Thursday, January 31, 2008

Saturdays Nights Alright For Fightin'

Since I showed off my old mans YouTube presence yesterday, I only thought it fair to showcase my own meager talents today.
Way back in the before the long long ago I would risk life and limb to get my dance on. You think Kevin Bacon fought for the right to dance? Swayze.....he was no risk taker. Have they ever been able to tell how good a show was by the amount of bruises on their legs? We'd go home bloody, bruised and with 12 kinds of sweat on our bodies night after night after night.
Anyway, back in 81 the San Fran punk band FEAR played SNL for a Halloween show. I was 16 years old. I'm the kid in the red sleeveless shirt (my ghetto Reagan Youth shirt) you first see about 28 seconds in, again at around 52 seconds and a few other times. The rest of the crowd are my peeps.


just found out the video has been deleted from youtube, you can still catch it here

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My Dad The Superhero

I mentioned back in another post how my dad Charles Bonet (The Latin Panther) did stunt work and starred in a few 70's martial arts pics. No sooner do I mention it that I come across this little gem on YouTube.
For those of you wondering, my dad's the short Rican in the tight shirts. Don't know what possessed them to put identical track suits on him and Speedy though. Makes them look like a couple, eh, they probably were on sale at Modells. Maybe they were the same size and my dad had his hemmed. I inherited my old mans vertical challenge so I probably shouldn't talk. Now if I could only do that thing with the eyebrow.
Best thing about it was all my friends thought my pops was a superhero and could really do some of the more outlandish stunts like jumping from the street onto a 1st floor fire escape. Dad and I don't speak much anymore, but I'm hoping to visit him in August. He may not be a superhero, but that doesn't mean I'm not proud of him.
Hmmmm, maybe I should have saved this for Fathers Day.
Nah, music this funky can't be held back.
by the way. In case you can't tell, the movie is called Death Promise.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Field Of Screams

Well, this past weekend I finally went to see Cloverfield. I was reluctant at first. After all, reviews were all over the place, and history has shown us that anything with this much of an internet buzz usually fails to live up to the hype. Remember Snakes on a Plane? Exactly, no one does. Then there were all the gripes about the shaky cam, really? If you are bothered by the shaky cam, then you do not spend enough time on the internet. We are exposed to far grainier poorly shot video than this on a daily basis, and we love it so much, we send it to everyone we know. If anything I was amazed at how well thought out each shot had to be. The shakiness of the camera was a character in itself. In a movie lacking a soundtrack it was the camera work that told us when we should be tense and when to take a breather. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Blair Witch, but I think Cloverfield is a more intimate claustrophobic film. No easy feat in the middle of a normally bustling city like New York. Where Blair Witch relied on perception to deliver scares, Cloverfield shows you everything.

Being a New York native, I’m glad I didn’t see this movie back home. I’ve read about some angry New Yorkers walking out of the theater and I can see why.
See, New Yorkers have always felt a degree of invulnerability. Back home nothing can hurt me. I can fall asleep on the subway, yell at a random stranger for bumping me in the street, run across midtown traffic without fear, because in some way New York protects its own. That was until 9/11.
9/11 affected the sense of security of every New Yorker who was in the city at the time. It left a lot of us bruised and reeling. Cloverfield brought me back to that time. At one point the main characters are separated, just across the street from each other by a wave of soldiers and vehicles rushing by firing guns and missiles. The noise is frightening, the bursts of light from the guns is frightening. Our heroes are separated by less than 20” and it may as well have been a mile.
My wife and I both thought of the armed National Guard that stood along 14th Street and in the subways during the days following 9/11.
Films that have tried to deliver the emotional impact of that horrible time in New York have not even come close to the desperation and helplessness as Cloverfield has.
I’ve read a bunch of reviews of Cloverfield that have blasted the film for the same reasons I liked it. I wonder where those reviewers were during 9/11? Did they walk home across the Williamsburg Bridge among people covered in ash unable to take their eyes off the column of smoke a couple of miles away feeling very small?

Another gripe I’ve read is that the characters are not entirely likable. It’s true, they were average 20 somethings. There wasn’t anything to really like or dislike about them. That was the frikkin’ point. They weren’t heroes, they weren’t special they were just..themselves. If anything the actors deserve credit for being so believable in their normality. When was the last time you watched a war documentary and thought hey, there’s a soldier I want to hang out with? The film lets you know right at the beginning. This is found footage – no spoilers there. At that point you know enough to not to get too emotionally vested in these people. The real star in the film is the camera. The people are just a support system.

Cloverfield was one of the scarier movies I’ve seen in a long time. The film is fairly light on gore but heavy on special effects that pay off. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but neither was The Exorcist when it came out. I think time will prove Cloverfield a true classic and it will be hailed alongside films like The Exorcist, Jaws and The Shining as a true innovation in horror. Cloverfield may be the definitive horror of this decade. Tailor made for a culture reliant on YouTube, 24 hour news channels, and reality programming.

