Scenes That I Love: Battle At S-Mart From Army of Darkness (Happy Birthday, Bruce Campell!)

Today is an unofficial holiday for everyone who loves a good cult film because the one and only Bruce Campbell is 63 years old today!  Whether he’s battling Deadites or making a cameo appearance in a Coen Brothers film or just being himself, it’s impossible not to love Bruce Campbell.  In many ways, he epitomizes everything that people love about the movies.  He’s a good actor, he’s a good storyteller, and — perhaps most importantly — he’s smart enough not to take himself too seriously.

In honor of Bruce Campbell’s birthday, here’s one of his best moments.  From Army of the Dead, it’s the Battle of the S-mart.  Hail to the king, indeed.


A Dollar and a Dream: THE EVIL DEAD (New Line Cinema 1981)

cracked rear viewer

In 1981, the inspirational British sports drama CHARIOTS OF FIRE edged out Warren Beatty’s sweeping socialist epic REDS for Best Picture at the 54th annual Academy Awards. Bah. I’m here to say THE EVIL DEAD is a better movie than either of them! At the very least, it’s a helluva lot more fun! It features a stunning debut for writer/director Sam Raimi, who, though he had far less money to work with than Beatty or CHARIOTS director Hugh Hudson, demonstrates some mega talent on a mini budget.

Sam Raimi (r) and Bruce Campbell, 1981

Raimi was a movie mad kid from the suburbs of Detroit who experimented with making Super-8 shorts as a teen with his friends, including EVIL DEAD star and cult icon Bruce Campbell . They put together a 1978 supernatural slasher called WITHIN THE WOODS, hoping to attract attention and make it into a feature. Raimi managed…

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What If Lisa Had All The Power: 2018 Emmys Edition

Hi, everyone!

I meant to do this a lot earlier in the month but with the combination of the 4th of July and some other things I had to attend to, I didn’t get the chance until now.  In just a few hours, the 2018 Emmy nominations will be announced.  Hopefully, it’ll be a good morning for Twin Peaks!

Anyway, here’s who and what I would nominate in the major Emmy categories if I had all the power.  Please notice that I just said major categories.  There’s like hundreds of different Emmy categories, the majority of which aren’t ever awarded during the prime time awards show.  As much as I’d love to post every single category, it’s late and I’m not sure that you really care who I think should win Outstanding Art Direction For An Informational Program, 30 Minutes Or Shorter.

Anyway, here are my picks.  Obviously, I’ve only nominated films and TV shows that I actually watched during the 2017-2018 season.  For the most part, I also limited myself to the shows and performers that have actually been submitted for Emmy consideration.  You can see a full list of all the submissions here.

Anyway, here are my nominees.  (Winners are in bold.)


Best Comedy Series



Brooklyn Nine-Nine,

The End of the Fucking World,


New Girl,

Silicon Valley,

Young Sheldon

Best Drama Series

The Americans,

Game of Thrones,

The Crown



Stranger Things,



Outstanding Limited Series

The Alienist,

American Vandal,

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,

Genius: Picasso,

Howard’s End,

Picnic at Hanging Rock,

The Terror,

Twin Peaks: The Return

Outstanding Television Movie

(I cheated with this category.  Jesus Christ Superstar was submitted in the category of Outstanding Variety Special.  I felt it belonged here and since it’s my list, I went with it.)

Cocaine Godmother,

I Am Elizabeth Smart,

Jesus Christ Superstar,

Psych: The Movie,

Sharknado 5,

The Tale,

USS Calllister (Black Mirror)

When Love Kills: The Falacia Blakely Story

Outstanding Reality Competition Program

The Amazing Race,

The Bachelorette,

Big Brother: Celebrity Edition,

Dancing With The Stars,

Hell’s Kitchen,

Project Runway,


World of Dance



Best Actor (Comedy)

Bruce Campbell in Ash Vs. Evil Dead

Donald Glover in Atlanta

Bill Hader in Barry

Pete Holmes in Crashing

Alex Lawther in The End of the Fucking World

Andy Samberg in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Best Actor (Drama)

