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November 21, 2017


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DVD Column: Favorite Waste of Time
A DVD reviews column

By: Randy Harward

Greetings, couch warmers, stoners, film buffs and their spouses, equally lazy roommates/companions or weak-ass associates who were unable to assert themselves and gain control of the idiot box. Welcome to the first installment of Favorite Waste of Time, a DVD reviews column for the truly lazy. In a true demonstration of sloth, the IMWT DVD reviews will now manifest in column format, which will either delight or dismay the IMWT hierarchy. : )

Ah, nothing like two illnesses in six weeks' time to provide plenty of DVD-viewing time. Of course, along with said illnesses come copious showers of liquids both chunky and smooth. Still with me? You stalwart, stoic reader, you!

First up this month is a documentary, which can be most fascinating whilst baked. Of course, doin' that would have only exacerbated the malady with which I was stricken (Waaaaaaah!). Good thing The Shape Of Life (Sea Studios/PBS) was downright fascinating on its own, failing to flag over its eight-hour duration (see, I wasn't kidding about the couch time). Summed up, the doc is about a buncha scientists and shit who aim to determine the exact organism from which all life sprang forth. Spoiler alert: it's a SPONGE! Ha! The very same creature that was once used as birth control. How ironic. Honestly, this is a thoroughly engaging documentary and a nice switch from the Croc Hunter repeats. Speaking of which--

The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course (MGM) managed to maintain my interest for the first hour or so, then it...predictably enough...peters out. Sorry, Steve-O, but although you seem at home in front of the camera, your exploits are better taken in 30-60 minute doses and without the ancillary "actors" (where did they find these wieners?). This one was a screener, so there will be no pithy commentary on the special features.

Also from MGM, Y Tu Mama Tambien provided some cheap erotic thrills-- in Spanish, no less! I relied on my dusty Spanish skills to get me through this one and ended up flying by on below-the-belt interest. That said, plot summary is out the window--

Another MGM title, Igby Goes Down, starts Kieran Culkin as a Holden Caulfield-type who drinks, drugs and dorks his way through life--existentialist, blah, blah, blah. That's not to say it's not a great movie...it is...it's just hard to watch a Culkin do Caulfield, initially. Once you get over it, the film grows on you. Highly recommended for purchase.

Y Tu Mama and Igby both cames as DVD screeners--can't comment on the extras aside from mentioning them. Go look on Amazon.com if you're that interested (come on--you know the film is often the only good part).

This, from the Touching Gestures by Unlikely Sources Dept.: Wind-Up Records has put together a Drowning Pool DVD titled Sinema as both tribute to fallen singer Dave Williams and fundraiser. The cause? Williams, by all accounts a generous and kind man, was unable to reach an important goal: he wanted to buy his parents a house when he hit it big. Wind-Up will donate the first $250,000 from sales of Sinema to fulfil that wish. Before any of us start blubberin'--too late.

Ahem.

The Mystery Science Theatre 3000 Collection, Volume 1 (Rhino Home Video) is a quadruple shot of sarcasm centered around four flicks: Bloodlust ("pirates, cannibals and "Mr. Brady"--oh my!"), Catalina Caper (beach babes + flimsy plot, natch), The Creeping Terror (couple-chomping alien) and The Skydivers ("a sky-diving film without the skydivers"). Not much here for the casual fan--good thing MST3K's lot are rabid (and the only ones who'll understand when I say the episodes are two Joels and two Mikes).

Lion's Gate put a trio of films on my pile this month. Octopus 2: River of Fear was the first to play; a giant sea monster seemed just the thing to go with a NyQuil hangover. Now, I could've been grouchy, but this sucked. The plot is so full of holes, it makes my favorite pair of boxers look, well--new. I mean, the goddamn monster dies twenty minutes before the film ends! The final conflict becomes how to escape from the damage done doing the damn thing in. Some 10-watt bulb picked up on this and had the monster come back and glare at our "heroes" before they finally punch its ticket (or did they?).
Beat was next. This one has Kiefer Sutherland and Courtney Love portraying Mr. and Mrs. William S. Burroughs in the story of how the former popped the latter in a drug-induced challenge. Kiefer passes...barely...as Burroughs (and that's probably because it was delightful to see him put a bullet in Love's head). Good enough for a sick day. I'd probably watch it again.