I only wish this movie had not hit before George Romeros Diary of the Dead coming on Feb 15th as Romero is using a similar camera technique, and there is no doubt that unfair comparisons will be made. I’m a huge Romero fan and it would be a shame if his film suffered from negative reactions to Cloverfield.

If you’re a geek and haven’t seen Cloverfield, chances are you’re going to wish you had, and if you’re like me and prefer walking through the subway tunnels at night rather than wait for that local that runs every half hour to go 2 lousy stops,… will...never…do…that…again.

Cloverfield was directed by Matt Reeves and written by Drew Goddard.
It was produced by J.J. Abrams.
It stars Lizzy Caplan, Jessica Lucas, T.J. Miller, Michael Stahl-David, Mike Vogal, Odette Yustman and New York City.

Plus one big ass monster……..

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sliding into Scientology

Jerry O'Connell is one of the cool geeks. Tom Cruise...not so much. This video is from Funny or Die.
If you haven't been there lately, take a look.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One For The, Gipper

If the WGA writers strike does nothing, at least it’s given me the opportunity to clean out my DVR and catch up on my Netflix rentals. Sometimes you just have to look at the positive. I’m sorry there are a bunch of folk out of work, but hey at least I’m caught up on ER!

Anyway, I’ve been working my way through a bunch of B-movies I’ve had in my Netflix queue. See, I’ve always had a greater appreciation for the low budget stuff. Perhaps it was my early fondness of horror films, or that my dad starred in a few 70’s karate flicks and did stunts on a couple of B grade thrillers. (you can catch him going up in flames in a few scenes of Don’t Go In The House) Maybe it was living near Times Square (I was on 43rd between 5th and Broadway) and haunting the five films for a buck theatres that would affectionately be referred to as Grindhouse by hipsters who’ve never been to a film outside a multiplex. Whatever the reason, I loves me some b-z movies.

That’s why I was so excited when The Tripper appeared in my mailbox.
What’s that? A slasher pic where the killer wears a Reagan mask and kills faux hippies at a music festival? Sign me up!!!

If the premise isn't sweet enough, the movie is written and directed by David Arquette. That’s right Deputy Dewey from the Scream movies. If that’s not enough to pull you in the film features Jason Mewes, (Jay of Jay and Silent Bob) Jaime King, (Goldie from Sin City) Thomas Jane, (The Punisher) Paul Reubens, (Pee Wee frickin’ Herman) Courtney Cox Arquette, Lukas Haas, and Ric Overton. If you’re still not sold Fishbone makes an appearance.

Now let me set the record straight. The film isn’t much more than I described above. It never fails that when someone attempts to make B movie, midnight movie, or a cult film and they don’t have the last name Tarantino, they usually fail miserably and this movie is really no exception. The story is almost nonexistent. The acting is a little clunky. The gore is funnier than it is shocking. The music festival setting is unbelievable. I hated every character because, well, they were hippies. Not flower children, but hippies and contemporary hippie to boot. If it’s 2008 and you’ve got nothing better to do than follow around your favorite jam band and smoke pot and drop acid all day then you should be summarily dispatched by a guy in a Reagan mask. Heck that guy may even be me!

So why am I writing about it? Take a look at the scene below, listen to the scene below. In what may actually be one of the more surreal moments of my life, I’m sitting on the couch watching a guy in a Reagan mask get mediaeval on a drum circle and who’s drums do I hear?...........mine.

This big slaughter scene takes place over the song Reagan Youth by the band Reagan Youth of which I was a founding member. There has been some question as to who actually played the drums on this track. I’m not credited, yet it sounds uncannily like my playing even down to the same mistakes I make to this day. Other musicians have told me they remastered the original demo and sped it up a little to avoid having to rerecord for the first albums release and I believe them. Heck, if you heard my drums today, I still tune down just as the drums on this track are. People familiar with my playing think it’s me, especially when played against other tracks off the same album (different tuning, different style). Of course none of this really matters. Did Andy (the original bassist R.I.P) and I get cheated on mechanicals and publishing? Sure we did. At one point Reagan Youth did a self copyright with all our names on it and we were considered equals in the writing process. Let’s face it, in a group of four 15-16 year olds it would be ludicrous to believe that the guitarist and singer wrote every part for every song and were solely responsible for the sound of the group. It’s probably why only a handful of songs were written after Andy and I were gone even though the group continued for several years. I’ve been contacted about lawsuits, but really, when I see a 16 year old kid wearing a Reagan Youth pin or t-shirt, it’s all worth it.

What makes it even more ironic is that my stage name in RY was Charlie Tripper, a moniker I picked up in junior high, and not from drugs surprisingly enough. Remember that dad I mentioned, the stuntman? I used to pratfall all over the place after my dad taught me how. I could throw myself down a flight of stairs, stand up and take a bow if I felt like it, and I often did.

Most of the kids knew me as Tripper.