Jason Bateman in Ozark

Tom Ellis in Lucifer

James Franco in The Deuce

Ed Harris in Westworld

Donald Sutherland in Trust

Jeffrey Wright in Westworld

Best Actor (Limited Series)

Antonio Banderas in Genius: Picasso

Daniel Bruhl in The Alienist

Darren Criss in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Tyler Kitsch in Waco

Kyle MacLachlan in Twin Peaks: The Return

Jimmy Tatro in American Vandal

Best Actor (Movie)

Matthew Broderick in A Christmas Story Live!

Dule Hill in Psych: The Movie

John Legend in Jesus Christ Superstar

Al Pacino in Paterno

Jesse Plemons in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

James Roday in Psych: The Movie

Best Actress (Comedy)

Jessica Barden in The End Of The Fucking World

Melissa Barrera in Vida

Alison Brie in GLOW

Zooey Deschanel in New Girl

Justina Machado in One Day At A Time

Ella Purnell in Sweetbitter

Best Actress (Drama)

Claire Danes in Homeland

Claire Foy in The Crown

Rose McIver in iZombie

Krysten Ritter in Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Keri Russell in The Americans

Evan Rachel Wood in Westworld

Best Actress (Limited Series)

Hayley Atwell in Howard’s End

Natalie Dormer in Picnic at Hanging Rock

Jennifer Ferrin Mosiac

Anna Friel in The Girlfriend Experience

Sarah Gadon in Alias Grace

Louisa Krause in The Girlfriend Experience

Best Actress (Movie)

Alana Boden in I Am Elizabeth Smart

Laura Dern in The Tale

Parisa Fitz-Henley in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance

Kelly MacDonald in The Child In Time (Masterpiece Theater)

Maya Rudolph in A Christmas Story Live!

Catherine Zeta-Jones in Cocaine Godmother

Best Supporting Actor (Comedy)

Andre Braugher in Brooklyn Nine Nine

Brian Tyree Henry in Atlanta

Marc Maron in GLOW

Stephen Root in Barry

Henry Winkler in Barry

Zach Woods in Silicon Valley

Best Supporting Actor (Drama)

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones

Noah Emmerich in The Americans

Brendan Fraser in Trust

James Marsden in Westworld

Zahn McClarnon in Westworld

Matt Smith in The Crown

Best Supporting Actor (Limited Series)

Tyler Alvarez in American Vandal

Miguel Ferrer in Twin Peaks: The Return

Robert Forster in Twin Peaks: The Return

Michael Horse in Twin Peaks: The Return

David Lynch in Twin Peaks: The Return

Finn Wittrock in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Best Supporting Actor (Movie)

Corbin Bernsen in Psych: The Movie

Brandon Victor Dixon in Jesus Christ Superstar

Aldis Hodge in Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Jason Ritter in The Tale

Jimmi Simpson in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Skeet Ulrich in I Am Elizabeth Smart

Best Supporting Actress (Comedy)

Stephanie Beartriz in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Suzanne Cryer in Silicon Valley

Sarah Goldberg in Barry

Rita Moreno in One Day At A Time

Zoe Perry in Young Sheldon

Hannah Simone in New Girl

Best Supporting Actress (Drama)

Summer Bishil in The Magicians

Lena Headey in Game of Thrones

Margo Martindale in The Americans

Thandie Newton in Westworld

Aubrey Plaza in Legion

Tessa Thompson in Westworld

Best Supporting Actress (Limited Series)

Penelope Cruz in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Laura Dern in Twin Peaks: The Return

Dakota Fanning in The Alienist

Judith Light in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

Julia Ormond in Howards End

Naomi Watts in Twin Peaks: The Return

Best Supporting Actress (Movie)

Sara Bareilles in Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert

Ellen Burstyn in The Tale

Michaela Coel in USS Callister (Black Mirror)

Anna Gasteyer in A Christmas Story Live!

