.The Set Up…

Hey there. It’s about time I got off my arse and sent you one of these vastly overrated columns. Granted, it’s not as overrated as Devin, but it’s up there.

It’s my goal to make these more timely, and though the format will be tweaked to make it easier, I think I can pull it off. Or I’ll fail miserably. Either way, you guys make no bones about the fact you want me to do these and while I loathe most everyone, I’m going to do my best to make you proud.

So, here is the 112th installment of a column that should be at #300 by now.

On with the Leak.

The Best Buy Ain’t Where It Used to Be.

.Remember
the days I used to ruminate about the Tuesday adventures at Best Buy hunting
for the new releases and the furor over that weekly event? Them days are gone.

Although
the store nearest me recently renovated and went from confusing and rather
disorganized in their DVD section to even more confusing and disorganized, it’s
not how they merchandise that ruined it for me. It’s not even that they killed
their “value section”, which was where I often found the titles I really
craved.

It’s
because their already narrow focus has narrowed. I used to complain that they’d
get too many copies of something like Ali
G
(which garnered more hate mail than I expected) and not enough of other
titles, and that’s small potatoes to me now. What bothers me is that they are
nowhere as comprehensive as they used to be. In the past they’d do a decent job
of overdosing on the major releases but also grabbing at least a copy of the
smaller stuff. Now when I ask one of their employees to look something up, even
on its release date they’re listed as “deleted” and thusly not among the items
they stock.

Recently,
I was stunned by their total lack of the new Moistboyz cd (I Don’t Give a Fuck Where the Eagle Flies is one of the best
anti-Bush songs ever) as well as the total nonexistence of the 80’s great Alone
in the Dark
, the one release last week I really was excited about.

Of course
they (and Tower Records and Barnes and Noble and Media Play) made up for it
with at least five copies of Uwe Boll’s film with the same name. Even though
Internet sex symbol and JoBlo stalwart John Fallon’s in the Slater/Dorff opus,
the Landau/Pleasance/Palance flick holds much more importance.

As a
result I’m having to dip more and more into ordering stuff from Amazon (yes,
I’m the guy who uses the CHUD link) and while that’s cool it’s not supposed to
be the main way to get copies of flicks. There’s a certain allure to grabbing
your titles on the day of release and taking 200 wrappers and stickers off in
your car on the way home but because of the ever-growing fear of niche titles
by the majors I’m beginning to consider boycotting those chains altogether in
my DVD buying. It’s not enough to get a great deal on the major titles. You can
get major releases for $5 off everyone else’s prices at Best Buy but what’s the
point if you waste $5 in gas driving to three places looking for a smaller
title on new release day? I used to be fine spending a little more at Barnes
& Noble but even they have surprised me at times.

As a
result, I think it’s time I got a lot more acquainted with Amazon.

Is anyone
else finding it harder to be a retail shopper?

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Heaven Help Me.

.For
someone who has been waiting for Heaven Help Us on DVD for so long
(since the day I got my first player two homes and several years ago), I have
to admit that I expected a little more with the oft-delayed and maligned
release when it finally hit.

Yes, the
film isn’t as beloved to most as it is to me (it’s a 9.5 out of 10 in my film
lifetime, a flick I’ve seen 20 times if I’ve seen it once), but when you take
that many years I expect an animated menu. At least. Also, it’d be nice to have
scene selections with pictures of the scenes instead of a simple list.

Here’s an
easy way to justify the release of this mini-classic. It features two actors
experiencing a career renaissance in Patrick (Gray’s Anatomy) Dempsey and Kevin (Entourage) Dillon and a simple sticker with the words “Johnny
Drama” on it would elevate this from obscurity to a curiosity at least.

But no, I
just make it a point to check Amazon.com one or twice a month about this title
and recently found out it was finally released I about shat myself. In fact I
bought two copies of it just because I want to give one away right here on the Leak because no collection is complete
without this gem featuring a who’s who of great folks and one of the Stephen
Geoffreys vehicles released before his descent (or ascent?) into gay porn.

