Feature 82 – Batman: the Killing Joke (2016)

or “The Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”

Featuring the voices of: Kevin “’Batman: The Animated Series‘” Conroy , Mark “the Star Wars movies” Hamill , Tara “’The New Batman Adventures‘” Strong

Director: Justin “Planet Hulk” Liu

Writer: Brian “Batman: Gotham Knight” Azzarello

Origin: USA

Review_____

“It doesn’t have to be good to be a classic!”

Uggh, the summer heat continues to drain my waning lifeforce straight out of my sweat holes on a daily basis. Call me Carbon monoxide, cuz I’m exhausted. Much like Simon Le Bon in “Hungry Like the Wolf”, I smell like I sound… if I sound like the embodiment of misery trapped in Sam Raimi’s Skinner flesh suit, saturated with the contents of the New York Giants’ training camp sweat bucket. Fucking festering bloody HELL! Those Faux News knob ends love to make their tired old “Where’s all this global warming liberal nonsense now?!” jokes every winter when the quicksilver dips into single digits (because they’re thumb sitting finger sniffers who don’t know how climate change works), but where are the same snide comments when every street reporter and their sweet Aunt Petunia is cooking Hot Pockets and fried eggs on the sidewalks? Exactly. Twats.

Speaking of twats, as good as a comic writer as Alan Moore is, he's got an unfortunate obsession with putting rape scenes into a lot of his work. I know it makes his stuff more “adult” and “gritty”, but there is an unnerving preoccupation with sexual assault going on in that man's head, and possibly even scarier things going on in that man's beard. These moments are always done in nauseating ways that make sure to remind the reader that rape is not an arousing act, but a hideous crime committed by monsters in human costumes, so I'm not accusing him of including them for his own titillation nor to attract sales from miserable worms who do get off on that shit. For you SAT lovers out there, sexual assaults are to Alan Moore’s work as The Classic is to Sam Raimi’s movies! Despite my prior diatribe (“priotribe”?) though, today’s review is for the recently animated adaptation of one of the man’s most prolific DC Comics projects of the ’80s, and one of the least rape prevalent works on the man’s resume. Whether it’s because even a “mature readers only” Batman story was only allowed to go so far under the watchful eye of Big Brother DC or Moore just wanted to leave it up to the readers’ brains to fill in the blanks with their own Mad Libs-ian answers, there was no graphic intercourse (forced or otherwise) to be had in this tale, considered by many to be the definitive story of the Batman’s oldest and darkest nemesis – the Joker.

Warning: If you’ve never read the 29 year-old comic book this movie is based on and are allergic to so-called cinematic spoilers, continue not but at your own risk! I have much to muse on this venture and not the emotional balance to tip-toe around all the broken glass. If you choose not to heed Crazy Ralph’s warning, your severed head will have no one but yourself to blame!

Originally conceived as an alternate universe one off (a gimmick DC would later dub “Elseworlds” stories), “The Killing Joke” laid out the Joker’s till-then-untold origin, making Batman and his cackling nemesis much more alike that anyone would have thought before. Although it drew these parallels between the pair it also made clear that three people, who each suffered the worse single days of their individual lives, all took very different paths amid their own personal mental fallout. As much as we’re all the same, we’re all still very very different… and yes, I ate the cookie after reading that.

The Clown Prince of Crime had escaped from Arkham Asylum yet again to cause his signature brand of maniacal mayhem. Rather than attack Batman directly this time, Grinnin’ Jo’ targeted the number one accomplice to the vigilante’s acts: GCPD Commissioner James Gordon. Jimmie’s night of terror began with his daughter Barbara being shot in the abdomen, leaving the lovely ginger paralyzed from the waist down and clawing at her unwanted second navel as she bled out on the carpet of her dad’s apartment. After getting throttled by the Laughing Man’s hired goons (Homer Simpson: “Hired goons?!”), Gordon would wake up later in the remnants of a rundown amusement park, the likes of which you’d expect to be owned by Dick Van Dyke and “haunted” by a guy pretending to be the ghost of a sideshow strongman in an episode of “The New Scooby Doo Movies”. Upon regaining said consciousness, the Commish (not to be confused with Michael Chiklis and his radioactive orange rubble dick) was stripped naked and harnessed by creepy bug-eyed midgets in S&M dungeon cupid get-ups, then dragged through a Tunnel of Love Torment where Mr. J tried to drive him to utter madness (not to be confused with the script-in-progress for my mad cow disease scare movie Udder Madness) with a bombardment of images showing the crippled and bloody Barbara in a disturbing state of undress.

Whether Jokes actually violated Babs with his unfunny bone in the process has been a state of contention between readers in the nigh-thirty calendars passed since its publication. Moore himself declared that Barbara was NOT raped in the story, but in a world where so-called Christian politicians are frequently disregarding their own fucking POPE every time the old man tells them to stop stealing from the poor and shoving golden butt plugs up their asses, fanboys and fangirls continue to debate exactly how many fluids stained that carpet off-panel and from whom they came.

That wasn’t intended as a rape joke, but it feels like it came out a lot skeezier than my usual sense of perverse humor normally would, given the context. If it made your guts feels greasier than a bag of McDonald’s double cheeseburgers (I’m convinced they straight up dip those nasty sammies into a bucket of old grease next to the grill before they wrap ’em up), my apologies.

Remember the part where I said “Killing Joke” was intended as an alt uni story? Well, it was so popular and well received that DC opted to make it canonical and crippled Batgirl in the base continuity. Babs would inspirationally overcome the limitations of her handicap and continue on as the superhero information broker Oracle, hacking the bad guys’ Ashley Madison accounts from the comfort of her wheelchair and forever battling the scourge of bedsores on her backside. Don’t laugh. Bedsores killed Superman, after all! Anyway, DC later rebooted their entire existence and recreated it as “The New 52”, a world where Miss Gordon would still be shot in the spine by the murderous jester of ill-repute, but would fully recover from the physical trauma and retake her place as the be-breasted member of the Batman’s brood, ultimately becoming a hipster heroine residing with the trust fund trash in Gotham’s version of Williamsburg. Blart.

If any of the trigger material I’ve run down up to this point has bothered you at all (especially for those with a fear of thick rimmed glasses and pork pie hats from that last bit), then I suggest you end your experience here and return the unused portion for a full refund… of your zero dollar investment. Fair warning – as much as everyone was anticipating this cartoon conversion of the beautifully rendered battle between two disturbed paragons of good and evil (if you haven’t seen Brian Bolland’s original art, get thee to a funnybook dispensary and partake, post haste!), it’s so much sleazier than the material that inspired it.

Killing Joke was released by Warner Bros (owners of DC Comics) one convenient week before their summer blockbuster-to-be, Suicide Squad. Despite being a team movie, the only real focus of the live-action SS has been on team member Harley Quinn and the controversial remodeling of their white trash version of The Joker, which does a disservice to the rest of the potentially entertaining cast. No diggity, a better suited title would’ve been Joker & Harley: Send in the Clowns! (featuring Batfleck and Big Willy Style). Hoping for something more than a marketing tie-in, fans moistened their Underoos when it was revealed that the characters’ voice actors from the now classic “Batman: the Animated Series” would be reprising the roles they helped make larger than life for kids of the ’90s. Kevin Conroy as Batman! Luke Skywalker as Joker! What’s-her-name as Batgirl! Woohoo! But, was it actually worth the anticipatory pants shittings that came about from the announcement?