Anjelica Huston in The Watcher In The Woods

Letitia Wright in Black Museum (Black Mirror)

Best Guest Actor (Comedy)

Bill Burr in Crashing

Josh Hamilton in Sweetbitter

Lee Majors in Ash vs. Evil Dead

Wallace Shawn in Young Sheldon

Danny Trejo in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Gerald Webb in Barry

Best Guest Actor (Drama)

Michael C. Hall in The Crown

C. Thomas Howell in Marvel’s The Punisher

Matthew Modine in Stranger Things

Denis O’Hare in American Masters

Jimmi Simpson in Westworld

Jonathan Tucker in Westworld

Best Guest Actress (Comedy)

Gail Bean in Atlanta

Rashida Jones in Portlandia

Nasim Pedrad in Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Sheridan Piece in One Day At A Time

Elizabeth Perkins in GLOW

Wrenn Schmidt in Sweetbitter

Best Guest Actress (Drama)

Jodi Balfour in The Crown

Donatella Finocchiaro in Trust

Marlee Matlin in The Magicians

Lily Rabe in Legion 

Diana Rigg in Game of Thrones

Mageina Tovah in The Magicians

Halloween Havoc!: BUBBA HO-TEP (Vitagraph 2002)

cracked rear viewer

Don Coscarelli, the man who brought you the PHANTASM series, scores a bulls-eye with BUBBA HO-TEP, a totally unique film based on Joe R. Lansdale’s novella. Lansdale is well known to fans of horror fiction for his books and short stories in the filed as well as other genres (crime, westerns, even comic books). Coscarelli’s adaptation is a delightful blend of horror and humor, and a bittersweet reflection on aging, if not gracefully, then with courage.

Bruce Campbell (ASH VS EVIL DEAD) stars as Sebastian Haff, former Elvis impersonator who may or may not really be The King. He believes he is, and that’s what matters. He’s stuck in a Mud Creek, Texas rest home, confined to a walker and battling a weird growth on his pecker. People at the rest home are dying, as you’d expect in a place like this, but under some strange circumstances that’re causing Elvis…

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4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Sam Raimi Edition

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 is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

This October, I am going to be using our 4 Shots From 4 Films feature to pay tribute to some of my favorite horror directors, in alphabetical order!  That’s right, we’re going from Argento to Zombie in one month!

Today’s director: Sam Raimi!

4 Shots From 4 Films

The Evil Dead (1981, dir by Sam Raimi)

Evil Dead II (1987, dir by Sam Raimi)

Army of Darkness (1992, dir by Sam Raimi)

22 (2009, dir by Sam Raimi)

2015 In Review: 16 Good Things I Saw On Television

Last night, as I was trying to write up my annual list of the good things that I saw on TV during the previous year, I realized that I was struggling a bit to come up with enough entries to justify doing a list.  The more I thought about it, the more apparent it became that I watched a lot less TV than usual last year.

(Though I did manage to watch a lot of Lifetime movies…)

Furthermore, when I do think about what I saw on television last year, a lot of my memories deal with being annoyed.  I find myself fixating on those terrible Liberty Mutual Insurance Commercials and that stupid advertisement where they wouldn’t stop saying, “The Tobin Stance…” and especially that Taco Bell commercial with those horrible hipsters, Mary and Dominic, talking about how much they love breakfast tacos.


But, that said, there were still a few things worth praising!  (Hope is never totally lost…)  And here they are in no particular order:

1) South Park Had One Of Its Greatest Seasons Ever!

Seriously, 2015 saw South Park have one of its greatest seasons ever.  Trey and Matt took on the excesses of PC Culture and ended up providing one of the most important and incisive critiques of 21st Century America ever.  At a time when political and cultural criticism is growing increasingly dreary and predictable, South Park delivered a much-needed jolt to the system and reminded of us why satire and humor are so important in the first place.  Perhaps the best part of this season was watching dreary PC-obsessed critics desperately trying to figure out how to praise this season without acknowledging that they were the ones being satirized.

