A Critical Appreciation of Explosions: RoboCop

For the 2nd post in this series, here’s a terrifically well-written guest post from Yaz

If you were to ask me to name my five favorite science fiction movies, the list would go as follows:

A Clockwork Orange. Videodrome. Minority Report. RoboCop. Blade Runner.

 There’s no irony there, no tongue-in-cheek, so-bad-it’s-good appeal. I love RoboCop. It is one of my favorite movies. It’s one of the best action movies ever made and it has a lot of depth to it. Ken Russell (director of Tommy and the film version of Lawrence’s Women in Love) described it as “the best science fiction film since Metropolis.” Roger Ebert compared it to Chaplin’s Modern Times. It’s the director of Showgirls and a cyborg tromping around, spouting monotone one-liners and fighting the most 80’s villains imaginable, but out of it all come some really complex ideas and a startling amount of heart and pathos. It is a great film, and the fact that anyone on Earth could think otherwise, well–that’s the kind of crime not even RoboCop himself could stop.

“I have to go. Somewhere, a critical misinterpretation is happening.”

So come with me, now, to the ruins of Old Detroit, and let’s look at the elements that make this film so damn amazing (and, by the way– I’m going to be consulting the Director’s Cut of the film, which goes heavier on the satire and the blood). Continue reading

Death Proof II: The Italian Job & Bullitt

Ah, the car chase.  A fundamental building block of the action genre, a good car chase is easy to take for granted nowadays – and for good reason.

It’s not a reflection on the stuntmen themselves – the drivers have not gotten worse.  It’s just few and far between that a film highlights the inherent skill involved in coordinating a car chase.  Instead, it’s glossed over with CGI, lightning-quick cuts, and more often than not, a Christ-awful Modern Rock soundtrack.  You can put a guy in a flame retardant suit and have him roll his Chevy Nova through the air between two skyscrapers and I will be rendered incapable of caring if you make me listen to Nickleback at the same time.

Popular taste has almost neutered the car chase.  People have attention spans that can only be measured in nanoseconds.  As much as I love the patently retarded Fast & Furious series (because it sorta gets that it’s patently retarded) it’s far more indicative of what people want to see nowadays.  But here, let’s chalk up another post in the Death Proof series and applaud the totally fucking rad car chases of times gone by as we compare two classics: The Italian Job and Bullitt. 

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The Lord’s Work

Me: “I’m telling you, there’s this shop in Philadelphia & I swear, they are doing the Lord’s work.”

My Girlfriend: “Honey, I love you, but sometimes you sound like an idiot.”

Hammarhead Industries has a simple mission statement: Honor the Past, but Never Look Back.  Looking at the line of bikes the shop has turned out, nothing could be more fitting.  But even still, I’m not sure what the best word is for what the shop’s founder, James Loughead is doing out there.  “Retro-engineering” doesn’t sound quite right.  And in context, it somehow cheapens the craft and the craftsman to leave it at “modification”. 

That gray area between form and function is a wonderful place.  And nestled firmly in there is what must be Hammarhead’s masterpiece: The Triumph Jack Pine.  A bike that looks like a machine you’d have seen Bud Ekins swing his leg over in 1967 before tearing through the desert at 90 mph.  It is an elegant machine, but one designed to be used out in the elements and come through the other side perfectly fine.

Made In Britain.  Perfected in America.

Read on after the jump for pics.

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Raindrops on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens

As I get older, I find myself less and less inclined to harp on about things I hate.  From mild annoyances like new music radio to that asshole who cut me off at that intersection in Winter Hill and gave me the finger to people who don’t understand the beauty of Echo & the Bunnymen’s second LP… I no longer feel the urge to lease space in my head for such things.  I don’t listen to radio stations that don’t have static as a primary feature, I’ve accepted the fact that I live in MA and no one here but me and my girlfriend can drive, and people who don’t like Heaven Up Here are going to hell anyway – I can’t be fucked to care.  I’ve mellowed in my old age, is what I’m getting at.

It’s only recently that I’ve realized this – and frankly, I’m proud of myself.  I’m damned proud that I’ve grown up in this respect and feel like a better person for it.

And so, with that in mind, today I’d like to forgo a proper post and instead focus this kind of zen I’ve found and present a few of my favorite things.  Just for the hell of it.  Continue reading