To kick things off, if you were wondering how a 64 page one-shot graphic novel was going to be stretched into a 90 minute feature, that answer comes in the form of an original Batgirl tale, written by renowned comic scribe Brian Azzarello. Regarding the Bat, the Bazz has some experience already, including the acclaimed “Joker” one-shot with the dynamic Lee Bermejo on art, and the much less lauded “Broken City” storyline in the main “Batman” series with illustrator Eduardo Risso. In all fairness, “Broken City” was coming off of the heels of the massively successful all-star pairing of Jim Lee & Jeph Loeb’s “Hush” event, so despite not revolutionizing the character, it wasn’t a bad story so much as it was overshadowed… and I’ve probably lost most of you after that last paragraph, meant for comic geeks over Hollywood hangers-on. MOVING ON!

Presumably taking place in the period between the murder of Robin 2 and the arrival of Robin 3, Batgirl (Tara Strong) is pulling sidekick shifts for Batman (Kevin Conroy), helping keep the peace in Gotham City. And doing it in high heels no less! As with any female in a position of prominence, Barbara’s garnered the unwanted attentions of a fan-gone-too-far in the form of a criminal who calls himself Paris Franz (Maury Sterling)… really, Bazz? That’s what you call him? Sweet Christmas, man, if you didn’t want the job you could’ve just turned it down! Uggh.

This small time sleazeball has a hard-on for the ginger vigilante and though his efforts to get cozy with her go unrequited, they’re still enough to throw the high-heeled hero off her game and allow him to continuously get away. This doesn’t sit well with her spandex clad father figure, who reprimands her several times about staying away from Paris the Tongue Bandit. Pretty hypocritical of the old man, given his long term on(her)-again, (get)off-again humpin’ buddies relationship with Catwoman, not to mention (though I’m mentioning it) his belfry bang sessions with Talia fucking al Ghul, which resulted in the birth of THEIR SON! For Fastback’s sake, Bats, you ran out of orphans to be your leotarded right hands, so why not knock up the daughter of one of your most dangerous enemies for Robin #5! Left your Bat condoms back at the cave and figured Talia couldn’t get pregnant if she just jumped up and down after?! Sounds like Alfred was a pretty piss poor home educator when it came time to have “the talk”.

Where was I? Oh yeah, Batgirl. She rebels like a teenager, throwing hissy fits in her private life and rebuking Die Fledermaus’ orders, shouting about how she can handle the job and how her hormones won’t get in the way… then she completely contradicts herself and throws herself all over Bruce’s batpole. And so signals the moment when Brian Azzarello shat away his legitimacy with a large section of the fanbase.

Sorry kids, but it’s true. Batgirl is reduced to being a hormonal chick with authority issues who just can’t keep her tongue to herself. And Batman? He’s equally incapable of controlling his animal urges (despite how his whole deal is being in control of everything) for the sake of trying to give geeks something to wank about. Bats swaps spit with his young protege, gropes her ass, and gives his will over to Lil’ Brucie as his nubile daughter figure straddles him and undresses herself faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth as a creepy concrete gargoyle creep-eyes the joining of junk from above.

For the kids out there – a phone booth was basically a Tardis without all the space-time manipulation stuff. They just had, well, a phone inside. Shut up. I’m not old, you’re just stupid! BAH!

I thought the numerous shots of Batgirl’s/Barbara’s backside were the gratuitous work of a 14yo boy before this, and had concerns when one scene featured a redheaded hooker alluding to Paris’ penchant for mask play, but for the filthy love of Bob fucking Kane (or Bill fucking Finger, depending on whose side you’re on), Bazz! No, you know what, forget my prior pet name. After reducing this to a PG-13 fanboy fantasy, your new moniker is now “Brazz”, as in short for “Brazzers”.

And for the dickards out there wanking themselves to this with one hand (Seriously? Google “Batgirl hentai” or just search “Batgirl” on PornHub, YouPorn, PayNadaPornanza, or whatever your free fuck movie service of choice) and using the other to type out disparaging YouTube comments for those of us against the needless character assassination going on here or anywhere else by calling us “social justice warriors” because we're not misogynists like you, feel free to choke on your own mincing members, you putrid, seething, self-loathing, subhumanoid cum squats.

What nut fart coined phrases like “social justice warrior” and “white knight” to begin with, anyway? Clearly some CHUD who thought that the reason women weren’t throwing themselves face first at his dick had nothing to do with his being a sack of rancid garbage and everything to do with weak little pussy boys who pretend they’re better than him by treating women like they’re not just prettied up breeding stock put on this planet to make casseroles and babies. Just the type of scrotal flea who thinks words like “social justice” and “white knight” are bad things, because they go against the “alpha male” rapist personality that they were told they had to be their entire lives if they wanted to be a success, but upon whom the total irony of using those terms as insults is lost when they’re looking up to heroes like Batman as their fucking idol. Grow up, you simpering shit sniffers. Learn some gods damned empathy and figure out how people want to be treated instead of just treating them like crap for starters! Chances are you can’t afford to import a slave wife of your own, so straighten the hell up or you’re only going to have yourself to blame when you die alone having never known real love.

And not that mandatory love given by someone who was legally responsible for your well being. That doesn’t count!

And the fuckery doesn't end there, either. Oh no no no. After giving Batgirl the best sex of her life (as we're forced to overhear during one of Babs' workplace girltalk sessions with her gay co-worker, who might wanna call the fire department, cuz he's a straight up flaming stereotype), post-hookup Batman turns into Craftsman (i.e. a complete tool) and altogether AVOIDS Batgirl. For WEEKS. So, the same guy who’s trained his mind and his body for decades to the point of being one of the most dangerous men on Earth becomes a whimpering little bitch-boy just like that?! Holy chastity cages! Matching wits with Riddler? Going toe-to-claw with Killer Croc? Holding the mangled corpse of his murdered ward in his arms? Nothing, compared to the nerve crushing intimidation of having to talk to Batgirl after a one-nighter. Did she slip a digit in his dumper without asking and he’s ashamed that he liked it? Did he blurp out a Brodie Bruce while she was going down on him? Did he call her “Robin” when he came? You’re Batman, for fuck’s sake! BATMAN! DAMN IT, BRAZZ! WAS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE EDGY?! YOU ACTUALLY GOT PAID FOR THIS!? BUCKETS OF BLOOD! ARGH!

That's it. Forgive me if this sounds like fanboy rage, but if I linger on this amateur fanfic shit storm story any longer, I'm gonna have a fucking stroke and risk losing my spot in the tontine I signed into with the boys and girls from up North for the keys to the Kraken. From this point on, the movie basically follows the “Killing Joke” story to the letter anyway, minus a bonus scene here and there for further running time enhancement. Unfortunately, this includes one of Bats hitting up some hookers for info on Jokeman that just tries to lead more credence to the “Joker raped crippled Barbara” theory THAT ALAN MOORE ALREADY SQUASHED. Yep, more of that edgy “pander to the maturity retarded” bullshit to try and justify the R rating. Guy Gardner help me…

Okay, so the story’s a lead balloon filled with farts in a church… so much for mixing metaphors. The entire first half, which was created to not just pad time (mmmm, pad thai) but show non-fans why Batgirl’s part in the story is important (which it never really was, and now just smells like so much exploitational stink!), is just needless and irritating and tonally wrong wrong WRONG!

