Weekly Reading Round-Up : 06/24/2018 – 06/30/2018, Happy Endings?

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Four series I’ve been following from their inception  — in the case of two that means for a couple/few years now, for the other two just a handful of months — wrapped up this past week. But did they wrap up succesfully? That is the question —

Okay, it’s probably a cheat to include The Beef #5 in this column given it hit shelves the Wednesday before last, but my shop didn’t get their copies until this week, so it counts as a “new comic” as far as I’m concerned — and it’s an awesome one, at that. Things don’t go so well for our guy Chuck — in fact, hopefully it’s not giving too much away to call him “Ground Chuck” at this point — but that doesn’t mean his alter ego doesn’t live on. This issue was grotesque and unnerving even by this series’ standards, but it…

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Existential Exploitation: BOBBIE JO & THE OUTLAW (AIP 1976)

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I discussed filmmaker Vernon Zimmerman in a post on his UNHOLY ROLLERS back in January. Zimmerman wrote the script (but did not direct) for 1976’s BOBBIE JO & THE OUTLAW, which on the surface is just another sex’n’violence laden redneck exploitation film. Yet after a recent viewing, it seemed to me Zimmerman was not just delving into exploitation, but exploring something more: disaffected youth, gun culture, the cult of personality, and violence in America, themes that still resonate today.

Former child evangelist turned rock star turned actor Marjoe Gortner is Lyle Wheeler, a drifter who enters quick draw contests and idolizes Billy the Kid. Lyle’s a hustler, as we find out as he pulls into a gas station and steals a Mustang from a travelling salesman. Lyle outruns a police car hot on his tail, causing the cop to go off the road, and revs into the next town, where…

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Portraits In Everyday Hopelessness : “Troubled Mankind Of The Modern South”

Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

It’s hot down south.

Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, they tell me. Hot enough to melt the ice pack wrapped around little Jimmy Bob’s broken shoulder. Hot enough to send those armadillos scurrying across the blacktop really fast. Hot enough to make you do something crazy.

Veteran cartoonist Jeff Zenick, who’s made a habit of turning up in interesting places doing very interesting things when you least expect it, is probably the perfect person to capture the essence of what makes those run afoul of the law in Dixie do what they do simply because his astute observational skills not only capture every detail of a person’s face, but also what informs every line, every wrinkle, every cut, every bruise on it — in short, he draws real people that have been through some real shit. There is a tinge, I suppose, of the exotic…

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One Hit Wonders #16: “In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry (Pye Records 1970)

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British band Mungo Jerry soared to Number One on the pop charts not just here in America, but all over the world with their joyous skiffle-rock ode to summer fun “In The Summertime”:

Mungo Jerry at the time of their smash success were Ray Dorset (vocals, guitar), Colin Earl (piano), Mike Cole (bass), and Paul King (banjo, jug). Members came and went rapidly, but Dorset was always the one constant. The huge international success of “In The Summertime” led to a U.S. tour, and though the Jerries never scored another hit, “In The Summertime” remains a perennial on Classic Rock radio, especially at this time of year.

Something I always wondered was where on Earth did they come up with the name Mungo Jerry. So I did some intense research (ok, I looked it up on their Wikipedia page) and discovered the band was named after a poem in T.S…

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Music Video of the Day: Moonlight by Lil Xan feat Charli XCX (2018, dir by Austin Peters)

When I watch this video, I immediately think of despair.

The sleazy motels.  The empty swimming pools.  The landscape of endless emptiness.  It’s all very American and yet it’s also a world that’s inspired some of the greatest American films ever made.  Just look at some of the shots and tell me that you don’t see the spirits of Harry Dean Stanton and Dennis Hopper hanging around in the background.  There’s a beauty in the ugliness of it all.


International Weirdness : “Dark Forest”

Trash Film Guru

I honestly feel halfway guilty about including a film shot only about a six-or seven-hour drive from my own house as part of my occasional “International Weirdness” series here on this site, but when you live in Minneapolis and the flick in question was made in Winnipeg, well — that’s how it goes, I guess. There isn’t much geographic distance between our towns, but there is that US/Canada border.

Winnipeg’s independent film scene has been fairly robust in recent years, as most know — comparisons to the 1990s “Toronto New Wave” have abounded — but our northern neighbors like their genre stuff, too, and 2015’s Dark Forest, brainchild of writer/director Roger Boyer, seeks to do something a little different with the classic “slasher” premise, namely : deconstruct it and turn it on its head at the same time. How best to do this? Well, how about by making it…

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Midnight Snack: THE MAN WHO CHEATED HIMSELF (2Oth Century-Fox 1950)

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THE MAN WHO CHEATED HIMSELF made it’s TCM debut last Saturday night on Noir Alley, hosted by “The Czar of Noir” Eddie Muller. This is a ‘B’ film I’d never heard of before, and since you all know how much I love discovering new/old ‘B’ movies, I stayed up past the midnight hour to give it a watch (which I usually do on Saturday nights anyway, being a Noir Alley fan!).

The film doesn’t waste any time, quickly introducing the main characters and getting right into the story. Thinking her husband is planning to murder her, rich San Francisco socialite Lois Frazer guns him down in cold blood directly in front of her lover, Homicide Lt. Ed Cullen. Ed dumps the body at the airport to make it look like a robbery/murder, tossing the murder weapon off the Golden Gate Bridge. Then he takes the lead in the investigation, along…

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