A Haiku:

I have been away

America is so Strange

What is Booty Beer?

I completely understand the idea of Culture Shock.  I've just returned from my two week stay in Florida.  Now, I hate beaches, so why did I visit the Sunshine State?  Because, that's where I'm from.  I crashed with my family (who, for the most part, sponsored this vacation).  Staying with family that hadn't seen me in what seemed like years only meant one thing:  For a brief period of time, I was the supreme dictator for one small suburban household.  The entire home's resources were completely at my disposal; my slightest whim followed, because after all, Jared was home again.  Time to celebrate.  So what did I do with my time?  The answers may surprise you.  (Well, actually the big answer is kind of lame and obvious if you know me, but hey, it's my article...I'll pretend I'm more complicated than I really am.)

The little thing I did:  I survived a Hurricane.  Why is it that whenever I go on vacation there's some sort of natural disaster waiting just for me?  When my family went to Colorado, can you guess what happened?  The Denver/Breckenridge area had a freak heat wave that flooded everywhere we were supposed to go.  When I went to a cabin retreat in South Carolina there was a freak cold front that snowed us in.  When I went to Sea World, Shamu was sick.  Point is, I have bad luck with vacations.  So it's no surprise that while I'm in Florida the world seems to want to end.  Our hotel told us to boil our water at one point.  Gah.  Still, the amusement parks in Orlando had power and everything, so the vacation wasn't ruined...it just had a drama that I could have lived without.  Apparently God hates Florida, giving it something like 6 hurricanes this year. Lucky Them.

I had no idea there was a "Forest Gump" themed restaurant.  They even walked around and asked trivia questions about the movie.  For some reason, the question: "How did Forest Gump get AIDS?" never came up.  You know I was disappointed. 

I also noticed this religious establishment in Jacksonville while I was visiting.  Note the Concertina Wire (also know as Barbed-wire of Doom) that surrounds the "house of our Lord."  Interesting Outreach program they have going for them. 

So, before I get into the bulk of this article, I just want to point out one very odd moment I had while channel surfing.  I cruised past Nickelodeon only to be abruptly halted by what I saw.  The show's called Emily or something and it's a kids show that gets kids to respond/talk to the television to help this girl and her simian friend.  The creepy part?  I flip to this channel to find: no sound, no movement, just a cartoon Latino girl and her monkey staring at me hungrily/happily.  It was one of those moments of truth, as if god was trying to tell me something.  The moment seemed to go on forever, surreally self-reflective.  I realized that I do need to enjoy the silence, to look at myself instead of watching all these movies.  Reality was indeed outside the television.  Then the monkey said: THAT'S RIGHT! The answer is Three!  Now, can you see where Conchita's shoes are? So, with a sigh of relief, I learned nothing and spent the next hour or so watching Adult Swim. :)

So what was the big thing that I did this vacation?  My philosophy towards one's holiday is that one should really just try to relax.  I'm less about running around like a tourist and much more about being casual and enjoying myself.  So what did I do?  What confession am I skirting around?  :sigh:  On my vacation I watched no less than 30 movies, over 46 hours total of films.  From new releases to old favorites....I spent the majority of my holiday on my ever-growing ass (gaining weight on lovely American food is not really an accomplishment).  So instead of going on about my vacation, I'm just going to do a straight psuedo-Death-Toll style review of few of the films I saw on vacation.  Some of these aren't my usual fair, while others I rented because I can't get them in Germany.  These aren't really reviews so much as random rants with the movie in mind.  Let's begin, in no particular order... 

 

Title of film and Best Moment Here is where words go.  Blah blah blah.
Scary Movie 3

Best Moment: watching the Incredible Hulk rip off alien heads with his ass muscles.

If you ever wanted to see the Incredible Hulk rip off alien's heads with his ass, this film is for you.  God knows I've been waiting to see it happen for years.  From the guy who did Airplane and all those Naked Gun movies, Scary Movie 3 surprised the crap out of me by actually being funny.  Sure, it's a spoof on a bunch of other crappy or not-so-crappy movies, but hey. Incredible Hulk+aliens+ass= amazing cinema.
Deuce Bigelow & The Animal

Best Moment:  Knowing I had survived.