Frailty, on the other hand, is only good once. I'm at a lost to describe the psycho-suspenseful movie without giving up the plot, but suffice it to say it's sufficiently creepy and has enough good twists to maintain your interest. Bill Paxton directed and starred (maybe even scribbled some of the screenplay, if memory serves...sorry, the box is out of reach). Does all right playing a creep--he oughta do it more often. Co-star Matthew McConaughey (sp? Who gives a shit?), however, phones in his performance, even when--shit. Almost fucked it up for ya--

Now--seems like there was more on my plate. Ah, yes...the Music Video Distributors/Eclectic DVD titles. They're always so kind as to fill my mailbox with all sorts of goodies (some of 'em even watchable!). Let's start with the concerts.

The Melvins' Salad of a Thousand Delights was filmed on May 16, 1991 at the North Shore Surf Club, just months before Nirvana broke and made every band in Washington fuckin' famous (temporarily). This, some reckon, was when the Melvins were at their buzzy, nonsensical best. I concur. One of the best damn DVD concerts MVD has sent my way, if not so well produced. Ditto the Butthole Surfers' Blind Eye Sees It All: Live in Detroit, 1985. Great pre-"Pepper" time capsule, lamentable only for the reasons stated above. As for bonus shit, the Melvins has an extra performance of "Antioxidote" filmed at the Off-Ramp in Seattle (same year) and studio footage circa '84. And guess what? Butthole Surfers cough up an extra track from '91 plus audio and photo debris from the dusty archives. There's also a "Butthole Karaoke" feature that's mildly entertaining...especially when the five-year-olds in the household are moved to participate. Guided By Voices' Some Drinking Implied isn't necessarily a concert film as much as it's a yearbook/photo album of GBV and its nucleus, Robert Pollard. We're treated to a menu of archival footage and early GBV stuff...some of it very cool, some of it just--mildly interesting. Definitely not a gold mine, though some GBV fans would argue..

South Park: The Complete First Season (Comedy Central)... if you're a South Park fan, chances are you already own the episodes available on The Complete First Season, either in VHS or DVD format. How could you not? As soon as they were available, you ran right out to buy them: first, the VHS, then the DVDs., then the special compilation DVDs that may have episodes you already owned on DVD, but along with some you didn't already own. Follow? Well, now that Comedy Central has gone to the trouble of bundling all thirteen episodes of the classic inaugural season (who could forget the first time watching "Cartman Gets An Anal Probe?" Sweet memories), you know you're gonna buy it. This time the DVDs come with something better than the joyously rude episode introductions from creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone: commentary, five CDs' worth. CDs, you say? Well, it seems Trey and Matt had a few things to say that Warner Brothers didn't care for. The company refused to put them on the DVD, so they've been committed to that inferior audio format for the extra hassle of synchronizing your DVD player and stereo. Not that it isn't worth it; as Trey and Matt have proven through their films and other TV endeavors, they always have something rude, crude and incisive to say, even about their own creation. Buy this and sell your DVDs and videos to the chump next door. What's his name? Butters? This deserves an A.

Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter looked like a good idea to start with, but sucked big time on first viewing. Since I fell asleep...IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY...I cannot, in good conscience, deliver the poor review I've already written without giving it another shot, gallon of coffee ready. Stay tuned next month to see if I get to gleefully piss on this one (I expect to).

Tackle Happy: The Origins of Puppetry of the Penis is a docu detailing the Uri(nary) Gellers, Simon Morley and David (Friendy) Friend. The Ozzies have turned dick tricks (using the male genitals to form recognizable shapes such as a hamburger and the Loch Ness Monster) into nouveau art. It's altogether mortifying and highly entertaining, as is Geek Maggot Bingo, the Nick Zedd cult horror film starring Richard Hell (yyyyyeah!) and narrated by late-night movie guru/ghoul, Zacherle. With the three ultra-wacko bonus films (Lord of the Cock Rings, Thus Spake Zarathustra and Elf Panties) this ranks as cheesy-cool and a sweet waste of time, hence the name of this column. See you next month.
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