Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Movie Review Wednesday - Evil Dead Remake

History first:

Anyone who is a horror aficionado of any ilk will of course know the Evil Dead series from the '80 - starring Bruce Campbell as "Ash".  Evil Dead, the sequel Evil Dead 2 (more of a remake than a sequel) and the hilariously awesome Army of Darkness make up the Evil Dead trilogy.

Evil Dead/Dead 2 are the original "Cabin in the Woods" story  - Band of teens/20's come to a cabin in the woods, find The Book of the Dead and unleash an evil force which, after talking all of their souls, will bring Hell on earth.  Blood and gore and foul mouthed demons follow.

Army of Darkness is same theme - except replace the Cabin with sending Ash back in time to Arthurian England  - literally fending off an army of the dead with a chain saw attached to where his arm used to be and a sawed off shotgun.  Yup, pretty badass.

Upshot - What made the Evil Dead series so awesome was despite the really really really low budgets of these movies, director Sam Raimi made them scary and gory but loads of fun.  Bruce Campbell is hilarious as Ash - fighting off sick demons but with humor too.  There are buckets of blood, gore, foul language and just the right creepy funny balance.  And chain saws, lots of chain saws sawing off limbs infected by evil.  Oh and the creepy demon locked in the basement of the cabin (like cabins in the woods ever have basements).

Which brings us to the 2013 remake of Evil Dead, which I watched the other night on Demand.

It is produced by the same geniuses who did the original movies.  It also follows a very similar story line: Young people join each other at a cabin in the woods to help a heroin addict get clean.  One jackass unleashes the book of the dead and wham bam, thank you maam.  Blood, gore, sawed off limbs and chainsaws. And a creepy demon in the basement.

Here's the difference.  The remake is a straight horror/gore fest.  The producers have taken out the humor which made the original story so...freaking cool.  Instead they have gone with the wave of straight horror which followed - From Amityville Horror to Friday the 13th, to Halloween to the Living Dead to Saw to Paranormal Activity. 

What made evil dead different was its comedy - accomplished later in the film series Scream (at least the first one was good) and to a lesser extent the highly overrated Cabin in the Woods (helmed by genius Joss Whedon).  This new one could have been any standard movie - just not the Evil Dead most people know and love.  Which didn't stop it from getting good reviews. 

On a happier note, they are making a sequel to Army of Darkness - the funniest horror movie ever made. 

And that is something to get excited about.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Many Faces of Anonymity

Ed's Note: Thank you Robyn for inspiring this totally depressing post.  As an aside check out Robyn's extremely depressing powerful blog!:

The world is full of a collection of so-called "characters".  People who just don't fit into the normal bounds of "good society".  People who, at their worst, make you want to cross the street lest their foul auras somehow shine directly on you.

There are meth-heads, trannys, people who reek of beer at 7:00 am.  Street hustlers, hookers, the mentally diseased, crack heads, pot smokers, drag queens, pickpockets, hoodlums, three card monte dealers, tatted up punks, overly pierced.  You see them and wonder how you are all descended from the same gene pool.

Your gene pool.

You, who would never associate with such a bizzare mix of the masses.  You, all bottled up, buttoned down and presentable to the outside world as the "Normie" you are.

You who instead let your wildest side come out anonymously on the internet.

Who are you?  Why are you here?  You are seeking release.  You are seeking torture.  You want to inflict pain.  You need to "come out" in some way that you cannot adequately describe, not even to yourself. You need to escape the harsh decrees of your leadership/wife/husband/society.

You, normal one, who escapes into a faceless place where you can gloriously be anyone or anything you want.  A place where the power of your words is more important than the color of your skin, your sex or your hygiene.  A place where you are anyone other than your normal self.
Anyone.  Anything.
You pretend that its all a game.  Just a release.  This isn't really who you are, simple a manifestation of your boredom.  This person who likes to manipulate or watch or perform - this isn't the real you.  This is just a "game".  You don't really like to manipulate faceless strangers.  you don't really like to say hurtful things.  This is all meaningless fun.  Shits and giggles.  The real you, love able ol' you, would never really do this. 
Who are you?  Who am I?  Which is the real us? 

I have seen many blog-debates centered on anonymity.  They all run the same arguments over and over.  If I an anon, does what I say really matter since I am hiding?  And the arguments run back and forth and they are all missing the point.  People are hiding because they are here to be someone else.

