a young heiress named Door, with the special ability to open any Door, or make a Door appear anywhere.

It's a good power, but there are evil forces who intend to threaten and trick her into opening a Door that should not be opened. There's lots of danger and excitement. Written years before Gaiman's famous American Gods, there's some bloat in this book as a means to show how clever the writing is. And it's really clever, entertaining stuff. I think anyone can get into this book, no matter what their usual taste is. There's mystery, monsters, danger, slow burning romance, and violence among sexiest and the ugliest of warriors. Check it out.

Pizza Inn of Frankfort Kentucky

Until today I'd never been to a Pizza Inn, and I'd only ever seen them in Kentucky, so I do consider it a regional chain. Though I could be wrong. I ordered for pick-up since Justine and I were traveling with our dog, but the buffet looked really good. The lady on the phone gave me three options for crust: Thin, New York, or Italian. So I chose Italian, whatever that means. The ratio for our large cheese was 2.5cr/2ce/2ch.
Their Italian crust gets a 2 out of 5 for me. With a slight cardboard vibe, the flavor just wasn't there, aside from the garlic butter on the handles. While it all held together, the crust was dry and could've used more chew or more grease, and definitely more yeast.
Their sauce gets a 3 out of 5. While somewhat thin, the tomato base was sweet and the herbs were more savory than floral. For overall quality, Pizza Inn gets a 4. It was very satisfying to devour. =
For style, Pizza Inn also gets a 4. They had a game room, and my pizza plus side of red sauce was only $11. What a deal! All the stuff on their buffet looked really good. I wonder why the lady on the phone didn't mention their pan pizza? I don't know. She made me spell my last name and somehow remembered PJ as JP. What can you do? With a final score of 65%, I'd like to give Pizza Inn another shot, especially with their buffet. I can't believe it took me 35 years to try it.