Monthly Archives: January 2018

Movie Review – The Foreigner (2017)

This movie is…da bomb!

Ha…what? Nothing?

:::crickets:::

OK, moving on.  BQB here with a review of “The Foreigner.”

Jackie Chan has still got his fists of fury after all these years.  Here, he plays Quan, a restaurant owner/immigrant living in London.  When his daughter is among the many killed in an IRA terrorist attack, Quan goes to work in a rage fueled vendetta, setting bombs of his own and taking down anyone who stands between him and what he wants, i.e. the names of the terrorists responsible.

Liam Hennessy, an ex-IRA big shot turned Irish politician (honestly, I never quite figured out what his official title was but he’s an official minister of some kind) becomes the number one name on Quan’s shit list. While Liam was a bloodthirsty supporter of the IRA cause in his early years, he claims to have since reformed, gone legit, and fights for peace.  Is he bad?  Has he changed his ways?  Your guess is good as mine.

It’s cool to see Jackie back in action though I have to admit, it’s Brosnan that carries the movie.  In Jackie’s glory days, he would usually work with a comedic sidekick (i.e. Owen Wilson in “Shanghai Noon” or Chris Tucker in “Rush Hour.”  Often, his movies would involve myth, magic, fantasy or comedy so it was interesting to see him play a more realistic character.  Ultimately, he becomes an Asian version of Charles Bronson’s “Deathwish” character, a modern day Paul Kersey out for revenge.  These bombers messed with the wrong father.

STATUS: Solid action thriller. Shelf-worthy.

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Alien Jones vs. The Yeti

Oh, what a wonderful world we live in when you can find a dude on Friday, ask him for artwork of an alien blasting a yeti and get this on Monday:

Thoughts?

I’ll be using this to promote an upcoming email newsletter. Alien Jones will be the author.

Movie Review – The Commuter (2018)

He’s got a set of skills…that include riding on a train.

BQB here with a review of “The Commuter.”

Liam Neeson’s tough guy using his skills action movie phase continues to go strong and up front, I have to admit that out of all of the post “Taken” movies that still tried to capitalize on that, this one is the best.  Overall, it’s better than what you usually might expect to see in the dull, dreary month of January.

Liam stars as Michael, an ex-cop who got tired of the corruption and became an insurance salesman.  For the past ten years, he’s been a passenger on the same commuter train.  Everyday, it’s the same routine, day in, day out, where he does the same thing at the same time, and always passes by the same fellow commuters.

Alas, one day his ride home is not so routine.  A mysterious woman ( the ever boner inducing Vera Farmiga) approaches him and forces him to do her dirty work, namely, there is someone on the train her evil bosses want found and it is up to Michael to find this person…or else!

Admittedly, the plot is a little thin.  At times, Vera and her mysterious associates are able to watch and manipulate Michael so much from the shadows that one is left to believe that they probably had the power to find the person they want all along without disturbing an insurance salesman.

Still, there are some cool scenes.  There’s a montage at the beginning where Michael does the same various tasks everyday in different clothes to show the monotony of commuter life (get there everyday at the same time and do the same thing.)  There’s also a pretty cool fight scene between Michael and a would-be assassin.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Liam’s still got it after all these years.  “Breaking Bad” fans will be happy to see Jonathan Banks in a small role.

 

 

 

 

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Movie Review – The Polka King (2018)

Ziggy Zaggy Ziggy Zaggy, Oi Oi Oi!

Grab your accordion and hold onto your wallet, 3.5 readers.  BQB here with a review of “The Polka King.”

Netflix is at it again, adding a new film to its repertoire, this time a comedy biopic of Jan Lewan, the Polka King of Pennsylvania who built his empire on a Ponzi scheme.  SPOILERS abound in this review.  I mean, it’s based on a real life case, though honestly, I’d never heard of it until I saw this film.

Jack Black plays the titular character.  At first, Lewan’s story is the stuff that the American dream is made of.  He was an immigrant from Poland who moves to America, works every disgusting job there is, from janitor to dishwasher.  In time, he marries Marla (Jenny Slate) and starts a polka band.  Regular polka shows become the go-to event in town and Lewan capitalizes on the publicity to promote a variety of business enterprises, from a Polish gift shop to a guided European tour business.

On the surface, it all seems too good to be true.  Loving wife, adorable son, a business empire based on his love of Polka music and even a grammy nomination.  Alas, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

To fund his various ventures, Jan takes “investments” in the form of promissory notes from his adoring fans, all who love and trust him.  Lewan is charming and affable.  He oozes positive energy, helps people find the best possible version of themselves and is considered a pillar of his community.  Unfortunately, this causes his investors to keep dumping money into his enterprise, money that he doesn’t have a chance at paying back.

In truth, Jan’s businesses aren’t making money at all.  They are more or less fronts for an increasingly complicated “rob Peter to pay Paul” operation.  Jan offers his investors a ridiculous, unheard of 12 percent rate of return, but rather than pay them back with money he has actually earned, he just keeps borrowing money from new dupes, and uses the newly borrowed notes to pay back the older ones.  In short, he was the Madoff of Polka.

