Get Hooked On “Blood And Drugs”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Where I come from, drugs were always considered to be pretty fun — and, for the record, I feel that if consumed responsibly they are — but who are we kidding? Kicking them can be a real motherfucker, and it’s not like the path of recovery isn’t perilous in its own right. And when you’re in recovery, or attempting to begin recovery, on the social and economic margins, the entire enterprise is a hell of a lot trickier than it is for, say, some ne’er-do-well rich kid forced to walk the 12 steps after trashing daddy’s yacht.

Geographically speaking, at least, cartoonist Lance Ward is himself from “where I come from” — that being the Twin Cities, for those not in the know — but he’s clearly had a vastly different “drug experience” than I have, and in his new Birdcage Bottom Books-published original graphic novel, Blood And Drugs

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Dangerous Curves (1988, directed by David Lewis)


Last night, I watched Dangerous Curves.

This was a dumb, dumb film from the late 80s.  Tate Donovan and Grant Heslov star as two college students who lose a Porsche in San Diego and then have to get it back.  Fortunately, the Porsche is the grand prize in a beauty contest so Donovan and Heslov just have to hope that their friend Michelle (Danielle van Zernick) wins.  This should have been fun because it featured a hot car and several hot girls in bikinis but it also featured Tate Donovan and Grant Heslov as our “heroes.”  Donovan plays the uptight college student and comes across like one of the flunkies who helped Ted Kennedy cover-up Chappaquiddick.  Grant Heslov plays the carefree college student who constantly ruins everyone else’s life.  Neither one has the screen presence necessary to make us overlook how stupid their characters are.  On the basis of Dangerous Curves, it’s easy to see why Heslov went into producing and Tate Donovan went into doing character roles in films produced by Grant Heslov.

On the plus side, Robert Stack and Leslie Nielsen are funny in small roles.  And the car is hot and the film features as many bikinis as a typical episode of Miami Vice.  Watching the movie might remind you of the fun you had playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City back in the day.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

Transmissions From The Front Lines Of A National Nightmare : “TrumpTrump Volume 2 : Modern Day Presidential”


Ryan C.'s Four Color Apocalypse

Here’s the thing a lot of purportedly more astute commentators than myself seem to consistently miss : we don’t just live in absurd times, or troubling times, or even dangerous times —we live in grotesque times, and the current occupant of the Oval Office is a living caricature that embodies more or less every ugly aspect of the national character we used to at least have the nominal decency to attempt to sweep under the rug, or to even go so far as to pretend didn’t exist. Now, however, the mask is off : the anti-intellectualism, racism, xenophobia, sexism, self-centeredness, and genuflecting at the altar of violence both casual and savage that at least appeared to be on the way out, or viewed as unfortunate aspects of the past well worth being ashamed of, are back with a vengeance, and celebrated with a kind of gleeful abandon by the former…

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Film Review: Kindred Spirits (dir by Lucky McKee)


Kindred Spirits tells the story of two sisters.

Chloe (Thora Birch) is the older sister.  She’s the one who literally raised her younger sister, Sadie (Caitlin Stasey).  At one point, in the film, Sadie even says that she thinks of Chloe as being her mom.  Chloe got pregnant when she was 17 and had a daughter named Nicole (Sasha Frolova).  Just as Sadie considers Chloe to be her mom, she also grew up considering Nicole to be more of a little sister than a niece.  Once, Sadie even saved a very young Nicole from getting run over by a car.  That’s what a good sister does.

Eventually, Sadie left home.  When Kindred Spirits begins, it’s been a while since anyone has heard from Sadie.  As for Chloe, it’s been a struggle but she’s built a good home and good life for herself and her daughter.  However, Nicole has now reached her own rebellious stage and Chloe’s clumsy attempts to warn her about “making the same mistakes I did” do not make things any less awkward between them.  Chloe has stated as secret relationship with her neighbor, Alex (Blue Ruin‘s Macon Blair) but she doesn’t know how Nicole will react.

And I’m sure that many people would dismiss Nicole as just being a ungrateful brat or Chloe as just being an overly protective mother but both Sasha Frolova and Thora Birch do a very good job of bringing some unexpected shading to their roles.  The details of Nicole and Chloe’s relationship ring true, everything from the awkward conversations to the rare moments of open closeness.

Suddenly, Sadie shows back up!  Both Chloe and Nicole are happy to see her and, when Sadie says that she needs a place to say, they of course invite her to live with them.  At first, everything’s perfect but soon, Sadie is showing some signs of instability.  She wants to be Chloe’s daughter but, at the same time, she wants to be Nicole’s best friend.  She starts dressing like Nicole and even sneaks off to a high school party where she’s thrilled to discover that everyone thinks that she’s still a teenager. Nicole starts to suspect that something might be off about Sadie.  Meanwhile, Sadie is busy murdering people.  Throats will be slit.  Dollhouse furniture will be driven into foreheads.  Blood will be spilled.

In fact, quite a lot of blood will be spilled.  Though this film aired on the Lifetime Movie Network towards the end of October and it’s plot certainly sounds Lifetime-y, Kindred Spirits only ended up on LMN after traveling the film festival circuit.  As such, it’s a bit more graphic than the usual Lifetime film, with close-ups of wounds and plenty of language that ended up getting awkwardly silenced during the film’s airing.  The ending is also considerably darker than the average Lifetime film.

I liked Kindred Spirits.  The story may be predictable but Lucky McKee directs with a lot energy and brings a lot of atmosphere to the film.  Best of all, Birch, Frolova, and especially Stasey all give excellent performances.  It’s nice to see a film with not just one but three strong female roles.  It’s a pity that a few good people end up dying but …. well, that’s family.