That said, let's pretend we're a Grindr user with blue balls and see how the rest measures up! The animation is solid. It's standard DC stuff a la previous Batman Merrie Melodies, such as Under the Red Hood and Son of Batman. That’s not a bad thing if you’re looking for a more realistic art style. It fits the other DC movies just fine, but not so much in this instance. Brian Bolland’s art (I repeat, funnybook dispensary, post haste, get thee!) in the book is a high standard to live up to. Its heavier shadowing and richer colors are poorly represented by the paint-by-numbers job we end up watching. And in a story that hinges on Joker’s personal flashbacks and special demented brand of insanity, there’s so much room for creative license that just gets ignored! To paraphrase the late Heath Ledger’s jolly sociopath, “Why so lazy?” Maybe WB could’ve taken a cue from Beavis and Butthead Do America‘s Rob Zombie hallucination sequence and brought in industry folks like Sam Keith (remember the MTV adaptation of his psychedelic “Maxx” comic book?) or Simon Bisley to add their own stylized touch, punching the visuals up a bit. Hel, go outside of the proverbial comic box and hire a freak like Ralph Steadman to really kick the shit out of those bastard visuals! You just know those visuals did something to deserve it, so if the cops come around asking if you witnessed anything, you didn’t see NOTHIN’. Got it? Good.

By the way, if you hate rambling reviews where the writer just pisses on and on about how they would've done the thing they're reviewing differently, my apologies. I try not to be that person, but comic books are one of the few things I’ve had a boner for longer than movies. Sometimes my metaphorical urine stream just doesn’t stop and we get an “Ogre takes the world’s longest leak in Revenge of the Nerds 2” position like the one I’m currently locked into. I once again throw myself to your tender mercies in repentance, but I don’t feel right when bitching isn’t backed up with reasons and alternatives aren’t offered by the offended. It’s too “Conservative politician” for me.

As mentioned, the announcement of Kevin Conroy AND Mark Hamill returning to lend their voices to the pop culture icons that they helped redefine during the dark days that were the Schumacher movies left the internet losing control of its collective bladder. I mean, sure, the duo had just finished voicing the very same pairing last year in the Batman: Arkham Knight video game (as they had also done for the Arkham Asylum and Arkham City installments before), but what self-respecting geek plays video games these days, right?! Ignoring the massive sarchasm with which I just split the Earth apart wider than Michelle Duggar’s birthing void, the reason this was a big deal was due to Hamill’s vow that he would never again do his signature Joker voice (because of the wear and tear is does to his vocal chords), unless there was to be an adaptation of “The Killing Joke”. So, banking on Hamill’s renewed popularity following his part in the highest grossing movie of all time (which I still haven’t watched), DC and WB fast tracked the production with a Wally West quickness, cracked out on the possibility of a “Big money, no Whammies!” payout. Too bad they also managed to bury the lead when it was announced before the movie’s release that this wouldn’t be Marky Mark Skywalker’s final portrayal of the clown-faced killer, as he and Conroy are both coming back AGAIN to voice their respective alter egos for the not-out-as-of-this-writing cartoon series “Justice League Action”…

Were this not disappointing enough, not only is the Hamill “get” not nearly as special as we were first told, but the damage the Joker role has done to the old man is pretty damn prevalent listening to the hoarse delivery, with several instances of bordering-on-cracking. You can just picture his voice box exploding like an IED the next time a convention hall full of fanfolk goads him into doing it “just one more time!”. Even if Cock-Knocker's gullet wasn’t resembling that of a deep throat porn star’s post-retirement, Killing Joke‘s dialogue is just too moody and philosophical for his brand of Mr. J mania. Alan Moore’s words are some of Joker’s most prolific, but they’re square pegs in Hamill’s round mouth hole. HOWEVER, I gotta give props where they’re owed – Hamill’s rendition of the movie’s big song and dance number is perfectly suited for him and he pulled it off brilliantly. Kudos!

Speaking of said scene, here’s something else I can’t let slip through my grip without a gripe – Joker’s gaggle of sideshow goons. Yes, with every day of age I get a little more cantankerous and bitching about small things is cheaper than therapy. Now, despite what the posters of Old Man Withers’ haunted amusement park would suggest, I’m presuming that Joker’s gang was not included with the deed and are an actual team of thugs he had on retainer for whenever he made his latest escape from Arkham. They’re all trained in various disciplines of combat (including the two-headed lady’s knife-throwing ability, which is sometimes accurate enough to take Batman’s smoke bombs out in mid-air, but other times inaccurate enough to stab her own associates in the back) to further pad the action a tad, but they’re also fairly well trained as a troupe of back-up dancers for Joker’s big musical scene… The fuck?

As much as some of my opposition to the movie during my first viewing cooled off by the second viewing, it’s still far from great. What should’ve been a milestone in DC appealing to their mature audiences with an adaptation of one of the Dark Knight’s most infamous tales instead turned out to be a clunky, uneven, off-putting clusterfuck that tries too hard to humanize its heroes and only tarnishes them when all is said and done. In the end, The Killing Joke lands in the camp of crappy attempts at making Alan Moore comics into movies, right alongside The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell. Much like post-bang “bitchy broad” Barbara, who hurls a civilian onto the back of his head for no reason beyond telling his girlfriend he needs space (IT HAPPENS!), I’m tossing The Killing Joke into some bushes and walking away like nothing happened.

As Warner Bros spokesbacon Porky Pig always says, “F-f-f-f-f-f-fuck off, folks!”

Moral of the Story: As per his own words, The Joker is a connoisseur of piss… Now all I can think of is Batman’s deadliest villain, dressed like a purple hipster, partaking in a frothy yellow wine tasting. Damn it.

Screenshots_____


“Wanna see me do a trick? But first, did you ever see Night of the Demons III? I don’t want to spoil the surprise!”


So the villain of this story is Guy Smiley?


Ever since the mall perfume stands switched to a commission only pay structure, employees have gotten WAY too aggressive.


“Can you hurry up and catch the damn Vulpix already?! We’ve got crime to fight!”


Wow, even underwater that guy’s hair retains its full body! He must use Mary Matthews’ All Natural Protein Hair Gel™.


I wonder if Peter knows that Mary Jane’s been posing for sexy mobster paintings… really shitty paintings at that. Why’s her torso so short?!


“Sorry Manuel. As much as I’d like to strike out under my own persona, I just don’t think ‘Pigeon Princess’ strikes fear into the heart of the criminal element.”


“Oh my god! Mad Hatter’s running naked through the street!”
“Meh. I’ve seen bigger. And scarier. Ever seen Killer Croc naked? Trust me, you don’t want to.”


“BatPhone jack… BatPhone jack… DAMN IT! Why do I always have to put so much bullshit in my car that I can’t even find the Grodd damn BatPhone jack without a GPS?!”


Get it? Cuz it says “GOTHAMS RAGE” and Batman is Gotham’s outlet of revenge? You know, like in Batman Returns, when Catwoman wrecks her big neon “Hello There” sign and it says “Hell Here”? Uggh.


Despite tragic results with early test audiences, Sony went through with the release of Paul Blart 2 as planned. Though the long-term damage to society as a whole has yet to be measured, experts agree that we, as a species, may never recover…


That’s not so much an advertisement for the Fat Lady as it is a matter-of-fact poster made for skeptics. “See… the Fat Lady. I told you she was real. Pay up.”


The Joker’s secret origin? He used to be Kramer!
(And why the fuck is that doorway twice the size of the actual door?!)


I’ve had fantasies that looked exactly like this… uhm, I mean, “nightmares”! I’ve had nightmares that looked exactly like this!


“The fax machine at work broke down, so the company’s sent me out door-to-door to inform people that they may be eligible for our free cruise giveaway!”


Many wars and feuds did Joker fight. Honor and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand… But that is another story.