Rob Schneider.  A lot of him.  Blackouts, pain.  All I could think of is that one South Park episode where Rob Schneider is "dur dur dur dee dur duh dur."  If you know what I'm talking about....god bless you.  Let's move on.
I, Robot

Best Moment:  The best product placement in a "Futuristic" movie I've ever seen.

Will Smith is a cyborg cop in the future (2040 or so).  So what does he do in the first scene?  He straps on his converse all-star sneakers.  Not only do you get to see them several times in the movie, his boss even asks about them.  His response:  "Oh these babies?  They're vintage 2004."  Yep.  It's the future so new products for us are retro/antiques.  It's genius. I can just imagine taking this the next step. 

"The year is 3032.  I live in a biosphere to protect us from the nuclear storms that rage outside the dome.  Did I mention that we designed our city retro-style to look like ye olde 2004 Tulsa?  Oh and the dome?  We designed it to be invisible.  Have a retro-Coke to go with your ye olde Happy meal."

Halloween 3

Best Moment:  When I realized what the plot was all about.

The third movie in the Halloween series is often referred to as the "red-headed stepchild" of the horror genre.  Not only does it have nothing to do with the first few movies, it's plot is spectacular.  An evil druid-run fake vomit company uses its fortune to steal Stonehenge and manufacture magic Halloween masks that kill children when they watch television.  Oh, and the company uses robots made of German watch parts to do its bidding.  Take a moment and re-read the last two sentences, just to make sure you understand.  Too random to miss, yet this film sucks too much to enjoy.  Thank you, Cable Television.
Owning Mahoney

Best Moment:  um. Do you ever watch a movie and then immediately forget everything you just saw?

While I remember enjoying this movie, my notes are vague and my mind is blank.  There's a lot of gambling drama from what I do recall and a bit of bank fraud.  Um. Yeah. I guess the movie wasn't good enough to leave a mark, nor was it bad enough to leave a scar.  Oh well.
Shrek 2

Best Moment:  Antonio Banderas licking his own crotch. (I mean, his character)

Shrek 2 was pretty satisfying to watch.  I laughed a number of times, but while the inclusion of Antonio Banderas was a good choice, one blemish stood out in the film.  My god, I hate Eddy Murphy.  Instead of being just funny, his character (like in the first movie) is effectively "always annoying guy."  Now, this is fine in most movies, where annoying guy is a supporting character.  Eddy Murphy is a supporting character that is ALWAYS ON THE SCREEN.  He's like the penance you have to pay to watch the movie.  Just like you can't watch a porno without having to see the greasy hairy guy's butt.  Eddy Murphy is the nasty porn star, the Ron Jeremy if you will, of Shrek 2.  Yeah, it's a great movie, just do what I did:  Take a popsickle stick and glue a picture of Dr. Phil on it.  Whenever Donkey's on screen and talking, cover him up with your make-shift puppet. Now you can pretend Dr. Phil's gone insane and acting like a madman AND avoid Eddy Murphy as much as possible.  Dr. Donkey Phil, thank you so much.

Oh and word to the wise Mr. Murphy: Being typecast as the annoying guy for too long is fatal.  Look what happened to Gilbert Godfrey.

The Hitcher 2

Best Moment:  Knowing that I wasn't the one getting screwed over in the movie.

The plot of the Hitcher 2 is a lot like the plot for the original Hitcher: a random homicidal hitchhiker decides to make life a living hell for one traveler that picks him up for no reason whatsoever.  The Hitcher frames our poor heroine; killing cops and random drivers in her name.  The only thing that kept going through my mind was a single question:  Are there really people waiting for just the right person before going ape-shit and killing everyone around them?  My answer:  Yes...and they're closer to you than you think.
The Punisher

Best Moment:  Folk singing Assassin

The new Punisher movie was pretty standard for an action movie.  In fact, I'll even ignore the fact that it's from a comic book.  Seeing John Travolta as the evil crime boss was rather boring, though the fact that it had a folk singer assassin made me enjoy the film.  How many movies have hired killers who play a mean acoustic guitar? 
Alien Terminator

Best Moment:  Realizing the secret to life is cocaine.