Plus, Sutherland
Monk. Sutherland Monk. Sutherland Monk.

So, if
you’re paying attention, send in a Leak Letter with some fun questions for me
to address in the column with a blurb on why you deserve this extra copy of Heaven
Help Us
.

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The Fact This Exists is Hilarious.


Now, is this how to clean my penis tooth or is it a novelty gift? See, I thought I was the only one with a penis tooth.

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Ain’t Always Best in the West.

.I’m
probably going to get an irate email from a guy named Paul for this little
missive, but I’m writing this from a positive mindset so I hope it’s
understood.

When the
Hell are American DVD distributors going to pay attention to the amazing
packaging overseas and take some chances with their artwork? The recent case in
point is Gladiator’s new edition (which is quite good, especially on the
commentary when Russell Crowe mentions that the script for Walk the Line was
“half-cooked” when Joaquin signed on), a package that is nice until you look at
the one the UK
folks are getting. Here, we get the perfectly nice cover and a really solid
color scheme throughout but discs that are lowest common denominator head shots
whereas those fish and chips lovers are getting the goodness you see up and to the right as opposed to our release below:

.I’ll ask
you to look at some other UK DVD releases and notice an overall divergence.
Granted, some of their titles are far worse looking than ours and they have
those ugly film ratings on the cover (hey Britain, those are annoying), but
there are some times you wish everyone had a policy like the Simpsons folks. I sent in $3 and
a proof of purchase because I hated my Homer Head case, they sent me one that
was more in tune with the rest of my collection. Granted, they ridiculed me
every step of the way but imagine being able to have the option of that awesome
Alien Head Quadrilogy set or an option for different Star Wars packaging? I’m not one to suggest those bootleg DVD
covers you can get online because that’s the poop. Imagine if Anchor Bay
had an alternative to those abysmal tin cases other than buying one of 90
different releases for the Evil Dead
and Hellraiser flicks?

Remember
the Batman
Begins
ad campaigns that had bats over the skylines of whatever major
cities the film was opening in? That was cool as shit and just imagine if they
packed three or four slipsleeves in the retail release that allowed for folks
to have a little fun? I think we’ve all endured enough releases without any
kind of an insert at all that we deserve someone to give us “skins” to choose
from.

And
before you mention the cost of such an endeavor, head on over to Blockbuster on
a Monday night and look at the billions of printed slipsleeves they have for
rental titles. All I’m asking for is a little thought about us that actually
care about this kind of shit.

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Science Overrated?

I’ve tried to keep the political and religious stuff to a minimum, mostly because I don’t have the time to do all the fact checking and research needed to get to the root of my worries and I know that this isn’t that kind of site. That said, this is my rant column.

I do know that our nation is on the receiving end of some deserved and some vastly undeserved criticism and hardship and for every seemingly genuine bit of caring that rises up, an opportunistic or hollow bit of it lessens the good work being done. Hey Barry Bonds, thanks for answering questions about your steroid use by mentioning Katrina relief. They are most certainly similar topics. Stuff like that chafes me worse than a six hour stint in my Brillo jock strap.

But it’s not just New Orleans faux caring, but on all fronts. Oh, and is anyone else a little creeped out by that ad with Clinton and Bush Sr. telling us to donate to Katrina relief? Honestly, if you were on the fence until THAT ad turned you, slice up the arm and not sideways and please don’t leave a note.

But when all the smoke clears and the pressing concerns are dealt with, I have a sneaking suspicion that the religious angle will grow and grow and grow as our current regime slips its fundamental noose around the necks of us all. You know what? It’s not just Bush and it’s not just Republicans. It’s people who simply don’t know how to deal with the sins of humanity with logic and realize that there will always be murder and rape and that our reptile brain still has some pull with the mammal brain. But still, whenever things happen that defy sanity, the finger pointing gets worse and it always results in the blame being shoved towards the things we create in art and media and not the fact that we’re only giving a face to stuff that exists around us.