Having the song in a horror flick was just icing on the cake. The RY song USA for Anarchy was originally written by me except it was called mangled bodies at the time and was about horror films which I loved. I was trying to write a song that sounded like the Plasmatics since I loved the drums. Dave (R.I.P) changed the lyrics when he decided we would be named Reagan Youth and do political punk instead of Pus as we were originally called when we did songs about jewish American princesses and necropheliacs. Dave didn’t like my lyrics since he considered slasher pics to be stupid. Of course I don’t have a co-writing credit for USA either.

I replayed the scene with commentary, and it was a bit strange to hear Deputy Dewey saying how hard it was to get the rights for the song since most of the band is dead and having the Punisher and Pee Wee chiming in with that’s a shame and similar platitudes.

So was The Tripper a good movie? No, but it was fun in spite of it’s shortcomings. If nothing else The Tripper made my day. After all how wrong can you go with a slasher in a Reagan Mask?

I think it bears noting that this is David Arquettes 2nd film with a Reagan Youth song, the first was Airheads.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Carryin' a Torch

I wish I could say nothings been going on that’s got me excited, but the reality is a lot has been going on, I’ve just been too:
A) Lazy
B) Busy
C) Lazy again
to post anything.

See, I usually do this during lunch or after work. Since I normally eat at my desk, it gives me a reason to distance myself from the job for awhile, and staying a half hour late is preferable to chaining myself to another desk once I get home.

So what’s got me so worked up that it’s broken my burst of inactivity?

One word…..Torchwood.

For those of you not in the know Torchwood is the brain child of Russell T Davies, who I am starting to think of as the Brit Joss Whedon, the man who gave a much needed shot in the arm to the long in the tooth Doctor Who series in 2005.
Torchwood the title is actually an anagram for Doctor Who and was used to keep the new Doctor Who series scripts a secret.
Torchwood the institute gained mention throughout the first two seasons of the new Doctors run as a covert group that monitors and investigates all things alien and supernatural on Earth.
Turns out they're a pretty busy bunch since they're located right over a rift in time and space. Think of it as the place Fox Mulder would want to work though they would laugh at his little grey men and I Believe poster.

Torchwood is a group of five operatives.
Gwen Cooper: (Eve Myles) Former policewoman and team newbie.
Dr. Owen Harper: (Burn Gorman) Doc tough guy and resident man ho.
Toshiko Sato: (Naoko Mori) Repressed computer specialist
Ianto Jones: (Gareth David-Lloyd) Team support and maker of tea.
Their leader brilliantly portrayed by John Barrowman is Captain Jack Harkness.

Captain Jack first made an appearance as a time traveling con man from the 51st century in the 2005 Doctor Who series. He hung around, slowly transforming from rogue to hero till the seasons end when he is killed fighting the Daleks in the year 200,100 and resurrected by the Doctors companion Rose Tyler who was briefly omnipotent thanks to the power of the time vortex. (you just have to see it) The now future stranded Jack eventually escapes and ends up on earth in 1869 where he learns that his resurrection had a little side effect, he’s immortal. Jack lives through the 20th century and reappears in the Doctor Who universe in 2006’ Torchwood premier.

Torchwood is an adult science fiction show. They swear, they sleep around, they bleed. If Torchwood were produced here it would probably be on Showtime. Even the lighthearted episodes have a bit of darkness to them. The Torchwood team operates almost entirely on mutual respect since you get the impression that nobody really likes anyone else, even if they’re screwing. If that respect wavers, even for an instant, you can expect consequences. So why do I care so much for this generally unlikable bunch? It’s simple, the best sci-fi happens when seen through the eyes of real people, and Torchwood is great sci-fi and the characters are written to be very real and very human.

The first season of Torchwood is now available on DVD, or on BBC America In Demand. I’m sure you can also find episodes online. If you want to view Captain Jacks timeline in order watch the new Doctor Who season one (he’s in four of the last five episodes) followed by Torchwood season one then back to Doctor Who season 3 (the last 3 episodes)

Torchwood the 2nd season starts here on BBC America, Jan 26th. Jack is back after some time tripping to find the team has moved on without him. That’s about all I know so far. The extended trailer features Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman) the Doctors season 3 companion, and Captain Jack in a John Woo style stand off with James Marsters. (Spike of Buffy/Angel fame) It’s curious how the BBC America trailer doesn’t show Jack in a liplock with Ianto, but if you want to catch it check out all the trailers on YouTube.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Let's Force Evolution, That Should Shut 'Em Up

O.K., I've figured out how to prove evolution in one week, but I'm going to need everyones help, and I mean that on an international scale.
For one week, and one week only.....
Everyone in the world has to agree.......
To stop feeding their cats.
I know it's radical, but if the way my cats complain and harass every morning and evening at feeding time is any indication, within a week, one of the little buggers is going to figure out opening a can. Seriously, I truly understand the word caterwaul. They're worse than grandma when she wants her M&M's dammit!! They may even form opposable thumbs. I'm not sure, anything can happen. C'mon everyone, they (the cats) have already proven they can use a toilet. Opening a can is the next grand step in a cat's evolutionary process. Why do we continue to hold them back? Why do we enable their evolutionary stasis?
The time is now people......
Are you with me?

good thing my cats can't read........