Alien Terminator.  No aliens in this film, just a giant mutant rat-monster.  The mutant creature is given life when a drug-using scientist spills cocaine and blood into a petri dish.  Also pay attention to what this film has to teach:  All female scientist are apparently lingerie models in their free time.  :sigh: I so went into the field.  Who knew quantum genetics was a babe magnet?  On a side note, wouldn't Alien vs. Terminator be cool?  "What's that think growing in your chest?"  "I know it's not a tumaahr."
50 First Dates

Best Moment:  The best Walrus Vomiting scene in recorded history.

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star in this romantic comedy that is rather sweet...except for completely random moments that brought me far too much joy.  It's like this: Imagine if you took a copy of Casablanca and spliced in hardcore Japanese Hentai in there.  It's not that bad but that's the general gist of how the film's set up.  Romantic scene here, cute scene here, long Walrus Vomit scene snuck in for good measure.
Scarecrow: GONE WILD!

Best Moment:  Knowing that this film was made so the director could see women's breasts.

Having far too little scarecrow in it, this sequel to (you guessed it) Scarecrow has more toplessness than I've ever seen in a b-movie.  Besides locker room/bathroom/shower scenes, we also get random tops stolen by naughty boys, girls flashing boys, etc.  The Scarecrow (possessed by the spirit of the Diabetic kid that the teens killed) does eventually get around to killing the party-teens.  The film curses us by having a long folk song sung by a random hippy.  The up side?  The hippy is horribly killed before he can finish his song.  Thank God for small favors.  This is also one of the few films to show men peeing on one another.  This one's a winner, that's for sure. Bah.
Deathbed

Best Moment:  It's a bondage ghost story.  What do you want?

I really don't know what do say about this film.  It's a ghost story about an evil possessed bed that makes people want to have passionate rough sex and eventually gets them killed.  I blame my bed for all the bad things I do, personally.  Well, the bad things I do in my bed.  I'll move on.
Pumpkinhead

Best Moment:  spoken by a horde of evil children: PUMPKIN HEAD, PUMPKIN HEAD, PUMPKIN HEAD!

Apparently, there's a whole branch of mythology surrounding vengeful spirits, dead children, pumpkin patches, and giant killer monsters.  Half this film is spent watching the characters transport dead bodies.  Our hero takes his dead son to see a witch.  She takes the body and asks him to dig up another from the nearby pumpkin patch.  After delivering her yet another body, the witch works her magic and sends out the animated monster (wit' da' big ol' pump'inHEAD) to kill the "hero's" enemies.  The rest of the cast are a dysfunctional group of teens that, quite frankly, deserve to be ripped apart by a giant puppet with a gourd for a head.
Collateral (yep, the Tom Cruise thing)

Best Moment:  Loving the fact that Tom dyed his hairpiece for the role.

Yeah, Tom Cruise is balding and hiding it badly but that's not what I really want to talk about when it comes to Collateral.  Collateral is a great example of "Trailer Fu."  In the trailer you see EVERY SINGLE bit of action in the movie.  From the disco fight scene to the final showdown, anything that "actually" happens is there.  Now, I liked this movie. It was beautiful and well paced.  It was not, however, an action movie, as it has been sold.  It's more of a character study between the two main characters.  I mean, think about it:  When the police mobilize to get our hero and villain, instead of the typical chase scene, we get a slow music video that climaxes with the appearance of coyotes lost in suburbia.  It's gorgeous, it's just not an action movie. 
Castle Freak

Best Moment:  Mother starts flashing the monster to lure him towards her.

A classic Stuart Gordon film staring Jeffrey Combs (Re-Animator), Castle Freak is the story of, well, a freak in a castle. Clever title right?  Actually this is a great film, and I'll have to give it a full review sometime. In the meantime watch it yourself for these AMAZING THINGS:  Cat-eating, thumb-eating, full frontal castrated junk, breast-eating, and an elderly woman attempting to seduce a scary, scary monster.  To be honest, the "Freak" wouldn't be that scary if he just ran around gnawing people to death (which is what he does).  What's more terrifying is that while he's running around, he's got no pants on, revealing his taint to the world.  I only wish I were joking.
The Haunted Mansion

Best Moment:  Learning that severed zombie heads can swim at frightening speeds.