“Yeah, we can do all that! But you’re gonna have to pay us the premium rate, you give us the money up front, and if you put this up online, our pimp is gonna scalp you! Now, you got a room already, or you wanna use ours?”


“Damn it. EVERY time I start making brownies, these assholes need something!”
(How the Hel is he even able to see the signal from that position!?)


Alright, which one of you assholes got Bat Mite hooked on meth?!


“No… hey… come on, Bats… you gotta stop… DAMN IT! I HAVEN’T EVEN TOLD YOU THE JOKE YET! STOP LAUGHING!”

———————————————————
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Anubis will return next time in
“#SquadHoles”

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All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

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Feature 77 – Preacher: “Pilot” (2016)

or “The Three People You Meet in Texas”

Featuring: Dominic “Agent Carter” Cooper , Joseph “Misfits” Gilgun , Ruth “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” Negga

Directors: Evan “This Is the End” Goldberg , Seth “This Is the End” Rogen

Writers: Seth “The Green Hornet” Rogen , Evan “The Green Hornet” Goldberg , Sam “Breaking Bad” Catlin

Origin: USA

Review_____

”Sounds like the first verse of the worst country song ever written.”

I’m paranoid. In a good way. When I lay cheeks upon the porcelain seat, I check beforehand to make sure there’s more than two squares left on the tube and I peek the bowl to make sure no baby alligators or grinning ghoulies are waiting to make an appetizer out of my rump roast. I don’t wanna end up like that guy in Thailand whose excursion to the crapper resulted in a python trying to suck face with his trouser snake. For such occasions, always keep a machete in your magazine rack or just do what I’ve done and duct tape a meat cleaver to the handle of your plunger. Whether I need to waylay a wayward water moccasin or break-up a brown boa constrictor, I do not enter my wild kingdom unarmed. I am the T’Challa of the toilet room. Or, as we call it in The Tomb, the Elimination Chamber.

One thing my paranoia assures is that I go into any and every comic book movie or show with a gallon jug of trepidation. I have seen some of the greatest works of my generation reduced to smoldering ashes of regret and agony at the rape happy hands of studio executives that spun lengths of niche gold into panderous piles of mainstream straw that even the most starving of would-be consumer camels wouldn't give a second sniff, let alone ingest. Witnesses for the prosecution: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Constantine, and Fant4stic are the easiest targets off the top of my pointy ears, though I’m sure any fanboys/fangirls worth their weight in first appearances can rattle off another easy dozen within a blink of Scott Summers’ eyes. Such is the approach I’ve chosen to take with AMC’s second stab at four color fortune (following “The Walking Dead” of course), an adaptation Vertigo Comics’ (R-rated DC) long defunct series Preacher.

Running for 66 issues (not counting the side stories) over a 5 year stretch, the series was my introduction to Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon, and Glen Fabry – a triumvirate of chaos aligned to create a perfect tapestry of entertainment. Ennis was the writer, Dillon was the illustrator, and Fabry painted the covers. Holy shit did he paint the ever lovin’ fuck outta those covers. By Ra’s balls. I wanted every one of those masterpieces on a poster or a t-shirt or painted on my car in high school. Here’s a taste.

I'm not going to delve into the finer points of the comic book or its many infamous tales of sexual debauchery, graphic violence, and hilarious heresy, so as to avoid ruining the reveal of whatever surprises the show might have in store for us. I'm also not going to butt vomit a whole buncha spoilers here since the fucking thing just aired less than two weeks ago! As with the “Ash Vs. Evil Dead” pilot, I also won’t be reviewing “Preacher” episode-by-episode. I’m just going to give my thoughts on the premiere, then maybe possibly think about giving consideration to the conceivably perchance reviewing of the first series as a whole, via this ass-a-hole. Got it? No? Good. Sally forth!

After 20 years of it being passed around as a potential feature film, a tv show turned out to be the easy answer to an adaptation. Garth Ennis himself thought it a better option than clown carring all of the comics’ major moments into a restrictive 2-3 hour runtime. There was a treatment by one John August (who wrote the Charlie’s Angels duece-ology and a lot of Timmy Burton’s movies since the turn of the century) being passed around Tinseltown that seemingly managed to do such a feat admirably, but to quote Ennis, “It taught me the lesson that it’s far too easy to overload this. If you do a straight adaptation, you are simply going to overload the story with grotesque characters and over-the-top bloodbath fight scenes. You’re going to create a whirling maelstrom that will simply bewilder a mainstream audience.” (From this interview)

The version we get is courtesy of longtime friends, creative collaborators, and self-professed super fans of the funnybooks, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, teaming up with writer Sam Catlin who made such magic for AMC with “Breaking Bad”. Ennis and Dillon gave their okays on the show and get producer creds too, so a modicum of my fears were allayed right off the bat. All aboard!

Annville is a small town in the big, big, morbidly obese state of Texas. How small? If you’ve heard the term “one horse town” to define the smallness of a small town before, consider this a half-horse town. Not in the way that a centaur is half horse, but in the way that a horse’s body might get caught in the glue grinder at an Elmer’s plant, leaving the unprocessed half to just *shlup* out onto the floor. Like that. Anyway, this small ass smallest of small town towns has a very small church that provides the locals with their weekly dose of religious guilt and condescension. This modest house of worship dedicated to the words of the Six-Packed Savior (a.k.a. Christ the Cruncher, a.k.a. The Saint of Sit-Ups, a.k.a. The Abvocate) is run by town preacher Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper). In case you’re curious (or just need confirmation that you’ve connected the dots properly), yes, Uncle Jesse is the man after which the series is named. Like most multimedia bearers of the cloth he’s grown weary of both his position (theological sex jokes here) and his congregation, and spends much of this hour long pilot (no commercials for me!) contemplating giving his invisible cloud boss his resignation. Will Jesse rediscover his lost light and earn back his wavering flock, or stroll into his next sermon with his middle fingers held high and his head adorned with a “Take this job and shove it!” trucker hat?

Father Custer picks up a pair of hitchhikers on the journey to his answer in the form of his wild and crazy guy ex-girlfriend Tulip (Ruth Negga) and an extremely Irish passer-by named Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun). The individual tales of how these two wind up crossing the Preacher’s path are both bat-shit crazy, hyper-violent, and perfectly appropriate for the dark humor the series is establishing. Without burying the leads, I’ll let you in on this much: Tulip’s a student of The Anarchist’s Cookbook and fights dirtier than Mike Tyson (that ain’t shawarma!), while Cassidy’s intro involves an umbrella, a cow, and more ultra-violence in 10 minutes than a gang of droogs could get up to in an entire month of Saturday nights!

Oh, and in case what I've told you so far hasn't been enough to sink a few cenobite hooks into your interest gland, there's also a mysterious screaming force from outer space that spends the majority of this introductory episode causing globetrotting savagery as it detonates various religious figures (including the greatest “in name only” cameo reference to a certain celebrity “spiritualist”ever) like human-sized carnage balloons! If that doesn't cinch in the aforementioned barbs, then I apologize for whatever devastating trauma you were subjected to that left you the soulless husk you are today…

FUCKING CARNAGE BALLOONS!

Roge and ‘Berg do far more justice to this project than they did with the flaming bag of Fido feces that was Green Hornet movie. So, though I appreciate anyone going into the show themselves with the proverbial pinch of sodium like myself, don’t get your blood pressure all Systolic Super Saiyan (“It’s over 9000!”) fretting. Sure, if you were hoping for a straight up adaptation, you’re shit outta luck. But, after watching the pilot, I feel the show’s in good hands. Good, perverse, sadistic, happy ending giving hands. And I’m going along with it. Much like “The Walking Dead”, I have an inkling of what’s in store, but my intrigue is piqued by knowing that the only thing that’s sure about “Preacher” is that nothing is for sure.