I already see all the comments:  "That's totally not true.  I'm anonymous because I'm worried about my shidduch prospects."  Or "because of work".  Or "because".

but think about that for a second.  If you cannot properly express yourself in "real life", what does that say about you?  It says to me that you are hiding something somewhere

[Ed's note:  I am not speaking from my high horse.  I am anonymous because i am hiding too.  I don't want people to know who I am.  But I don't pretend different.]

Hiding.  We do it so that we can be free.  If only for a short while and if only in a very limited capacity.  Free within the confines of the World Wide Web.  Free to be different.  Free to be wild.  Free to laugh.  Free to talk dirty.  Free to do all the things that your society/religion/spouse doesn't let you do. 

But in the end, you log off with the knowledge that whatever you have just done was all in good fun. That the thumbtacks you stuck in someone's brain are not real world problems for you to deal with.  That whatever happens online stays online.  And you can go back to your regularly scheduled program with the knowledge that you haven't done anything wrong - that those slight tremors of guilt you feel will be gone before you open your eyes to face the following morning.  Back to your bottled up, buttoned down and presentable world where all the freaks of nature are just a passing annoyance to your perfect day.

Until the next time you put on your mask.

Monday, October 14, 2013

This Relationship Is Under Renovation

For as long as I can remember, there was Tova and there was me. 

We were the Bobsey Twins. She was my wing-man. She was the Wilson to my Tom Hanks. She was the only person in my life who meant anything at all.

 Our relationship was forged in fire.  The fire only survivors who have gone through Hell, and returned, can ever truly understand.  We were bonded by pain and suffering and need.

When my life changed, that need changed as well.  I started to view my relationship with Tova as having certain unhealthy components for me.  I was changing.  My relationship needs were changing too.

We had a huge fight, followed by a prolonged period of absolute silence.  She got married. I wasn't invited to the wedding.

As I have previously written, I have always assumed my relationship with Tova was over.  We had drifted too far apart to ever require the same level of connection we once experienced every day. 

Feast or famine.

Several months ago I ended up chatting with her while I was away on business for a few days.  It was pleasant and empty.  All the jokes and insults felt recycled.  All the topics were drab. It was as though all of the color had leaked out of the Portrait of Us.

And since then we have been talking in drips and drabs - in G-chats and emails and some phone conversations.

And the truth is, I have noticed that at least a bit of color has dripped back in.  We still struggle to connect as we once did, but that might be a by-product of the change in both of our circumstances.  I'm married.  She's married.  I'm working.  She's back in school. 

Everything that made us...US is no longer.

But maybe, just maybe, the pendulum is swinging back the other way.  Maybe, while we can never be where we were, we can be in a different place than we are.  Truthfully I don't know where this path with Tova is going to lead.  It is beyond my powers of sight.  But we both seem interested in giving it that old college try.

So for now the road crews are out. The lights are on.  Double pay is in effect.  And the signs are out:  "This Relationship Is Under Renovation". 

Let's hope the crews can do a good job.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rollin' In Hotlanta

So there we are -  in my beautifully re-done living room - a bunch of discarded wing bones, assorted meats and empty Corona bottles lying around; watching the Jets play an up, down, up, VERY down and magnificently up game.  By the time the plates were cleared and the celebration over, it was after midnight.

3 take-aways from last night

 - The Jets won and are doing better than anyone expected.

 - Rex Ryan lost a TON of weight.  he looks good.

 - Sports is a lot like life.

I have nothing to add on points one and two.  Unlike basketball (love) and hockey (tolerate for the sake of my marriage) I don't really enjoy football.  Too much violence.  Too much standing around.  Too many rules.  Too many things happening that I don't understand (apparently a pancake isn't on;y a breakfast food).  And lap band surgery is clearly a wondrous thing. (I guess I did have things to add on points one and two after all.)

But sports as a life analogy.  I know I'm not exactly coming up with an original thought here.  It's been used to death.  but that makes it no less true.  The adversity, the highs and lows.  The way you deal with adversity and the lows.  Being mentally tough. Doing your job for the sake of team glory as opposed to selfishness.  All of these things are true.  Repetition makes that no less so.

In the aftermath of victory, I had myself my first really solid sleep in almost a week (12:30 to 6:30).  My brain feels 35 mph slower today, which is a good thing.  Because my brain's been absolutely fried and I've been living in a fog.

