Book Review: If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie and many other books by Bruce Campbell


Everyday, we should give thanks to Bruce Campbell is not a jerk.

Seriously, can you imagine how disappointing it would be to discover that Bruce Campbell — ASH!  GROOVY BRUCE! — was not a laidback, blue collar actor who appreciated his fans, had a sense of humor about his films, and who enjoyed ending the day with maybe a can of beer and a nicely rolled joint?  It would be awful!  Bruce Campbell going on and on about the method while telling people not to see his early films?  Unthinkable!  Bruce Campbell demanding a huge trailer and bad-mouthing his co-stars?  That’s not our Groovy Bruce!

No, Bruce Campbell is pretty likable and appears to be downright nice.  That’s a huge part of his appeal.  He’s an actor but he’s also a fan.  He’s talented but he’s also level-headed.  He loves his films but he doesn’t pretend that they were anything that they weren’t.  Other actors would hide the chin.  Bruce shows it off every chance he get.  He even named his first memoir after the chin!

And it’s quite a good memoir too, If Chins Could Kill is,  Bruce discusses growing up.  He discusses the first films that he made with Sam Raimi.  The Coen Brothers make an appearance.  There’s stuff about Bubba Ho-Tep and Maniac Cop.  Really, it’s the definitive overview of the first part of Bruce Campbell’s amazing career and it’s a fun read.  Campbell has a sense of humor about both himself and his movies but, at the same time, he also has a deep love and appreciation for indie filmmakers.  It’s the humor that makes the book entertaining but it’s the love that will keep your reading.  And, after you finish the first memoir, move on to Campbell’s subsequent books — How To Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way, Hail to the Chin, and The Cool Side of My Pillow.  They’re all good books.  They’ll make you appreciate not only Bruce and the movies but also the art of writing about yourself without acting like a pompous jackass.  Bruce pulls it off and we’re all the better for it!

Bruce Campbell and Devon Sawa Provide The Best Customer Service In The Trailer for Black Friday


Yay!  I was just thinking that it would be nice to get a trailer for a new Bruce Campbell film and — surprise! — here it is!

Not only does Black Friday feature Bruce but it also features Devon Sawa, who seems like he deserves to make a bit of comeback.

Here’s the trailer for Black Friday:

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.)

Programming

Best Comedy Series

Atlanta,

Barry,

Brooklyn Nine-Nine,

The End of the Fucking World,

GLOW,

New Girl,

Silicon Valley,

Young Sheldon

Best Drama Series

The Americans,

Game of Thrones,

The Crown

Legion,

Ozark,

Stranger Things,

Trust,

Westworld

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,

Survivor,

World of Dance

 

Performers

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.

BLEH!

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.

Degrassi_Season_13_title_card

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.

shock

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.

B-e7UMLIUAA9a7V

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