In a fun bit of “Connect the Dots” Trivia, our three main cast are interestingly linked to each other via prior roles. Cooper plays Tony Stark’s absentee poppa Howard in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Negga (what up, my Negga?) was a big part of “Agents of SHIELD” as Raina, a reoccurring villainess-turned-inhuman Shuna Sassi knock-off. The pair are also in the Warcraft movie, whose lore I know little-to-nothing aboot, so pardon my hairy ebon ass if my hype levels for said release are anemic as a vampire in a world where SkyNet wins… I think I just gave mental birth to a future Syfy Original. I should’ve terminated the pregnancy. Apologies.

Though Cooper doesn’t share a prior geek link with Gilgun, the exceedingly Irish sir’s resume does overlap in a career Venn diagram with Miss Negga, as they played Rudy Wade and Nikki respectively in the BBC X-Men-ish (or “Strangers-ish” if you’re Ultraverse nasty) tv series about super powered juvenile delinquents “Misfits”. The duo were never part of the show during the same series though, so this is their first time sharing the screen.

Speaking of the cast, are they any good? Yes. I like everybody. The main cast is great. I wasn’t sure about Cooper’s Custer, as the production stills didn’t thrill me on him looking the part, but I’m okay with it now. Same with Tulip being changed from a blonde white woman into the lovely Ethiopian equivalent of a grown up Clementine from Telltale’s The Walking Dead adventure games. A pleasant surprise. And Gilgun as Cassidy? Magic. Dark magic. Dark magic the likes of which would give John Constantine a toothache. Character-wise, I’m not big on the remodeling job done with Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown) so far, as I liked him better as the stereotypical Texan hard-ass jerk-off of the books. I do like the inclusion of new character Emily (Lucy Griffiths), although her feelings for Jesse are irritatingly obvious despite her best efforts to hide them. I hope she’s meant for more than just to be the jealous would-be girlfriend now that Tulip’s back in town, but we’ll have to wait and see.

I’ll come back sometime after the first season to do a wrap-up of the whole she-bang, but right now I definitely recommend giving this show a shot. If you’re into supernatural, gritty-grimy-gory twisted dramedy type shit, “Preacher” should be square in your entertainment crosshairs. Bang bang.

Moral of the Story: Violence makes violence and Gods don’t hold grudges.

Screenshots_____

Including your ear holes. Jesus is big into the aural sex. Don’t worry about the ass thing though. You’re only expected to give butt stuff to him on Christmas.


“Did you ever notice that my name backwards is ‘god’?! Damn. That’s so weeeeeeeird. Pass the Funyuns, bro?”


If Jason Sudekis and Taylor Lautner (Remember him? Me neither. I had to look up his name for this joke.) had a baby, then abandoned it at the doorstep of a Protestant orphanage.


“It’s a new age of scholastic sports! In the Texas of the future, all high school athletics conflicts are settled by one-on-one battles between team representatives. This is the world of Charles Band’s Mascot Jox!”


Don’t chug your Triaminic like Cassidy, kids, or you’re just asking for a mess. There’s a reason the bottles come with that little plastic shot glass. Use as directed.


They’re writing out “SUCK IT, ALIEN QUEERS!”. Despite their ignorance and intolerance for extraterrestrial races, at least their spelling is accurate.


In an effort to bring in fans of the highly lauded and incredibly popular Walking Dead adventure games, AMC has added series star Clementine to the TV show’s next season.


“Could God Himself commit a sin so grave that even God won’t forgive?” That’s the exact face a pastor made when I asked him the same question. He then invited me back to his place to discuss it further over some sacramental wine and crackers that smelled strongly of chloroform. Did I go? Yes. Were his remains ever found? No.


Donald Trump has found his running mate – the Mayor of Texas!


Once again I need to remind our viewers that are chronic masturbators: if you can’t take a day off every week, then at least use some manner of fire retardant lubricant.

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Anubis will return next time in
“The Love Below”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Feature 43 – Tales of the Black Freighter (2009)

or “It’s an Open Sore On a Putrid Shore”

Featuring the Voices of: Gerard “300” Butler , Siobahn “Feardotcom” Ellen , Jared “I Shot Andy Warhol” Harris

Directors: Daniel “Other” DelPurgatorio , Mike “1001 Nights” Smith

Writers: Zack “Sucker Punch” Snyder , Alex “Watchmen” Tse

Origin: USA

Also Known As: Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter

Review_____

“I knew again the stench of powder and men’s brains and war.”

What’s behind my advent calender of eldritch horror today? A cruise across the seas of blackest nightmares aboard the boat of blackest love. No, it’s not a vacation on the Black Sea aboard Disney Cruises’ new Mandingo Party Boat (sorry, still scrubbing the residue of Haunted House 2 off of my hands) in the middle of a black hole. Welcome to Tales of the Black Freighter.

Given that my prior episode was for a Marvel superhero feature, I thought I’d give longtime rivals DC a fair chance in the spotlight. Rather than double down on the tights & capes crowd, I opted for something a bit more unique and adult from the house that The World’s Finest built. And since Preacher isn’t a thing (yet), We3 never happened, Swamp Thing will probably never recover from those fucking live-action movies, and “Constantine”’s not animated, this is the adventure I choose. The Black Knight runs you through with his sword. The last thing you see is your internal organs spilling out of you as you try desperately to hold onto ’em like that guy in the meme who can’t hold all those limes. You died. Return to page 37.

Zack Snyder couldn’t find a spot for Gerard Butler on his Watchmen cast, so rather than leave his good friend (and then meal ticket) the Butt Butler alone and hungry in the cold, Snyd finagled him the lead voice job in Tales of the Black Freighter. The part doesn’t require him to oil up and jump around with other guys homoerotically grunting and screaming in manties, so already Butts is out of his element and spitting into the wind.

Originally a comic book-within-a-comic book (meta before meta was a thing), TotBF appeared in Alan Moore’s spectacular 1986 Watchmen maxi-series as a barely-subtle mirroring to the events in the Watchmen story proper about how some heroes are really just villains who think they’re the good guys. Everybody’s the hero of their own tale.

Oh yeah, spoilers. Check the expiration date though, kiddies: Black Freighter came out in 2009, so this milk is officially past the 5 year “Sell by” date. As such, curdle ahoy!

The tale takes place in the mis-romanticized age of pirates. I mean real pirates. The guys with the eye patches and the peg legs and the treasure maps and the scurvy, not the skinny Somalian guys on motorboats wearing track suits and wielding rusty uzis. Butler’s clunky reading skills give voice to a nameless ship captain (we’ll call him Skipper) with the grave misfortune of having his craft targeted by an infamous and unholy hell barge known the seven seas over as the Black Freighter. Not your everyday pirate schooner, the BF is a hulking ark from Satan’s own armada. Massive in its size and colossal in its evilness, it looms like a reaper’s shadow over all who encounter it. Forged of a mountain of bones and skulls, it’s painted in a blackness darker than a tar pit filled with coal mined from the deepest pits of Earth by the souls of history’s worst sinners during a total eclipse of the sun (and heart). We’re talking Wesley Snipes shades of black and “Jeffrey Dahmer having phone sex with Charles Manson” shades of darkness.

