Weekly Reading Round-Up : 12/24/2017 – 12/30/2017, Special “Fuck You Nick Gazin, We’ll Miss You Jim Baikie” Edition

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I had this nice column all ready to go for you folks this week. We were gonna talk about Chuck Forsman’s Slasher. We were gonna talk about the final issue of Kamandi Challenge. We were gonna talk about the latest magnificent story from Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill in Cinema Purgatorio. We were gonna talk about Simon Hanselmann’s Performance broadsheet. And then a couple of things happened.

The first involves the pathetic aging hipster pictured above, who you’ve probably already guessed, based on his appearance alone, works for Vice. In fact, he’s their art editor, and his name is Nick Gazin. Before we go any further, take a look at this lazy fucking column he wrote : https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/paqaxk/the-ten-best-comics-of-2017

You’re back? Okay, good. Yes, according to Mr. Handlebar Mustache, only eight good comics came out in all of 2017. Three of them were reprints. One was a…

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A Movie A Day #355: F.I.S.T. (1978, directed by Norman Jewison)

Sylvester Stallone is Jimmy Hoffa!

Actually, Stallone plays Johnny Kovak, a laborer who becomes a union organizer in 1939.  Working with him is his best friend, Abe Belkin (David Huffman).  In the fight for the working man, Abe refuses to compromise to either the bosses or the gangsters who want a piece of union.  Johnny is more pragmatic and willing to make deals with ruthless mobsters like Vince Doyle (Kevin Conway) and Babe Milano (Tony Lo Bianco).  Over thirty years, both Johnny and Abe marry and start families.  Both become powerful in the union.  When Johnny discovers that union official Max Graham (Peter Boyle) is embezzling funds, Johnny challenges him for the presidency.  When a powerful U.S. senator (Rod Steiger) launches an investigation into F.I.S.T. corruption, both Johnny and Abe end up marked for death.

Obviously based on the life and mysterious disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, F.I.S.T. was one of two films that Stallone made immediately after the surprise success of Rocky.  (The other was Paradise Alley.)  F.I.S.T. features Stallone in one of his most serious roles and the results are mixed.  In the film’s quieter scenes, especially during the first half, Stallone is surprisingly convincing as the idealistic and morally conflicted Kovak.  Stallone is less convincing when Kovak has to give speeches.  If F.I.S.T. were made today, Stallone could probably pull off the scenes of the aged, compromised Johnny but in 1978, he was not yet strong enough as an actor.  Far better is the rest of the cast, especially Conway, Lo Bianco, and Boyle.  If you do see F.I.S.T., keep an eye on the actor playing Johnny’s son.  Though he was credited as Cole Dammett, he grew up to be Anthony Keidis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The box office failures of both F.I.S.T. and Paradise Alley led Stallone back to his most famous role with Rocky II.  And the rest is history.


Music Video of the Day: Luminary Ones by Rebecca & Fiona (2010, dir by Tim Erem)

Today’s music video of the day comes from Sweden’s Rebecca & Fiona!

To be honest, I nearly picked a different Rebecca & Fiona video for today.  I nearly picked Dance, just because the title went well with how I’m planning on spending tomorrow night but, to be honest, Dance is a seriously dark video and I didn’t want to begin the last Saturday of 2017 on a down note.

So, I picked Luminary Ones, which I actually like a bit better than Dance.  If you know me or if you love French cinema, you will not be surprised to learn that one reason why I like this video is because it reminds me of a Jean Rollin film.

This video was directed by Tim Erem, who has directed videos for Tove Lo, Nick Jonas, and Rihanna.  The haunting cinematography is credited to Staffan Övgård.