2) UnReal

One of the best shows on television premiered on the Lifetime network.  UnReal took us behind the scenes of a Bachelor-type series and provided the ultimate take down of reality television.  I love reality TV but I loved UnReal even more.

Enjoy Jacksonville, Ash.

3) Ash vs. Evil Dead

Save us, Groovy Bruce!

4) Agent Carter

Agent Carter didn’t get as much attention as it deserved during its 8-episode short season.  I loved the show’s retro look, I loved the way it satirized 40s style sexism, I loved the dashing Dominic Cooper as Iron Man’s father, and most of all, I loved Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter!  The overrated Supergirl has been getting a lot of attention as an empowering comic book show but honestly, Agent Carter did it first, did it with style and wit, and did it a 100 times better.

5) Show Me A Hero

At times, this HBO miniseries was a bit too heavy-handed for my taste.  But overall, it was a fascinating look at municipal politics and racism up north.  (Yes, there are racists up north, as much as people refuse to admit it.)  Plus, Oscar Isaac gave a great performance as an initially idealistic politician who is literally destroyed by his attempt to do the right thing.

6) Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

HBO pretty much fell apart this year (The Brink?  Ballers?) but, fortunately, Netflix was there to offer up some of the best original programming of the year.  Kimmy Schmidt is brilliantly hilarious and gives Elle Kemper a role that is finally worthy of her talents.

Jessica Jones

7) Jessica Jones

Again, who needs Supergirl when you’ve got Jessica Jones?

8) Glenn lived on The Walking Dead!

Actually, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  To be honest, having Glenn survive that zombie attack totally goes against everything that The Walking Dead previously stood for.  After all, this was the show where anyone could die.  It didn’t matter if you were likable or popular or if the sight of you being ripped into pieces would traumatize the viewers.  Under the previously established rules of the show, Glenn should have died.  And yet, he didn’t.  And I can’t complain because, seriously — was anyone really ready to see Glenn die?  That said, if Glenn somehow escapes certain death a second time, it’ll be a problem.


9) Degrassi Was Picked Up By Netflix!

Oh my God, I was so upset when I heard that my beloved Degrassi would no longer be airing on TeenNick.  I’ve always said that the day when there were no more episodes of Degrassi would be the day that I would finally have to admit to being an adult.  Fortunately, Netflix picked up Degrassi so I got to put off adulthood for at least another year.

10) More Old People TV Networks

I’m a history nerd so I love all of these TV networks that only show reruns of old people TV shows.  I may never get to personally experience what it was like to be alive in the 1970s but I can a rerun on an Old People TV Network and get a taste.  And happily, it seems like there’s a new Old People TV network every day!  Seriously, I’m getting quite an education.


11) Mario Bava and Lucio Fulci on TCM

Last year, they showed both Shock and The House By The Cemetery on TCM!  Finally, Bava and Fulci are getting the respect they deserve.  Now, if only TCM would show a Jean Rollin film…

12) Speaking of TCM…

Actually, I just love TCM in general.  It’s without a doubt the greatest thing in the world!

13) Debate Counter-Programming

Seriously, I am so happy that there is always something else for me to watch while everyone else in the world is watching a Presidential debate.  My main fear is that, in the future, all of the networks will decide to simultaneously air the debates (like they occasionally do with charity fund raisers) and there will be no escape from the droning emptiness of it all.

(Seriously, I could imagine them doing it.  “These debates are damn important…”  Whatever.)

14) One of my tweets appeared on TV!

Seriously that was pretty neat, even if I did turn out to be 100% incorrect in my prediction.


15) I trashed The Leisure Class and sent at least one troll into a rage spiral!

Seriously, never underestimate how much some people love the unlovable!  My oddly controversial review of the Project Greenlight film really rubbed some people the wrong way.  That some people felt so strongly about it is both alarming and amusing.

16) Dancing Sharks at The Super Bowl!