When we meet Skip, his boat’s been left in splinters and his crew litters the tide like a New Orleans cemetery post-Katrina. He washes up on the shores of a deserted island along with the remnants of both his ship and his men with the single-minded focus of what horrors the Black Freighter’s twisted monstrous occupants will unleash upon his beloved wife and daughters once it casts its cloak of pitch upon the harbor of their home, Jonestown. Skipper is determined to reach said docks ahead of the flagitious frigate in the hopes of saving his friends and loved ones from the looming doom. How will he accomplish this daunting odyssey? Therein lies the element that cements Black Freighter‘s place in the history of horrifying shit…

With nothing to saw down any of the trees on the isle, Skippy tries to assemble what he can of his former craft’s remains into a viable raft. Unable to cobble more than a ramshackle skeleton together, our wayward Robinson Crusoe takes this time to notice that the bodies of his former crew are starting to bloat, making them exceedingly buoyant…yep, he’s going to make a cadaver catamaran with his deceased mates as posthumous pontoons. He lashes them together with the scraps of their clothes, severing limbs and breaking bones to form them to his needs. It’s gloriously retch-inducing.

Setting out as the most death draped gondolier since Charon had to break out his ferry to take the citizens of Pompeii across the Styx, Skip struggles to stay alive as his brain bakes in the sun, drinking minimal amounts of salt water to stay hydrated and trying to eat raw seagulls he catches while they peck at his makeshift transport. It’s a gruesome cruise, the likes of which wouldn’t be seen again until 2013 when the Carnival Triumph became stranded in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the nightmarish conditions that would earn it the title of “The Skat Boat” a.k.a. “The Poop Cruise” a.k.a. “The Shit Ship” a.k.a “Bush/Cheney 2013”.

Amidst his rapidly deteriorating mental state (including casual chats with his former first mate Ridley [Jared Harris]’s corpse), Skip’s trip is interrupted by a shiver of sharks. The gang of great whites go all feeding frenzy on our hero’s raft, tearing body after body away as he tries to fend them off without getting eaten himself. One of the monsters gets caught up in his ropes and Skippy manages to kill it (like Olga Karlatos in Zombie), using it as his new ride for the remainder of the cruise home, bringing Ridley’s severed head with him. Comedy comes from tragedy, so at its heart, Tales of the Black Freighter is really a buddy comedy in disguise!

Arriving at the shores of his hometown, Skip notes the complete lack of turmoil and carnage he expected to be met with upon his return. Convinced that there’s no fucking way he could’ve gotten there ahead of the BF, he figures that the village had already been taken and his only concern now is to find out the fate of his family. He comes across a man and his date on their way to hump town alongside the road and presumes the guy must’ve turned traitor to save his own miserable ass from the bloodthirsty buccaneers. Skip grabs a rock and bashes the guy’s brains into paste before strangling the hussy, who deserves no less lethal a fate for letting such a miserable privateer into her private parts. Slipping into the suspiciously silent streets of the town, Skip finds his way to his home and finds his daughters asleep in their bed. Before he can rejoice about the revelation, a shadowed figure comes into the room. Sure that this must be a marauder, our hero leaps into action and dispatches the fiend permanently, violently beating his head into the floorboards. Cue the look of horror on his girls’ faces, followed by the agonizing realization of Skipper’s own visage when he discovers that the fiend he’s just murdered in cold blood (it could just be gazpacho…) is in fact…shit, if you couldn’t guess it by now, I’m gonna shove thumbtacks between your fingers and toes until you figure it out for yourself.

Shocked and appalled by what he’s done, Skippy escapes into the night, followed behind by a contingent of his non-ravaged neighbors who have since discovered the bodies he left along the road and are now wielding torches in search of mob justice. He finds his way to the docks and back into the aquatic purgatory from which he’d just freed himself, only to see the Black Freighter lurking nearby. Rather than warn his very angry peers, he instead swims to the ship, where a rope is lowered for him. He takes hold, climbs the side of the ship, and gives himself over to the horde of twisted atrocities that surround him. And now it all makes sense: ultimately, man is his own antagonist. As Nietzsche said in his second most quoted-to-the-point-of-cliche philosophical statement, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

When I originally read Watchmen, I remember skipping over some of the Black Freighter segments. For me, they broke the pacing of the main story and felt unnecessary. I didn’t need a story within a story explaining the theme of the first story to me. As such, when Watchmen delved into the dimension of sight AND sound, I wasn’t bothered by its being trimmed from the movie. I do appreciate Warner Bros going all out and giving it its own animated format and release though. I’m also happy that they kept it to a trim 30 minutes, because as a 90 minute feature (or even a 60 minute demi-feature), I fear it could’ve ended up a little unbalanced to the tune of more-filler-than-killer. As it stands? Fantastic. Well, aside from Butler’s line reading. Maybe he should’ve taken a couple of muscle relaxers (or skipped the Viagra) before recording, because his delivery was a little too stiff to ignore. Wakka-wakka.

The animation has that twisted, rough look to it like a cleaner version of an “Aeon Flux” episode without everyone looking quite so elongated. The writing is just fucking incredible and Butler’s got the perfect voice for it. Again, it’s just sad that he can’t read about 20% of the words without making them sound stiff and awkward. Alan Moore’s words resonate in the dark corners of your brain, and if you’ve never read any of the man’s work, get thee to a library. And if they don’t have any Alan Moore stuff? Burn it to its foundations, then shit in the basement. Don’t just ask them to order it, make a statement about how you shouldn’t have to!

Overall, TotBF invokes the same feelings in me as the segments of the original Heavy Metal did as this dark, very adult, well animated (but not too well animated), self-contained story. It really is a brilliant piece. And that closing song. Holy shit. “Pirate Jenny” by Nina Simone? The end credits for an animated zombie pirate gore story doesn’t seem like a great place for a blues song (beyond the obvious thematic connections, since the original rendition of PJ from ”The Threepenny Opera” was Alan Moore’s inspiration for the comic-within-a-comic to begin with), but when I think about the track later on, independent of the movie itself, it sends literal chills up my neck and gives me phantom goosebumps. I’ve never been haunted by a song before, but this one might as well be a pasty white Japanese girl in heavy goth eyeliner with long raggedy hair crawling on top of me while I sleep. If I say “Black Freighter” five times in the bathroom mirror with the lights off, Nina Simone will come out and go all Candyman on my hairy canis-sapien butthole.

Great, now I’ve gotta go smash my mirror and clear a few million bees out of my toilet before they fuck up the pipes and I have to spend my Cthulhumas bonus on hiring a plumber. Fuck. I’ll be back next time with…something. Until then, keep your taints clean, your streets mean, and always tip your cleaning staff or you might wind up with your fucking head on a stake!

Moral of the Story: “Whoever we are, wherever we reside, we exist on the whim of murderers.”

Screenshots_____

I see yet another person who doesn’t understand that the answer to “Is black-face okay?” is always “NOOOOOO”.


Lindsey Lohan earned her boating license and held a booze cruise in honor of the accomplishment. There were no survivors.


Guys, I know sometimes we do extreme things during times of severe sexual frustration, but trust me when I tell you this isn’t the answer. It’s just not worth the dick splinters. Nothing is.


In case you forgot this story was originally a part of Watchmen, here’s Skipper’s Rorshach sail… you’ll be seeing it many many times again to assure that, like 9/11, you never forgot.


Beachhead. Because there’s a head. And it’s on a beach. It’s a beach head on a beachhead. Because even in times of plague and horror, no one is safe from visual puns!


Shark attack! Quick, somebody get Lance Guest and Mario Van Peebles here so we can impale it on their schooner!