I think that violence in media is good. Video games. Television. Film. Literature. It’s good. It teaches us what’s out there or what could be. You know what’s better than violence in media? Sex in media. A dead horse, the way that you can commit untold acts of violence just as long as there’s no sex, but it’s a weird fact. Sex is terrific. In fact, it’s pretty vital, though some people ought to use fifteen forms of protection just in case. Violence and sex are awesome. You know what isn’t? Being preached to. Not when you don’t want to be at least. There’s a time and place to be told that kind of stuff, I know because it’s when I’m craving Chick Fil-A the most and can’t fucking have it.

Where this is going is the rising role of religion, particularily with this hilarious-if-they-weren’t-serious Creationism that’s sweeping the nation. How does a guy react when he turns the channel and some polyester prophet is talking about how science is lies and how evolution is shite and not either check to see if I am on Comedy Central or go punch a Gideon right in the forehead? I’m not brilliant, but I know that science is in many cases a synonym for fact. The people who are religious should be fighting tooth and nail against this wave of insanity, because I know religious people and the smarter ones acknowledge that they have their faith in God that doesn’t exactly have to hinge on the stuff in the Bible being a total pack of facts. You can have faith and still not think that your girlfriend is only your girlfriend because of some ancient rib-sharing rite. You can still have faith and decide that perhaps they didn’t get two of every species to hop into a boat for a little journey. I can’t get my two dogs to behave at the same time and I’ve been at it for seven years.

The work by folks like Stephen Jay Gould (who is sadly now Stephen Dead Gould) has opened a lot of eyes and caused some to scratch their heads and wonder, but it seems like the thing we have to fear more than natural disasters (it’d suck if it’s actually Sean Connery and his weather device), terrorists, and the fact that everything but rice and water gives us cancer.

It’s this kind of thinking, the stuff that makes it harder for people to believe in or find faith. The stuff that makes us wonder why we rail against zealots in the desert when we have plenty here. The stuff that says "you know what, all these years of growth and learning don’t mean jack shit".

Creationism is dumb. We used to think the Earth was flat, we got over it. We used to think that Michael Jackson was our friend, we got over it. We used to eat with the same hands we gutted a beast and wiped our ass with without washing, we got over it. We used to be little fish hating life in the sea, we got hairy, grew big ugly balls, and got over it.

Whether you’re religious or not, your own belief system revolves around you co-existing with others in some semblance of peace. Religion is about acting a way that you can be proud of, something you feel reflects well on your God and that treats your fellow man well. Right?

RIGHT?

So, cut it with this stupid trend of narrow thinking.

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Fanning the Flames of Pointless Pub.

.Holy crap I have seen it all. In a world where I get seemingly daily press releases about each artist or writer who no one has heard of or cares about "going exclusive" from DC and Marvel, this takes the Mint Chocolate Cookie. I mean, while it’s hard to compete with the synapse bursting news that a guy who inked issue #6 of ROM: Spaceknight is now exclusive to Marvel, my jaw hits the floor with alarming thrift at the news that Dakota Fanning is now a Girl Scout. Behold, a press release for the ages:

DAKOTA FANNING-MOVIE STAR AND GIRL SCOUT

One of Today’s Hottest Stars Joins World’s Premier Organizations For
Girls

Chatsworth, CA: On
Thursday, September 22, two of today’s brightest young stars joined the ranks
of 2.8 million girls when Dakota Fanning and her younger sister, Elle, became
proud members of Girl Scouts of the USA. The girls were inducted into the Girl Scouts
of the San Fernando Valley To celebrate the occasion, Dakota hosted a
special screening of her latest film project, DreamWorks Pictures’ “DREAMER:
Inspired by a True Story,” for her sister Girl Scouts from the San Fernando Valley. council.

Dakota and more than 500 Girl
Scouts were treated to the exclusive screening at the AMC Burbank Theater. Although Elle could not be present for the
ceremony and screening, she was made a Brownie, while Dakota became a Girl
Scout, following in the footsteps of their mother, who was a Girl Scout for
many years.

