Max Clotfelter’s “The Elements Of Rough,” Volume Two : If You Didn’t Hate Family Get-Togethers Before —


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I don’t know what the fuck you can do with two bucks anymore.

Not only can you not got a beer with it, much less anything more interesting like, say, a hit of acid, you can barely get a candy bar or a goddamn Slim Jim. Two bucks, seriously, ain’t shit.

Max Clotfleter could probably get away with charging a lot more than that for his latest self-published mini, The Elements Of Rough, Volume Two — but that’s all he’s asking, and while it’s a tough little item to find outside the Seattle area (although I’m willing to bet John Porcellino’s Spit And A Half distro will have it up for sale sooner or later), it’s absolutely worth whatever effort you have to put in to track it down — as well as, of course, its two-dollar cover price.

The second in Clotfelter’s occasional series designed to answer the…

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Peter Bagge’s Libertarian “Credo”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

I’ll say one thing for the proverbial “third act” (actually, it might be more like the fourth or fifth) of Peter Bagge’s cartooning career — he picks some interesting subjects for his “graphic biographies.” From Margaret Sanger to Zora Neale Hurston to, now, Rose Wilder Lane, the women whose stories he relates have led full lives full of adventure, controversy, and accomplishment. Whether or not Bagge himself is the best person to be recounting their exploits is an open question — particularly in Hurston’s case — but it’s clear that he views all his de facto protagonists with a tremendous amount of respect, while fastidiously avoiding the easy trap that is dull, hero-worship hagiography.

So, yeah, that’s the good. Or part of it — the other big part being, of course, Bagge’s always-agreeable, “rubbery,” intrinsically eye-catching cartooning which, fair enough, hasn’t really changed or evolved since his Neat Stuff/

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, S2, Ep6, The Missionaries, Review by Case Wright


sabrina

This is the first time in a long time where I rooted for the “villains” to kill off every character.  It’s a hard thing to watch a show you love slowly fail.  It’s like a bad relationship that slouches on from inertia and the inconvenience of setting up a separate bank account.  This is how I feel about CAOS.  I was really hoping that this episode would be the last one, but….not so much.

I would normally describe the director’s technique, but it’s Alex Pillai again and…man it has all the subtlety of a Lifetime MOW.  Not to say that I don’t REALLY like a good guilty pleasure lifetime live tweet, BUT that’s a different animal.  Lifetime movies are supposed to be campy and over the top ridiculous, but CAOS is supposed to bridge comics and realism and instead it’s just giggle-inducing borefest.

The episode opens with Nick being tortured by a guy who looks like a Mormon missionary who is about to chop his hands off.  Oh well, Nick kinda got on my nerves; maybe they’ll have to write a soupy episode featuring Nick titled: Who needs the clap?  Ambrose is still locked up without a shirt doing pull-ups.  This show has more gratuitous beefcake than Arrow season 1 and that is saying A LOT!  I do give Chance Perdomo credit on his abs.  I’m developing my abs and it is a process.  Chance, tip of the hat to committing to the shred!

The “Missionaries”of the episode aren’t really missionaries per se, but they ARE gorgeous blonde angels named Jerathmiel and Mehitable (Spencer Treat Clark and Bayley Corman)! I guess it makes sense that angels would be pretty, but WHOA!  It turns out these angels are avenging angels armed with the latest in …..Ancient Weaponry… wait, what?!  Why?!  Really, why are they armed with crossbows?  Most states just require a driver’s license to purchase any gun you want; let alone what you can get on craigslist.  This just seemed unnecessarily antiquated and dumb like really dumb….really!  Crossbows are heavy, awkward, take a long time load, hard to aim, and are ridiculous.  Bleh.

Jerathmiel and Mehitable spent most of the episode blundering through town trying to kill all of the witches of Greendale.  Why bother?  We already learned in previous episodes that the teenagers are unvaccinated and catch the Chicken Pox.  Just send in Jenny MacArthy’s measles carrying minions into town and you’ll have the whole town on its knees in matter of hours!

Jerathmiel and Mehitable catch most of the witches and start purifying the town.  I guess this says a lot about how the show has degraded because I really rooted for the Angels.  I thought to myself…Self, maybe they could just go full-on Hamlet?!!!!

This main plot is interwoven with the more compelling love story between Wardwell and Adam.  He wants to take her to Tibet.  She is about to accept when the Devil finds out about their escape plan, so the Devil turns Adam in Wardwell’s diner.  REALLY.  It’s really sad, but sets up a great revenge arc for Wardwell that looks MUCH more interesting than the primary storyline.

Jerathmiel and Mehitable have all the witches cornered and even put a few arrow bolts into Sabrina, but the Devil resurrects Sabrina and gets the Angels to renounce God and envelopes the angels in flames.  Honestly, I thought this scene was just plain terrible.  The angels spent the whole episode being intrepid crusaders, but they were easily cowed by a floating Sabrina?!  Really?! It came across as contrived.  The angels were so brave for the entire episode and then… nope.  It was just awful in an awful way, not like Lifetime which is bad in an AWESOME way.

I’m not sure what the show should do or where it should go, but it needs artistic honesty because without it, the suspense withers away like a dried out orange.

 

4 Shots From 4 Wes Anderson Films: Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Grand Budapest Hotel


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Let us all wish a happy 50th birthday to one of the greatest directors working today, Wes Anderson!  Though Wes Anderson may currently live in Paris, he was born and raised in my homestate of Texas.  While Anderson’s films often seem to take place in their own special universe, Bottle Rocket and Rushmore are still two of the best films ever made about Texas.