That was in 2015, wasn’t it?

Dance, Shark, dance!

Dance, Shark, dance!

Tomorrow, I’ll continue my look back at 2015 with my ten favorite non-fiction books of the year!

Previous Entries In The Best of 2015:

  1. Valerie Troutman’s 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw in 2015
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2015
  3. 2015 In Review: The Best of SyFy
  4. 2015 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  5. 2015 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films of 2015
  6. 2015 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Songs of 2015


Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead 1.5 “The Host”


Just forty minutes ago, I was in the process of deciding what I was going to wear to a Christmas party tomorrow night when I suddenly realized that I had yet to write up a review of the latest episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead.


Seriously, I was shocked and ashamed of myself.  It’s not just the fact that I take some earned pride in being consistent as far as my reviews are concerned.  There was also the fact that The Host was one of the best episodes of Ash vs. Evil Dead so far.

It’s also one of the most important because The Host is perhaps the first episode not to solely focus on Ash and Bruce Campbell.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love Bruce Campbell and I imagine you do as well.  Bruce will always be the main reason that we watch Ash Vs. Evil Dead.  But, at the same time, Ash is not the only character on the show.  There’s also Kelly and Pablo.  While Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago have both had some strong moments, both Kelly and especially Pablo have largely existed in Ash’s shadow, with Kelly briefly capturing the spotlight during the 2nd episode.  With The Host, Pablo finally got his chance to shine.

And really, when I rewatched The Host, it was hard not to feel that the show itself was specifically acknowledging that Pablo and Kelly needed an opportunity to establish their own identities outside of just being Ash’s sidekicks.  This episode, after all, opened up with Ash bound and gagged (which, as we all know, is probably the only way to keep Ash from talking).  For fifteen minutes, Ash was incapacitated and Kelly and Pablo finally got their moment.

And both Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago made the most of it.  The highlight of this episode was definitely watching the very earnest Pablo interact with the possessed Kelly.  There was actually something rather touching about the way Pablo nervously interacted with the suddenly aggressive Kelly.  I was half-convinced that Kelly would be able to talk him into sucking on the barrel of that shotgun, just because Pablo seemed to be so genuinely upset about saying no to her.  For the first time in this series, Pablo was something more than just Ash’s sidekick.  During The Host, he finally emerged as an individual with a personality all of his own.


And it’s actually a pretty appealing personality.  Pablo may not be any smarter than Ash but he’s still a lot less destructive.  Assuming that he can ever get over his blind hero worship, Pablo could actually be a very good influence on Ash.  You need Ash to save the world from the Deadites but you also need Pablo to save the world from Ash.

Speaking of Ash, he did eventually get untied.  With the help of Pablo and Pablo’s uncle, he finally managed to get that demon to leave Kelly’s body.  Of course, the Brujo was killed during the exorcism but that’s to be expected.  With the exception of Pablo and Kelly, anyone who helps Ash ends up getting killed.  That’s just the way it goes.  At least the Brujo died an honorable death in a worth episode.

There are only five episode left of Ash vs. Evil Dead!  Who will Ash end up getting killed next?



Review: Ash vs. Evil Dead 1.4 “Brujo”

Pablo (Ray Santiago), Ash (Bruce Campbell), and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) in Ash vs. Evil Dead

Pablo (Ray Santiago), Ash (Bruce Campbell), and Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) in Ash vs. Evil Dead

With this being a week full of birthdays and holidays, it took me a while to finally get around to watching Brujo, the fourth episode of the Starz original series, Ash vs. Evil Dead. However, I’m happy to say that I just watched it and here are a few thoughts.

Hopefully, these will be coherent thoughts. As I sit here typing this, it’s 4 in the morning and I’m only half awake. But then again, Ash vs. Evil Dead is the perfect show to watch when you’re only half awake. First off, the show itself is wonderfully uncomplicated. The Deadites spend their time chasing Ash. Ash spends his time saying anything that pops into his head. Pablo spends his time idolizing Ash. Kelly spends her time wondering how she got stuck in this mess. Whenever things do get complicated, it’s because Ash has done something stupid. To quote Brujo, when it comes to Ash, “the flame is dim, but it flickers.”