“It is our great pleasure to
welcome Dakota and Elle to our Girl Scout family,” stated Gerry Keshka, CEO of
the Girl Scouts of the San Fernando Valley. “All our girls look forward to getting to
know both Dakota and Elle and share with them the fun, friendship and adventure
that comes with being a Girl Scout.”

Opening nationwide on October 21,
“DREAMER: Inspired by a True Story” follows the heartwarming tale of a horse
trainer, played by Kurt Russell, and his daughter, Cale, played by Dakota, who
work to save an injured horse. Together,
father and daughter bring the horse back to her former glory in time to race in
the Breeders’ Cup Classic. With a
storyline that emphasizes family values and believing in oneself, “DREAMER”
shows how, by sharing fears and dreams with one another, a family can make the
seemingly impossible, possible.

In recognition of the movie’s
release, both Dakota and “DREAMER: Inspired by a True Story,” will be featured
in
TALK ABOUT IT! Family Fun, a Girl Scout publication that
helps girls ages 8-11 get to know their families—and themselves—better. The book contains fun-filled activities,
games, and quizzes that girls can do on their own or with family and
friends. In addition to showcasing
themes, photos and quotes from the movie, the publication will also provide
girls with a Family Fun calendar and stickers, “Just Ask” Card Games, and over
15 challenges that are fun for the whole family.

When I think of Dakota Fanning and the title of girl scout, I see her going through playgrounds with a photo of Dave Davis, asking her peers "Hey, you wanna meet this guy?", not the blue eyed actress wearing high socks and delivering fatty snacks door to door. Furthermore, I don’t get how this kind of thing is something to run. Is it to inspire girls to suddenly realize that the Girl Scouts exist and run off and join before the eventual draft is re-instated? Is it a feel good story, knowing that tiny precocious millionaires like to create arts and crafts too? Or, is it just the fact that people will do press releases for ANYTHING?

PRESS RELEASE: Tom Cruise endorses the eating of apples!

I don’t fault the media agencies that forward these to us. Well, I do but it’s not their fault. It’s the people who think we want to know this shit. I don’t care who enrolls in college, who joins the Salvation Army, and who plays Twister with the infirm.

Because someone can look good and deliver lines doesn’t make their personal life of any interest to me. Except Crispin Glover. He has carte blanche. Why? Because this could possibly happen:

PRESS RELEASE: Crispin Glover gets engaged to his own bowel movement.

I pray for the day.

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Today’s Photo(s) from Life.


I typically hate bumper stickers, but anything to spoof that high faluting "W" one is good by me.

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If CHUD.com Ran the Movies


Bastardization by Nick Nunziata. All apologies to the makers of The Exorcism of Emily Rose.


News Attack #22

Give
me a hand. What’s more depressing, seeing everyone you love eaten by
insects or watching the nightly news? For me it depends on if the
insects are arboreal. To save you the heartache, I browsed the US news
section of CNN. Here’s a quick rundown…

1. The Headline: Accused Serial Rapist Charged

Nick’s
Take: First of all, the fact that the nickname this particular crook has is ‘The Serial Rapist’ shows a total lack of creativity. Unless you really can bring something to the table, you’re not THE serial rapist. You’re one of many and undeserving of the coveted THE prefix. Now if he was The People’s Rapist or The New Rapist on the Block or He Who Rapes Among the Rows or whatever, so be it. Plus, the guy’s name is
Wilbur Cyrus Brown. How could he NOT be a rapist with a name like that? Probably raped in the womb. Three names means you are a criminal. Plus, Cyrus. Everyone named Cyrus hurts others.

2. The Headline: Stepfather Calls 911 After Grosse Ile Attack.

Nick’s
Take: It takes balls to crack wise with the operator when your throat has been slashed, but that’s what a man did after her son ALLEGEDLY slashed her throat and then his stepfather’s throat before running off in a fit of throat slashing joy. The guy, whose wife was already writhing in a torrent of pain on the laundry room floor, called 911 and deadpanned a response to the operator’s comment to her officer that he was upset. It’s a 50/50 risk, that. Maybe it’ll expedite the response and maybe she’ll get an attitude and wait for his throat slash to go from runny faucet to congealed mess. You know how government workers can cop an attitude at the drop of a hat. What is kind of odd is that there’s a kid out there with a hard-on for neck slicing. I mean, that’s so 1640.


