Punisher Grandpa, Killer Drive

punisher Punisher: War Zone (2008)

Bad guys, you’ve been warned.
Castle’s life is no picnic.
Don’t mess with this Frank.

Guns, guns, and more guns! Jimmy McNulty sports an even worse accent than his Baltimore one, but it’s all in good, violent fun. His brother “Loony Bins Jim” is just as hilariously bent. The Punisher actor reminds me of a handsomer and younger version of Mr. Bates from Downton Abbey, and the widower is a Kate Beckinsale knockoff. The movie is supposed to take place in NYC, but they do a pretty terrible job of faking it; it was actually shot in Toronto. Recommended.

badgrandpa Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa (2013)

Spike won the Oscar
for the wrong movie. Irving,
you’re better than Her.

Yes, it’s stupid and crass and sophomoric to the nth degree, but I haven’t laughed this hard in years, possibly decades, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The boy who plays the grandson should get a movie of his own — he’s talented way beyond his years. Highly recommended.

killerjoe Killer Joe (2011)

After watching this
I’ll never eat another
K-Fry-C drumstick.

Thank goodness for Thomas Haden Church, who provides the much needed humor to lighten up this super nasty movie. I don’t quite get why this film was so lauded — it’s not really anything special. McConaughey is nutso, but it’s not anything we haven’t seen before (i.e., Gary Oldman in The Professional, Michael Madsen in Reservoir Dogs, etc.). Not recommended.

mulholland Mulholland Dr. (2001)

Betty or Diane
A sad Hollywood story
Surprise, Lynch makes sense.

I’ve been meaning to see this film for almost a decade, and wow, was it worth the wait. Lo and behold, the movie works completely within the framework of Lynch’s weirdness! The Straight Story is the movie most people mention when they talk about Lynch and accessibility, and it’s true, the title of that movie describes it in more ways than one. But the reason why Mulholland Dr. is such a career triumph is because all of the things that make Lynch’s movies Lynchian — weird-ass angles, the threat of terrifying wackiness at any moment, dwarves and identity-shifting and lounge singers and red lampshades — they’re here, and they actually contribute both thematically and narratively to the movie. Massive kudos to Naomi Watts — no wonder the studios took notice after this.

Still, I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that there are still some pretty far out-there scenes here. But also absolutely hilarious ones — the one that involves a large woman and a vacuum cleaner is maybe the funniest thing Lynch has ever done. I do hope he gets back to making feature films. Highly recommended, but with a caveat: I’m continuing to write this mini-review after spending a rather restless night of sleep. Lynch’s movies have a way of burrowing into your brain like nothing else, so do yourself a favor and watch this either on a Friday or a Saturday night, so you’ll have time to recover.

One last thing, and something probably so obvious that it doesn’t need a mention, but…a beautiful woman is so much more interesting to look at on screen than a handsome man, no? Maybe it’s just my hetero-male bias, but I don’t think so. I believe there are many studies that have suggested that women also would rather look at other women than men, and who can blame them? Women can glam up like no man can (minus Jared Leto?), and it’s such a visual advantage. One of the reasons why Mulholland Dr. makes such an impression is because you just can’t take your eyes off either of the leads. So when Lynch juxtaposes their great beauty against his unsettling ugliness, the effect on both sides is that much stronger.