Daily Archives: April 29, 2017

BQB’s Classic Movie Reviews – Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

“It’s all in the reflexes.”

BQB here with a review of the action/comedy/martial arts fantasy, Big Trouble in Little China.

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Like Escape from New York, this is another film I got through my 1980s childhood without seeing until now.  Also like Escape, it features Kurt Russell being directed by John Carpenter.  However, while Escape’s Snake Plissken was a gruff man of few words, Big Trouble’s Jack Burton is a boisterous big mouth, thus allowing Russell to show off his versatility.

Our story begins with Burton, an overly confident truck driver who refers to himself in the third person via a radio show of sorts that he performs on CB radio, pulling into the Chinatown section of San Francisco.  After a long haul, he meets up with buddy Wang Chi (Dennis Dun) for a night of rowdy drinking and gambling.

When Burton gives Wang a ride to the airport to pick up his fiancee who’s about to arrive from China, said fiancee is kidnapped by brutish kung fu thugs and the adventure is on.  As Jack and Wang follow the trail, they end up in a world of martial arts, monsters, and magic, culminating in an epic battle royal with the vile sorcerer Lo Pan (James Hong aka the old Asian guy in practically every movie that requires an old Asian guy.  Hell, he even voices the goose that adopted Po in Kung Fu Panda).

Along the way, Jack and Wang team up with good sorcerer Egg Shen (Victor Wong aka James’ Hong’s longtime rival for the part of old Asian guy in every film that requires one).

Jack even finds a love interest in Gracie Law, a lawyer who, I don’t know, is investigating the trouble in Little China.  It’s not really explained that well.  All I know is that it was nice to see a young, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed Kim Cattrall in this movie, long before she became jaded, unapologetically slutty Samantha on Sex in the City.

And yes, the character’s name is “Gracie Law,” because the writers really wanted you to know that she is a lawyer, but “Briefcase McCourtOrder” would have been too obvious.

I had a buddy in elementary school who gave me rave reviews about this movie.  He kept those reviews up long into adulthood, often telling me I needed to check this out.

I checked it out and…hmm…how to explain.

I don’t want to call it the worst movie I’ve ever seen, because it is far from it.  In fact, I can picture a 1980s audience full of big haired, big shoulder padded people being blown away by this film.  It has a lot of heart and there is a definite intent to entertain.  Even some of the cheesier moments of the film can be laughed off by remembering this movie isn’t just an action film, but it’s also an action comedy.

My main criticism is with the overall story, or rather, the film’s storytelling abilities.  Not much of an overall explanation is given about why this magic world of martial arts magic exists.

Instead, Jack, like the viewer, is thrust into the story face first,  He, and you, the viewer, learn bits and pieces of what is happening along the way.  Oddly enough, every Asian person in the film knows everything there is to know about this magical martial arts world, as if it has always been around and only dumb honkies like Jack are oblivious to it.  Even Wang, a restauranteur by trade, displays some off the chain, bad ass kung fu moves, yet there isn’t really any explanation as to why this guy who cooks food by day knows how to fly through the air with a sword at night.

I’m very, very far from politically correct, but I suppose the modern day social justice warriors have brainwashed me into thinking, “Huh.  This film seems to suggest all Asian people are kung fu masters.  That doesn’t seem very woke.”

But then I just tamp down social justice vibe down deep and eat a cookie for fear I’ll become some kind of gluten sucking, fedora wearing hipster.  Boo…hipsters.

Bottomline, it’s a fun romp and there some great scenes.  I just wish a little more work had been done on the story.  Then again, someone wiser than me might say that throwing Jack headfirst into the action and letting him catch up is a great storytelling device all on its own.

After all, how many times in your life has anyone really sat you down and told you everything you ever needed to know about a given situation?  That rarely happens, if ever.  Like Jack, we rush in, put on a brave front full of false machismo, and hold onto our butts, all the while hoping we’ll figure it all out before it’s too late.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Watch it on Netflix.

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Douche Shark III – Return to the Valley of the Douche Shark (Or, Why Aren’t You Answering My Texts, Bro?)