3. The Headline: Police: 1 Mile From Freedom, Coast Guard Intercepts Refugees

Nick’s
Take: A Coast Guard boat stepped in just in time to ensure that ten Cuban men will suffer harshly when they are sent back home after coming just a mile away from the land of opportunity. While hopping onto a dinghy and making the bum’s rush towards America isn’t bright, I think there has to be a way to keep these people from having to live in Cuba where the only fun thing to do is to see if he does another Snow Dogs movie.

4. The Headline: $70M Donation Made To Cleveland Clinic

Nick’s
Take: Seventy million dollars isn’t a donation. It’s HOLY SHIT THAT IS A LOT OF HOLY SHIT THAT IS A LOT OF HOLY SHIT MONEY HOLY SHIT MONEY. MONEY.

5. The Headline: Katrina Evacuees Say Rita Arrivals Getting Better Treatment

Nick’s
Take: Just think, another eighteen more of these devastating storms and we may have this getting along shit nailed down.

6. The Headline: Another Shopping Center To Impose Youth Curfew

Nick’s Take: They’re called hours of business, rocket scientists!

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You Trust Me? Trust These!

Here’s
some flat-out recommendations for you. Stuff I’ve already seen, read,
heard, or clicked on and found to be utterly lovely. I’m going to try
not to choose obvious things like The Watchmen or Fight Club or Faith No More’s Angel Dust, ’cause you ought to know by now! Have at. If you like this, it’ll continue:

DVD: Fire and Ice. Yes, Ralpha Bakshi is a total ass in regards to his lame Lord of the Rings movie and Peter Jackson’s transcendent ones but this is a wonderful blast from the past. Great and loving rotoscoped wonder.

Book: The Cosmic Serpent – Jeremy Narby. It’ll piss some off, leave others cold, but for people who are interested in DNA and the birth of rational thought, this is a fun and surprisingly light read considering the material. Narby tells his non-fiction tale with a sotryteller’s grace. Good stuff.

Album: The Moog Cookbook – Ye Olde Space Band. You’ve heard of Mood Music? Well, this is Mood Music if you can’t spell. Actually, it’s a hilarious and wonderful album of rock covers by a moog band that has to be heard to be believed. Sounds awfully like MIDI files but is brilliant nonetheless.

Website: Micronauts. Proof that absinthe and toy creation mix!

Video Game: Burnout: Legends – PSP. There’s nothing like having a handheld game that looks and plays like this. The fact I can sit in Atlanta traffic and destroy cars and ram into buses without losing blood is a huge release.

Trade Paperback: Runoff – Tom Manning. Fucked up and great.

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The Speed Round, #13

Here’s how it works. Ask me ANYTHING. Do it either through THIS EMAIL LINK or on THIS MESSAGE BOARD THREAD. That’s the complex nature of this section.

Q: How many members of the band ‘Stryker’ does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: Three. One to change it. One to keep switching back and forth between being a religous group. One to spray their hair stiffer than Ted Williams.

Q: P.J.’s KING KONG – really all that or too much hype?

A: All that. It’d better be, dammit.

Q: King Kong’s PJs – do they have bananas on?

A: That’s not funny.

Q: More annoying: Long Island girls, or Jersey Girls?

A: Kennesaw girls.

Q: Any feelings about Nobody’s Fool (the movie)?

A: Not as good as the Cinderella song.

Q: Why can’t Atlanta fill a stadium even during the playoffs?

A: They will this year, but who cares? They’ve done a good job of igniting the local folks into FEELING for their team again. To support a team you don’t have to go to the stadium.

Q: Whatever happened to Mary Stuart Masterson? She was cute.

A: She had short hair.

Q: How many times do they say, "Where’s the girl?!?" in SPARTAN?

A: One less than too many.