When your friends tell you you need to “get some head”, this isn’t what they mean, Skip.


That’s exactly what I look like every time I have to plunge my toilet.


The most metal fucking raft EVER! If Lemmy, Bruce Dickinson, and Rob Halford went on a fishing trip, they’d do so on THAT!


Yeah, I remember the first time I had sex with a woman on her period too. They tell you it’ll be alright… you’ll never be the same again.

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Anubis will return next time in
“Murder on 34th Street”

Enjoy the review? Hate the review? Have a movie you’d like to see judged in The Tomb? Fill out the feedback form! Never has it been easier to make contact with a deitic being!

All materials found within this review are the intellectual properties and opinions of the original writer. The Tomb of Anubis claims no responsibility for the views expressed in this review, but we do lay a copyright claim on it beeyotch, so don’t steal from this shit or we’ll have to go all Farmer Vincent on your silly asses. © October 1st 2013 and beyond, not to be reproduced in any way without the express written consent of the reviewer and The Tomb of Anubis, or pain of a physical and legal nature will follow. Touch not lest ye be touched.

Feature 18 – Black Dynamite (2009)

or “African American Explosive Device!”


Featuring:
  Michael Jai “Spawn” White , Salli “I Am Legend” Richardson-Whitfield , Tommy “In Living Color” Davidson

Director:  Scott “Thick as Thieves” Sanders

Writers:  Michael Jai “Three Bullets” White , Scott “Thick as Thieves” Sanders , Byron “BULLHORN!” Minns

Origin: USA

Review_____

How many times have I told you not to call me here and interrupt my KUNG-FU?!”

*The Tomb of Anubis is typed in front of a prerecord studio audience laugh track*

DISCLAIMER: The following review contains uses of racial slurs that are in no way used in a racist fashion. I am not a racist, as I hate people based on their choices and alignments in life. I do not discriminate based on how someone was born, either in their sex, sexuality, skin color, or other genetic factors. These slurs are used not in a hateful format, but in ways to match both the tone of the movie being reviewed and also to address the racist tendencies of others. In other words, if certain words make you uncomfortable, try to mentally censor them as “the ‘n’ word” or whatever makes you feel better rather than sending me hate mail that will be ignored anyway. Thank you.

Black History Month is very divisive. On the one hand, you’ve got racists and equalists who question why black people should get their own dedicated month while white people go unrecognized… hey, dipshits, white history doesn’t get its own month because white history is already celebrated YEAR ROUND – it’s called “History” and it’s taught in 100% of American schools. Maybe you should’ve stayed in yours if you had such a hard-on for honky historia. Twats.

On the other end of the argument, you have those who take offense to February being chosen for Black History Month, because it’s the shortest month of the year, and somehow being denied 2 days (1 on leap years) minimizes the importance of the event… yes, there are people who ACTUALLY take issue on this topic. “Not only does Hispanic History Month get a full 30 days, but it spans September AND October!? What the fuck is that shit about! White people just trying to keep ’em happy so their landscaping costs don’t go up!”. That was an actual quote from a black guy I knew once. Don’t ask who he is, you don’t know him. Stop thinking all black people know each other. That’s racist.

Speaking of divisive black subjects, today’s episode is an homage to/parody of Blaxploitation. For those not in the know of what you should be, Blaxploitation is a style of exploitation movie made popular in the ’70s where the heroes were all strong, cool, bad-ass African-American men and women who fought to save themselves and their communities from the oppression and corruption of rich old white guys and their Uncle Tom lackeys… often with incredibly low production values and actors so green that I’m pretty sure they hired actual hookers, pimps, and hustlers to fill many of the roles. Though many applauded these less-than-fine films for putting those of color front and center while demonizing Whitey as the source of all evil in the world (which he tends to be), there were still plenty of detractors from the black population who didn’t appreciate these movies being made BY old white guys who were only in it for the cash-in, not to give their colored brothers and sisters a fair voice in Tinseltown. A lot of these same detractors REALLY didn’t appreciate that Hollywood was basically just replacing their long time caricatures of fat lipped, nappy-haired, watermelon munching niggers with new afro sporting, pimp coated, whore slapping, malt liquor chugging coon stereotypes. Same old racism, just with a new coat of fried chicken paint to try and appeal to black markets. In capitalism, the only color that matters is green… and sometimes the search for it brings out how truly ignorant the people in charge are.

You can learn more about Blaxploitation movies at your local library! Just go up the librarian, put out your pimp hand, demand that he/she “Lay down some TRUTH!”, and if they don’t immediately put What it Is… What it Was! in your hand, slap that motherfucker silly until they get the message!

Whether you love ’em (like Shaft) or hate ’em (like Jive Turkey), for better or worse Blaxploitation is a benchmark in black history. In honor of that (and since the new site’s reviews only span movies of the current millennium), I considered reviewing Baadasssss! – Mario Van Peebles’ bio-pic/dedication to the genre and the movie that started it, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, starring his poppa Melvin. But, Black Dynamite‘s got Miguel Nunez in it. Miguel Nunez was Spider in Return of the Living Dead. Return of the Living Dead is my favorite zombie movie and Spider was the fucking coolest guy in said movie. Ergo, this complicated math equation’s result = Black Dynamite gets the spot. Maybe next year, Mario. And yes, I’m aware Miguel also starred in Juwana Man, but that’s just a testament to how fantastic he was as Spider. Ergo, shut up.

Black Dynamite (Michael Jai White) isn’t just our title, it’s also our hero’s name. BD (because it’ll save my fingers from having to type “Black” or “Dynamite” for the rest of this review) is harder than a petrified redwood and smoother than one of your momma’s milkshakes. He’s all four heroes of One Down, Two to Go rolled into one with a pinch of Dolemite on top. He’s a veteran of ‘Nam (“and all the dead Chinamen we left in our tracks”), a former agent for the CIA, and a lover of ladies all sizes and colors. Hell, the first time we meet him he’s running a reverse gangbang on a veritable Benaton ad’s worth of cumly coital cuddlers all shades of the racial rainbow! And, as was the style of his cinematic brothers of the time, BD is a practitioner of the deadly martial arts of Ghetto-Fu, crackin’ cracker skulls with his nunchucks of class warfaring black rage! He takes no shit, whether from pimps, pushers, hustlers, punks, thugs, government goons, ninjas, or the oldest of old ladies! He’s blacker than the ace of spades (yeah, that just put Lemmy into my head too), and more militant than your WHOLE damn army!… of course, it’s a lot easier to beat up the bad guys when they stick to the movie trope of only attacking the hero one-at-a-time rather than swarming him with their overwhelming numbers… Anyway, BD is basically the extreme amalgamation of Blaxploitation protagonists you’d expect from a ramped up slapstick parody such as this.

When BD’s little bro Jimmy, a former heroin addict, ends up dead in a drug deal gone further south than Br’er Rabbit, their aunt makes it none too subtle a point to remind BD that he promised their momma on her death bed that he’d take care of diminutive sibling James. Looks like getting Jimmy clean and off of la cheval wasn’t enough though, cuz now that he (and his weird snobbish English accent) have been murdered, it’s BD’s job to put the smack down on the smack dealers responsible. First on his list? Local drug kingpin Rafelli (played by perpetual movie goomba Mike Starr, the “gas man” from Dumb & Dumber), whom our hero gets to by shaking down local info sources with names like Cream Corn (Tommy Davidson) and Chicago Wind (Mykelti Williamson). Though Raf’s comeuppance montage is disappointingly short compared to the time spent finding him, his end is just the beginning of our hero’s journey. With the big man in town taken down, Black Dynamite and his collected crew of good guys uncover a 7 layer bean dip of craziness, with each layer crazier than the last! All I’ll say is that a global conspiracy is unmasked meant to take down the pride of every black man, and it touches on BD’s time in both ‘Nam and the CIA… oh, and it involves a shitload of fucking complicated Greek mythology and astrology, and the Great Emancipator himself! DY-NO-MITE! DY-NO-MITE!