Sports as life.  Like work, it's a team effort.  It's about winning (making money the right way), not about any individuals glory. 

Sports as life.  Ups and downs.  and Ups.  And downs.  Sports announcers talk about a team "weathering the storm" and hope they respond to that.  And you know what, that's 100% correct.  That's what life is like sometimes.  How we weather the lows.  And how we respond to them.  It's not always milk n' cookies.  Sometimes it's fire and brimstone. 

I've been experiencing a number of crazy emotional swings of late and no, they aren't hormonal.  Just good, old-fashioned crazy-ness.  It happens. Even to normies.  So especially to the damaged. 

And the key is to realize they come.  And then to weather the storm. 

And the question is how to we respond.  Do we let the other team run us off the field 9another sports term!!) or do we fight back with everything we have (war analogy)?  Do we lay down or do we stand up?

Rah rah rah!  All good.  Life is good.  But it's a fight.  Sometimes every day.  Like sports.  It can be enjoyable, it can be tough and it can suck.  All of the above.

But last night it was all good.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Once Upon A Time - In Metaphor

Once upon a time, life was like the first mile of open highway on a summer road trip - full of endless possibility.

Once upon a time, life was the first step into a dark, wet cave- full of unnamed terror and despair.

Once upon a time.

The journey is a endless march.  Sometimes a slog, other times a quick trot, boundless and full of energy.

Once upon a time, the journey.

The road forks.  It dips.  It bends.  It's flooded out, the bridges washed away.  It's muddy. 

But then the sun breaks out through gray clouds and the road becomes straight and dry and easy.

Once upon a time, the journey eases.

In my life, the journey has been more arduous than easy.  I don't remember a time in my childhood when i looked at life as the road trip.  My life vision has always been the cave, with all of its requisite blackness stretching out to infinity. 

Until finally, a dramatic turn of events.  A parental demand to clean up or get out.  A therapist who understood. David.  The triumvirate.  My triumvirate.  My life raft. 

My salvation.

So yes, I struggle. I fall.  I sometimes fail to see the golden road.   The road is muddy, the bridge washed out.

I am human.  I am about as far from ideal as one can be.  I fall as hard as concrete.  I blaze like dry tinder wood.  I allow the devil in my head to pull the strings of my sub-conscious and turn me inside out.

But I get up, too.  I strive.  I succeed. 

Though sometimes I may very well fail to see it, my life is not a serious of failures.  My life is a success.  It is a series of victories strung together like gallery lights strung across a festive backyard.  Maybe a bulb or two in the string have extinguished, but still the whole gives off a soft, warm glow.

I won't let the devil in my head win out.  I won't let me destroy what I have worked so hard to accomplish.  I know I am not perfect.  I know I will fail sometimes.  But I also know that I don't quit.  I am a fighter.  I will battle on until I have no more battle inside me.  And that will be enough.  That will have to be enough.

Once upon a time, the light breaks through the gray clouds and burns a path to follow.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An Update In Snippets

And so it goes. Time churns.

A season passes.  Another begins.   

Busy busy, always busy.  A whirlwind, a dervish.  A river flows away from me, always running.  No peace.  Time moves on. 

Scattered thoughts.  Nothing sticks in my head. Sleepless nights, heavy lidded days.  Time moves away from me.

A season has passed.  Did I enjoy it?  Did it simply happen to me.  Do I even remember its supposedly warm embrace upon me?

Why do my thoughts always seem so fragmented?  Why am I always tortured?  Where is the peace that I seek?  Or perhaps I don't really seek want it.  How I love/hate all of these moving parts.

Weren't it for life to be easy?  Or maybe it is easy.  Maybe I'm the one who isn't easy.  Perhaps I need the chaos, the torture.  Am I the type who thrives on it?

Sleepless nights.  Only now, my brain won't shut off.  It whirs like a kinetic top, always in motion, always goading.  Always attempting to lead me astray.

It it my brain?  Is it me?  Why can't I ever just be happy? Why do I fight it so hard?  Endlessly fighting.  All that energy spent on things.  Wasting, always wasting.  always seeking something I don't need.

A season passes and another begins.  What does it hold for me?  Happiness, sadness?  Torture?  Something else? 

Time churns.  So do the wheels of my brain.