Q: What three movies are you most looking forward to next summer?

A: I have no idea. I can barely keep my mind centered on this weekend’s films. I know that I’m aching for… nothing! I am not jazzed about much of anything filmwise.

Q: What’s the last great book about movies you read? Any favorite books about the
movie business?

A: I lose track. I tend to like most of them for different reasons but recently I’ve been attracted to ones that detail how to set up shots and do specific camera trickery than any kind of thesis works.

Q: Were you personally effected in any way by Hurricane Katrina?

A: Not really, aside from the typical inconviniences with gas and whatnot. Of course, I was emotionally affected but that’s called being human.

Q: Have you ever thought about writing an autobiography (a la Harry Knowles)? I’m
sure that all of my fellow Chewers here would read it and find it fascinating.

A: My life isn’t interesting enough as a story, though I’d be game for writing stuff that covers those years but more as a travelogue through the 70’s – 00’s in my eyes. That said, I’m spread too thin already.

Q: Will there be another installment of the CHUD Show? Great stuff.

A: Yes there will be. Sooner than later.

Q: When will the eagerly-anticipated, long-awaited final installment or
installments of the CHUD 100 Greatest Bastards List final arrive? Is there going
tobe a Sex Scene one?

A: This week.

Q: Favorite pizza topping?

A: My mouth! Actually, I’m a spinach, chicken and feta cheese type of guy.

Q: Would you support the impeachment of President Bush- if it came to that?

A: No. As much as I don’t really like the work he’s done, an impeachment would hurt the country.

Q: What do you think of how the whole "gangsta" lifestyle where kids and teens
emulate the whole gangsta rapper lifestyle?

A: It’s dumb. I don’t people emulating anything and it happens all the time, like the kids emulating 1982 right now. Is it that hard to just be yourself?

Q:Do you love or hate the movie Braveheart?

A: I think it’s good but hardly Oscar material. Death Wish in a kilt, I’ve always said.

Q: How’s the wife and kid doing?

A: Awesome! Catherine has balanced her cancer fighting work with a little laser treatment stuff that is less taxing on the psyche and if I ever wanted to be less hairy the opportunity exists. Sofia is nothing less than the best, though she does require all the focus one has and I can’t get anything done on days I’m at home watching her. The best thing is that her eyes light up when she sees baseball on TV. She loves watching ball with her dad and she also likes the Lucky Nightsticks which makes her either brilliant or clinically insane.

Q: How’s Meg coming along? Was the first script draft solid?

A: I’ve got a gag order, but there is very good news on the horizon.

Q:Who’s the meanest celebrity you ever met? The friendliest?

A: Morgan Freeman. Not a man who wanted to be nice at that time. I really found Mandy Moore to be a joy to talk to, Thomas Jane is a wonderful man, Ron Perlman. Most of them are at least amicable.

Q:Have you ever seen a man eat his own head?

A: Yes.

Today’s Chewer Obituary.

Kathmandu, Nepal -
Sean van der Meulen
is so freaking dead it isn’t funny. The noted scholar and winner of the Yeates Trophy for his poem Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: A discussion of Larry Cohen Films on Beta was found in a state by hikers which can only be described as remotely once humanoid. Van der Meulen, whose name is roughly translated into Meulen’s Dodge Caravan, had been on safari when he turned up missing. One of the reasons he wasn’t found sooner was that searchers scoured the African countryside for him, not even considering he might be in Nepal on safari, though some mistakenly translate his name into meaning Meulen’s GMC Safari. The scholar made his name in 2012 when he avoided incarceration through a loophole in the legal system (a $500,000 payoff) after being caught in bed with 19 of his female students at once but later gained prominence from his insightful poetry as well as his ability to not own vans. He is survived by 19 undergraduates and inexplicably, a seven year old otter.

Read the Obituary discussion here.

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Today’s CHUD Fact

I drive past Burt Reynolds’ stock farm 5 times a week.

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The Movies I Watched While Writing This.

None. Sportcenter, baby!

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And that is the end of Steady Leak #112.

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