(Other directors who were either born and/or raised in Texas or call this state home include Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriguez, Terence Malick, Catherine Hardwicke, Mike Judge, Rob Bowman, David Gordon Green, and David Lowery.  Not too bad!)

In honor of Wes Anderson’s birthday, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Wes Anderson Films

Rushmore (1998, dir by Wes Anderson)

Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, dir by Wes Anderson)

Moonrise Kingdom (2012, dir by Wes Anderson)

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, dir by Wes Anderson)

 

Film Review: A Dog’s Way Home (dir by Charles Martin Smith)


I’ll admit it right now.  I’ve never really been a dog person.

That’s the way it’s been my entire life.  According to my sisters, I was bitten by a dog when I was two years old.  Needless to say, I don’t remember that happening but that still might explain why, when I was growing up, I was scared to death of dogs.  Seriously, if I was outside and I heard a dog barking or if I saw a dog running around loose (or even on a leash), I would immediately start shaking.  It didn’t help that, for some reason, I always seemed to run into the big dogs that wanted to jump and slobber all over me.  (“Don’t be scared,” one dog owner shouted at 10 year-old me, “that’ll just make him more wild,” as if it was somehow my responsibility to keep his dog under control.)

As I grew up, I become less scared of dogs but they still definitely make me nervous.  I still cringe when listening to the barking and I still reflexively step back whenever I see a big dog anywhere near me.  Now that I know more about dogs, I have to admit that I feel a little bit guilty about not liking them more.  Knowing that dogs actually blame themselves for me not liking them is kind of heart-breaking and I have been making more of an effort to be, if nothing else, at least polite to the canines who lives in the neighborhood.  That said, I’m a cat person and I’ll always be cat person.  Cats don’t care if you like them or not nor do they blame themselves if you’re in a bad mood, which is lot less of an emotional responsibility to deal with.

With all that in mind, I have to say that I still enjoyed A Dog’s Way Home.  It’s a family film that was released last January, dealing with an adorable dog named Bella.  Bella (whose thoughts are heard courtesy of a Bryce Dallas Howard voice-over) is raised underneath an abandoned building by a cat.  (“Mother cat!” Bella shouts as the audiences goes, “Awwwwwww!”)  When the building is demolished by an unscrupulous businessman, Bella is adopted by Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King).  Lucas works at the VA and Bella is soon a hit with everyone from the patients to Lucas’s mom (Ashley Judd).  In fact, the only people who don’t love Bella are the corrupt animal control people.  They not only declare Bella to be a pit bull but they also say that it’s illegal for her to live in Denver.

In order to keep the city of Denver from putting Bella down, Lucas and his mom make plans to move to a suburb.  However, until they can move, they arrange for Bella to stay at friend’s house, 400 miles away.  Bella doesn’t understand what’s happening.  She just wants to get back home to Lucas.  And, when she hears someone utter the words “go home,” this leads to Bella attempting to do just that.  Escaping from her temporary home, Bella spends the next two years making her way to her real home.

Along the way, of course, Bella has adventures.  For instance, she discovers that humans really suck sometimes.  When a cougar is killed by hunters, Bella adopts and raises the cougar’s child.  (Bella calls her “Little Kitten” and then, after a few months pass, “Big Kitten.”)  She also discovers that sometimes, humans can be okay, like when she’s temporarily adopted by a couple who love her but who just aren’t Lucas.  And, when she’s temporarily the property of a homeless man, Bella learns about the comfort that a pet can bring to someone in need….

There’s nothing surprising about the film but it’s well-done and, like Bella itself, blessed with a genuinely sweet nature.  (I started crying about five minutes into the film and I teared up several times afterwards.)  Though the corrupt animal control officers seem like they stepped out of a bad Disney film from the 60s, the rest of the cast does a pretty good job of bringing some needed sincerity to even the most sentimental of scenes and it’s impossible not to be touched by Bella’s determination to return to Lucas.  It’s a sweet movie, one that can be enjoyed even by someone who isn’t much of a dog person.

Music Video of the Day: Everloving by Moby (2000, dir by ????)


Everloving is one of my favorite songs but, unfortunately, there’s never been an “official” music video for it.  However, we do have this footage of Moby performing the song on British TV and, for me, that’s close enough!

This song always gets to me on an emotional level.  I guess that’s probably true for a lot of people.  I can still remember one night, up at Lake Texoma night.  I was listening to this song and staring at the reflection of the moon on the water.  And, for a few minutes, I felt like I could walk out on the water and if I just kept walking, I would eventually find myself standing on the moon.  It’s hard to explain but it was a transcendent moment.

We’re starting a new month and, for me, a new month is always a chance for renewal.  The struggles of the previous month are over with.  Whatever issues were present in April are gone.  Now, it’s May and it’s time to leave behind everything that came before.  For me, this song is all about that promise of renewal.

For instance, after spending most of April feeling like I was falling behind, I wrote two pretty good reviews on Tuesday — Avengers: Endgame and The Curse of La Llorona.  And, for May Day, I’m going to celebrate the conquering of my writer’s block by buying a lot of stuff that I don’t really need, spending a lot of money on myself, and supporting capitalism in every possible way.  And I’ll probably have this song playing in my head while I do it.

Enjoy!