Eddie Murphy stars in the classic "Welcome to the Haunted House...oh wait you're trapped" film.  Based on the ride at Walt Disney World, this film begs the question, how many of Disney's rides will get their own movie?  I'm waiting to see the Space Mountain or the Tiki Room films....but I'll settle for "Spinning Teacups, the Movie."  All in all, I preferred The Haunted Mansion  ride to the movie.  An interesting feature on the DVD was the behind-the-scenes look at all the ghosts they put in the film.  Apparently, they got some great costumes and some amazing make-up, filmed the actors in it, and then digitized with a special effect so you couldn't see any of it.  It's amazing what you can do if you have too much money.  Team A works hard while animation Team B works hard to cover up what Team A did.  Modern film-making! Yay!
Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman

Best Moment:  Realizing I had survived the sequel to one of the most painful films I've ever seen.

Yes.  You read right.  I watched the sequel.  This film will be reviewed, so I don't want to say too much except that this film really, really stung as it hit my eyes.  I will also tell you that instead of anti-freeze killing Jack Frost, this time he's defeated with a banana tied to an arrow.  I'm so serious it's not funny.
Curse of the Komodo

Best Moment:  What wakes up giant mutant Komodo dragons?  Naked women swimming.

This movie is full of "great" moments.  People shoot for a full 5-minutes at the CG giant Komodos, with no reaction what-so-ever.  Their new plan?  "Let's shoot it some more!" They do this until they run out of ammo.  Also great is this dialogue: "How big did you say these things got?" "I don't know, say 15 meters long?" "That can't be right...I found one of there TURDS THAT WAS 25 METERS LONG."  If only the movie had gone that extra mile and actually shown the horrible thing.  Then again, that's just my sick opinion.  Oh and instead of just killing people, the Komodo's saliva turns them into breast-grabbing zombies. Wow.
Are you ready for the best and worst film that I saw during my entire stay in the states?  The answer is no.

Monsturd.  The killer poo monster horror movie.  Look at the art on the box. LOOK!  Sweet mother of God I can't believe I found this movie.  You thought Jack Frost was bad?  There is nothing that can prepare you for this.  What's this movie's tagline?  "Don't get caught with your pants down!" :shaking my head sadly:  I can't believe I paid to watch this one.  But what is "Monsturd" really all about? 

A serial killer gets some toxic goo on him and turns into a giant poo monster (or "Fecal Humanoid" to quote the film). There's your plot.  I wish It were more complicated, but along the way you have:  a junkie ventriloquist doll, the longest vomit scene ever (23 different "vomit" takes one after the other for the longest minute of cinematic history), Mr. Spanky-the Easter Poo that give out chocolate "eggs", fishing for homeless people, grown men in armor made out of diapers (to fight the poo monster), and, just to reiterate, a talking monster made out of fecal matter.  The best line of the film:  Poo monster talking to scientist in the sewer: "You're in my world NOW!"  In the end a scientist releases one million flies that quickly eat the monster.  The worst part of this film?  Don't forget to stay after the movie and listen to the "Ballad of the Monsturd".  I don't usually do this but hell, I'm just going to suggest that anyone sick enough to want more should visit their website and download the trailer. This movie is amazing...if you define the word amazing as something so awful you can't take your eyes off it and have to share with others so that they, too, may know pain. All in all, Monsturd is an awesome film that makes you want to join a new, yet unheard of, religion where man lives without toilets.

Suffice to say I had a great vacation.  Now that I'm back I'll be updating regularly (or so I say).  I hope you've enjoyed my crappy "summer vacation" story.

 

Take me HOME

Copyright Jared, except for everything that isn't.  I only write these things.  It's not like I own Tom Cruise or am paid by 4321 studios to say these things. Oh and Tom Cruise is NOT gay.  Happy now?