There is a LOT going on in Black Dynamite, but since it comes in just under my 5 year moratorium on spoilers, I won’t say anymore than I already have. Suffice it to say that I’ve barely scratched the surface of what turns out to be a VERY thick watermelon… that wasn’t racist, it was a joke made within the tone of the movie! Shut up. Anyway, there’s SO much material on display here, it’s almost too much. Movies need rest periods to give the audience a chance to catch a breather, lest they suffocate. Though these cool down scenes do happen, the first 35-45 minutes lay it on a bit heavy with everything that gets stuffed into them. The whole thing is a great joke, but the joke needs to be a little better paced in the first half. I felt like I needed an intravenous Red Bull feed and a Speedball or two to keep up before finally turning the movie off entirely and coming back to it later. Maybe I’m just too old, or maybe I’m just not the best target for the “keep the joke running so long that it stops being funny, then push it even longer until it just becomes funny again” method of mirth.

Either way, Black Dynamite is still incredibly funny and incredibly well produced. Unlike the Grindhouse homages from the recent past (Death Proof, Planet Terror, Machete, etc.) Dynamite doesn’t embrace just the motif, but also keeps its setting planted firmly in the era of the movies it mimics. So, rather than be a modern movie shot through a crap filter for camp value, it feels more like a legit Blaxploitation flick. That legitimacy is faked with sepia filters, audio skips, boom mics, actors looking into the camera or at off-screen distractions, fight bloopers, out-of-focus shots, over-explained plot points, gibberish jive talk, excessive use of racial slurs (well, that’s pretty common in today’s actual movies, to be honest), a soundtrack of songs that narrate what you’re watching, and even poorly read lines kept from their first takes because film was too expensive to waste. It’s a production by people who obviously love the genre it spoofs and made sure to cover all the bases.

The cast is also great. Michael Jai White flexes his funny bone and gives me something to remember him by other than playing Spawn as he spews a near endless barrage of quotable lines in the guise of Black Dynamite, while co-writer Byron Minns shines diamond-like as BD’s boisterous rhyming sidekick Bullhorn! Although BD is the star and thus gets all the best dialogue and action, Bull gets an awesome slew of great moments of his own, mostly for flubbing lines that go nowhere, but get delivered with this ridiculous energy and enthusiasm that leave you no choice but to love the guy! I love you, Bullhorn! YEAH! Even the movie’s cameos are great! I mean, I’m not a big fan of Tommy Davidson or Arsenio Hall, but Cedric Yarborough (Reno 911!), Irwin Keyes (Charles Band’s Oblivion duology), and Phil Morris are always fun to see. And as mentioned before, I can’t not like a Miguel Nunez appearance. And when his character’s a pimp named Mo Bitches who makes prostitution jokes? Sold.

In a world where I’m Gonna Git You Sucka exists, is Black Dynamite really necessary? Yes. Yes it is. In fact, it more than earns a slot on a double bill with the Keenan Ivory Wayans classic. Despite the collective professional inexperience of its writers, Black Dyanmite deserves a place amidst the best movies of guys like Mel Brooks and Jim Abrahms and the Zuckers. But not Pat Proft, because he wrote The Star Wars Holiday Special and that’s punishable by being drawn and quartered in some countries. Will we ever see a Black Dynamite 2: the Blackening/Electric Jiggaboogaloo/the Legend of Jheri Curly’s Gold? I don’t know. Given that the movie did manage to spawn (no Michael Jai White pun intended) a cartoon series, and given the lengths of hilarious overkill said series took our titular hero to, I think BD has gone as far as he can go, really. And that’s fine. After all, look at what happened with Austin Powers. After three of those Mike Myers lost his mind and made The Love Guru just to make people hate him so they’d stop begging him to do more Austin Powers sequels! No, let’s not go overboard. Let’s leave the Black Dynamite legacy as it stands and just enjoy it this way: in its purest, blackest form. It’ll give you a zest for some kung-fu treachery!

Happy Black History month, everybody! Now, I’ve gotta go solicit a miner for our next episode, so you go watch Amistad or Glory or Roots or Ghost Dad or something. But no Tyler Perry movies! That’s racist.

Moral(s) of the Story: Black Dynamite is a bevy of educational content. Here are just a few of the valuable lessons to be learned by ALL races from this movie:

  • You haven’t reached the apex of societal status until you’ve got an 8 Track player in EVERY ROOM.
  • Donuts don’t wear alligator shoes. If you see one as such, shoot it without question.

  • Waffles are like Xanax for irate black men… thus I now suspect Leslie Knope is a secret black man.

  • Black dudes LOVE Greek & Romanc mythology. They know that shit like the lyrics to the Commodores catalog!

  • Abraham Lincoln was so hardcore about watching the black man’s back, that he’s still doing it from beyond the grave!

  • When you pop the top, the panties drop!… unless you’re popping Top Pop Blue Pop, in which case I will break your fingers if you don’t hand it over. That stuff’s my crack. I’ve been dry for 15 years, but I will turn like a lycanthrope in the light of a full moon if I ever see it again.

Screenshots_____

You know those times where you’re REALLY hoping that the people around you don’t realize you’re the one who farted? They know.
If Tom Atkins and Kurtwood Smith had a baby.


An old woman somewhere is going cold this winter… a very tall old woman.


Those scrolls? They all say “Made in China. May contain dangerous levels of lead.”


“Who? Okay, hold on. Let me check. ‘AMANDA HUGGENKISS’? ‘AMANDA HUGGENKISS’?! Awwww, why can’t I find Amanda Huggenkiss?!”


And number one on this week’s Threatdown? BEARS! AND THEY’RE ALIGNING WITH BLACK MILITANTS! All white people and salmon, run for the hills! Wait! Not the hills! There are BEARS there! Ahhhhh!


Normally I have to say NO to ascots. But, damn it, I love you Bullhorn!


You may be afraid of his fist, but you SHOULD be afraid of the other fist he’s got hidden in his mustache. Hits WAY harder than the one in Chuck Norris’ beard.


“Sorry my brothers, but ever since Disney bought Marvel, they’ve been threatening to sue us if we don’t change our name. Now, we can fight the Man, but we can’t go to war with Disney. If we publicly announce that we’re the African-American Panthers now, they’ll call off their lawyers.”


She’s a liberated, modern woman. She doesn’t carry feminine trappings like a purse. She keeps her keys and other necessities in her hair.


After taking in a down-on-his-luck Bullhorn, Black Dynamite comes home to discover a very angry looking dump left on his favorite area rug. Looks like somebody’s going back to the shelter!


Poor kid just got a whiff or Dynamite’s mustache.


David Hyde Pierce’s post-“Frasier” career just isn’t working out like he’d hoped.


“Citizens need not fear though, as Mayor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has vowed to ‘Layeth more smack down’ in coming weeks.”


Looks like this guy also got a whiff of BD’s mustache.


The “worst nightmare” scenario for any member of the Republican party.


Don’t worry Dynamite, EVERY guy makes that face when he watches a live birth. We don’t think you any less of a man.

Anubis will return next time in
“Miner Indiscretions”

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