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By: Douche Shark, the World’s Douchiest Shark

Editorial Note:  For those just joining us, Douche Shark was born when Dr. Hugo Von Science dared to take the brain of a douche and insert it into a shark.  The result?  Douche Shark!

Bro.  Broseph.  Broski.  Broheim.  Bro-mo-lo-mo-ding-dong.  Yo, what gives bro?  I’ve been texting you all night, Brocephalitus and you’ve yet to return any of my dope ass attempts to correspond with you, bro.

Bro, I don’t think you realize how totes cool I was for interrupting my workout routine to text you all those dank memes, bro.  Some dude somewhere in the world was cool enough to insert some funny text underneath a photo of Bane and then in turn, I was cool enough to send it to you.   That way, when you’re at a party and you want to impress some lady sharks, you can just pull out your phone and show them all your funky fresh memes, bro.

Seriously, bro-dawg, what’s gotten into you?  You’ve been ignoring me completely, bro.  Even my Facebook requests, bro.  I sent you like, 9,342 reminders to take care of my FarmVille farm and when I got back from my trip to get discount Guatemalan botox inserted into my fin, I find all of my crops have died and my cartoon chicken is having sex with my cartoon cow.  That’s totes uncool, bro.  You failed your bro.  There’s nothing worse than a bro who fails a bro, bro.

And bro, while we’re having it out like a couple of bros, what’s up with you not snapping me back on snap chat?  WTF, bro?  I go to all the trouble of making my shark face look like a puppy and you can’t even be bothered to hit me back with a simple message like, “Oh, that’s really cool that you made your shark face look like a puppy, bro.  Good looking out.”

Seriously bro.  We need to talk.  That’s why I called you like seven hundred times in the hopes of having an actual voice conversation, even though that practice is totes ancient and like no one even does it anymore, bro.  But that’s how much I care, bro.  And it’s like you don’t even care anymore, bro.

Bro, why don’t we work out anymore?  I sent you like a thousand texts asking you to come spot me at the shark gym.  But you never came, bro.  I had to spot myself.  Then I had to rub shark lotion into my shark muscles all by myself.

Bro, I don’t know what’s up with you.  Maybe you need to switch energy drinks, bro.  Maybe you need to get out more and get down with some more fine ass lady sharks, bro. Maybe you need more of that Axe body spray for shark bodies.  I got a few cases I could spare you, bro.

All I know is you need to start stepping up your bro game, because this is not how bros treat other bros, so if you don’t start becoming a better bro, then I’m gonna have to replace you with a new bro in my bro posse, bro.

I’m just sayin’ bro, I’m just sayin.’  I don’t want to, but I am.  Someone’s gotta be real, bro. Someone’s gotta be real and if you were really my bro then you’d know I keep it real, bro.  I totes legit keep it hella real.

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Analysis – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

In case you missed it, Professor Horatio J. Nannerpants is the Bookshelf Battle Blog’s professional simian literary expert/semi-professional poop flinger.  He’ll gladly tell you everything you need to know about the classics.

Just be ready to duck, as he has been known to make the poop fly.

In this column, he discusses Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.  Come for the commentary.  Stay for the poop.

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Toilet Gator – Chapter 24

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An army of FBI agents, computer experts, lab technicians and forensic analysts poured out of the RV and into the Sitwell Police Department building. They quickly made themselves at home. Maude found herself fielding all sorts of questions to which she had no answers.

“We’re going to need at least seven high speed, fiber optic connections and a designated multi-port router hub,” one computer tech said. “What’s your port to port ratio?”

“I know how to dial a phone, son,” Maude said. “That’s about it.”

“How are you set up for invasive, anthropometric, post-mortem inspections?” a forensic analyst asked.

“I was born when Eisenhower was president,” Maude replied.

“Oh,’ the forensic analyst said. “My condolences.”

The techs and agents went to work – moving desks and office furniture around, installing computer equipment, drilling holes and installing wires, and so on.

Burt perked up out of his slumber. “Should we be letting them wreck the place like this?”

“Well,” Maude said. “Cole said to let them do whatever they want.”

Sharon entered the room. She saw Maude and smiled, then went in for a hug. Maude graciously accepted it, but she had to fight back a yearning to punch Sharon in the face.

“Maude!” Sharon said. “It’s been so long.”