Secondly, Ash vs. Evil Dead is pretty much nonstop mayhem. This episode, for instance, opened with Ash in a car chase and then moved on to Ruby (Lucy Lawless) stomping on the head of a Deadite. In doing so, Ruby saved the life of Fisher (Jill Marie Jones), the state trooper who was previously left handcuffed in harm’s way by Ash. Among other things, this episode revealed that Ruby is the daughter of Professor Knowby and blames Ash for the death of her family in Evil Dead 2. Ruby, it turns out, has also been hauling around Ash’s possessed hand in the back of her car.

Seriously, how could you sleep through that?

The majority of tonight’s episode dealt with Brujo leading Ash on a drug-fueled vision quest. We got to see the inside of Ash’s mind and … oh my God. Seriously, it was everything I was expecting it to be and more. Ash’s mind was revealed to be a cluttered collection of 80s music, 80s porn, 80s television, 80s cars, and nonstop retail employment. It’s a world where every magazine is Playboy, every song has a lengthy guitar solo, and there’s way too much neon.

When, as a part of his vision quest, Ash found himself blind, he heard the voice of Brujo telling him to calm down.

“Stop being a little bitch,” Brujo told him.

“You’re being a bitch, dude!” Ash snapped back.

Oh, Ash – don’t ever change.

During Ash’s quest/trip, he not only found himself in his ideal location – Jacksonville, Florida – but he also suddenly once again had two hands. “Brujo!” Ash exclaimed, staring down at his two hands, “I need two beers!”

While all this was going on, we got a fun scene of Pablo and Kelly making Ash a new prosthetic hand. Up until this point, Pablo and Kelly have both existed in Ash’s shadow but, in these scenes, they both got a chance to establish their own characters and their own chemistry and it was charming to watch.

Unfortunately, we then discovered that Kelly was possessed by Eligos, the frightening demon that Ash made the mistake of summoning during the last episode. If you’ll remember, it originally appeared that Kelly got rid of Eligos by hitting him with The Necronomicon. At the time, I felt that was a bit too simple of a way to banish Eligos and it turns out that I was right. Instead of returning to Hell, Eligos entered Kelly and eventually, he showed up in Ash’s trip. Suddenly, Ash’s idealized dream world of Jacksonville, Florida turned into the nightmarish stockroom of Value Mart and Ash had to do battle with Eligos.

And, to his credit, Ash appeared to have the upper hand on Eligos. However, defeating Eligos in his mind also meant that Ash was strangling Kelly in the real world. Pablo came to the rescue, hitting Ash in the back of his head and apparently knocking him out. As this episode came to a close, Ash was still unconscious, Kelly was still possessed, Fisher and Ruby was still driving around with Ash’s hand in the back seat, and nobody seemed to be doing much about the Deadite invasion…

Hmmm…actually, I guess Ash vs. Evil Dead isn’t quite as simple as I said.   Seriously, things are starting to get downright complicated.

Anyway, as for the episode itself, I liked it but then again, I’ve liked every episode of Ash vs. Evil Dead. I’ve read some complaints that the series has yet to settle on a consistent tone but quite frankly, I think that’s one reason why Ash vs. Evil Dead is so enjoyable. It is joyfully and unapologetically messy and inconsistent. There’s no way you can predict what’s going to happen because literally anything can happen and probably will. The show is completely insane and totally excessive but it’s anchored by Bruce Campbell’s lead performance. In a world where there is no logic, Ash Williams is king.

You don’t watch a show like Ash vs. Evil Dead because it makes sense. You watch because it features Bruce Campbell saying things like, “You’re a bitch, dude.” So far, Ash vs. Evil Dead has totally delivered.

Enjoy Jacksonville, Ash.

Enjoy Jacksonville, Ash.