“Yup,” Maude said. “Sure has.”

“How have you been?” Sharon asked.

“Oh, you know,” Maude said. “Everyday I wake up, check to make sure I’m not dead yet and if I’m not I come to work.”

Sharon said. “Same old Maude. You still haven’t lost your sense of humor.”

Maude rested her hand on her oxygen tank. “Nope. Just everything else.”

The old lady watched as the Feds tore the office apart. “Looks like you’ve moved up in the world since you left all of us country bumpkins.”

“Yeah,” Sharon said. “I’m sorry about all the commotion. We’ll be out of your hair as soon as we can.”

“Agent Walker,” one of the computer techs said. “We should be all set up for a video conference call with Quantico within the hour.”

“Very good,” Sharon said.

Freddie Milton was escorted into the department by Gordon and two other agents. Milton was all decked out in an orange jumpsuit, with his hands bound together by a chain wrapped around his waist.

Maude was startled when she found herself staring up at Gordon’s gargantuan, bald head.

“You got an interrogation room?” Maude asked.

“Son, we don’t even have a break room,” Maude replied.

The old gal pointed to the door to Cole’s digs. “I suppose the Chief won’t mind if you use his office.”

Gordon opened up the door to Cole’s office and pushed the prisoner inside. “Move, maggot!”

“He seems charming,” Maude said.

“Oh,” Sharon said. “Agent Bishop may be a knuckle dragging caveman, but he has his own ways of getting things done.”

Sharon was about to enter the office when she stopped and turned around. “Maude?”

“Yeah?”

“How is Cole?” Sharon asked.

Maude sighed. “You want me to sugar coat it?”

“Since when do you do that?” Sharon asked.

“For Cole?” Maude said. “All day long. I take his words and put them into diplomatic terms to the assorted morons in this town who live to drive him nuts.”

“Right,” Sharon said. “But you always talk straight when you’re among friends.”

Suddenly, Sharon spotted a glare on Maude’s face that gave her a sneaking suspicion that she and Maude might not be friends anymore.

“He’s about as well as you might expect,” Maude said. “All things considered.”

“That was very diplomatic,” Sharon said.

Maude took a seat at her desk. “That’s what I do.”

Sharon entered the office, closing the door behind her. Maude got on her computer and live streamed Network News One. Kurt Manley’s face popped up on Maude’s monitor.

“Our wall to wall coverage of the death of Countess Cucamonga continues with an in-depth look at the pop diva’s life,” Kurt Manley said.

A photo of an eight year old girl with two missing baby teeth appeared on screen. Kurt’s voice continued. “She was born Sally Ann Dubawitz, just a simple girl from a simple backwater Florida town, although no one can seem to pinpoint which town that was…”

Maude squinted at the photo. “I’ll be damned…”

Irving, the Countess’ manager, appeared in a pre-recorded interview segment. “The Countess was very guarded about her past. She grew up around hayseeds and hillbillies but once she became a star, she cast that all aside to become the regal princess-life figure we all came to love and admire.”

Maude paused the stream, then picked up her phone and dialed.

“Bernice?” Maude said. “It’s Grandma. How are you? Uh huh…yeah…really? Oh, that’s wonderful. Yeah….yeah…isn’t that something? Wow…uh huh…well, listen girl, I need you to do your Grammy a favor. You got your high school year book? Yeah…no I know but it’s important….sweetheart, I wouldn’t be asking if it weren’t important….yeah…go find it and send it overnight delivery to me…oh holy shit Bernice you make three times what I make but if you want to quibble then fine, I’ll pay the charges…what? Just a little something I’m working on, never you mind. Yeah…yeah…ok darlin’ I love you too. Talk to you later.”

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99 Designs Expands Its Book Business

Hey 3.5 readers.

Came across this interesting PR Newswire press release.

99 Designs has been providing authors with the ability to hold book cover design contests for a long time.  Now they’re branching out into book layout, typesetting, interior book design, basically.

Could be a boon for self-publishers.  I know I tried Adobe one time, gave up on trying to figure it out, and came to the conclusion that if the inside of my book was ever going to look good I was going to have to hire someone to do it.

What say you, 3.5 readers?

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