Jack Black does well in this role and brings a lot of heart to it.  In the film, Jan comes across as a bit of a naïve fool, a dummy who thought it was perfectly fine to keep borrowing and borrowing into infinity.  At least, he appears that way at first, but as the film moves on, he delves deeper and deeper into more treacherous behavior.  Fame and success are like drugs.  He wants to be popular and famous and loved and the constant borrowing allows that to happen.

My main criticism is there is a lot of focus on how Lewan suffers as a result of his scheme.  True, I’m sure he did suffer but to be fair, the film might have shined more light on how his scheme hurt others, especially elderly retirees who trusted Jan with their life savings.  At one point, an elderly couple who lost their money is made out as if they are villains for hating on Lewan (i.e. Lewan’s mother-in-law shouts at them that they were greedy for thinking a 12 percent return on an investment could ever be real.)  It may be true that people who would give tons of money to a Polka player in the hopes of a huge payday aren’t too bright but at the same time, Lewan was lovable and came off as trustworthy so at the end of the day, Lewan was wrong for taking advantage of the trust placed in him.

Jenny Slate is great as Marla, Lewan’s beauty queen wife who stands by her man at first but over time, seeks to have her own piece of the pie, to have her own fame and fortune.  Jacki Weaver stars as Lewan’s battle axe mother-in-law who is irritatingly yet accurately vocal about her suspicions regarding Lewan’s business dealings.

Jason Schwartzmann rounds out the cast as Lewan’s friend and band mate, Mickey Pizzazz, a buddy who is torn.  He’s grateful to Lewan for saving him from a lifetime of working at Radio Shack by giving him a job as a musician that pays a living wage, but at the same time, he suspects chicanery.

Ironically, J.B. Smoove, the comedian known for playing larger than life, “Don’t give a F” characters like Leon on “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” serves as the voice of reason in this film.  Smoove plays Ron Edwards, a securities and exchange commission agent who initially lets Lewan off with a warning in the early days of the scheme when it could all be cast aside as a simple misunderstanding only to hunt him down when his operation blows up.  While I would hate to see Smoove drop his comedy, this turn shows he does have some range and could be tapped to play more serious characters in the future.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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If you’re just joining us…

…I got tired of trying to explain to people what this fine blog is all about, so I paid this lady to do it for me:

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If you have Microsoft edge…

…and you know how to make it so that your web browser is full screen instead of having it be down lower on the screen and then on top it shows all your tabs, past sites you’ve been to etc, how to fix that, it would be appreciated.

Thank you, 3.5 readers.  I’m sorry to inform you but your fearless leader doesn’t know everything.

Inappropriate Musicals – Balls of Glory: The John Wayne Bobbitt Story – Act 2

SONG TITLE: “Where Is It?”

(John Wayne Bobbitt wakes up.  He gets out of bed, stretches and yawns.  He breaks out into song.)

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

Something’s missing…

(A chorus of neighborhood men flood the room.)

CHORUS:

Don’t you hate that feeling?  Is it under the bed?  Is it stuck to the ceiling?

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

What did I loose?  Is it my keys?  Is it my shoes?

CHORUS:

Something isn’t right!  What a terrible fright!

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’m feeling very indignant.  Something’s amiss.  Something is wrong.  Something feels so different.

CHORUS:

Did you lose your wallet?  We think we saw in on the coffee table!

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

No, it’s not that, but I just feel so unstable.

CHORUS:

Did you lose your day planner?  We think you dropped it on the stairs.

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

No.  This has caught me unawares.

CHORUS:

How frightful to know that something is gone, but to not know what is missing…

(JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT heads to the bathroom, lifts up the toilet seat and drops his pants.)

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

Oh well, maybe I’ll figure it out while I’m pissing.  AAAARRRRRRRGGGGHHH!

(JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT returns to the bedroom.)

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

Where is it?

CHORUS:

Where is what?

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

My penis! My Johnson!  My cock!

CHORUS:

It’s not there?!

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

No sirs, right now I’m wearing empty underwear.

CHORUS:

It’s probably the last place you left it.

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

Could it be in the kitchen?  Could it be in the sink?  I’m sorry that I’m bitchin’ but it’s enough to make a man drink?

CHORUS:

Where, oh where is your best pal?  That is what we must know!

(JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT looks around.)

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

Hey!  Did anyone see Lorena go?

(A knock at the door.  BOBBITT opens it.  A police officer hold up a plastic bag.)

POLICE OFFICER:

Sir, is this yours?

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

Why, yes!  Where did it go?  It’s never left me before!

POLICE OFFICER:

We need to get you to a doctor.  See if it can be sewn back on.

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

My God!  Will it ever work again?  Will an erection it ever yield?

POLICE OFFICER:

I have no idea.  We found it at the edge of an abandoned field.

JOHN WAYNE BOBBITT:

But officer! Please, tell me!  Will it ever produce a load?

POLICE OFFICER:

What do I look like?  A dick scientist?  It was just lying there on the side of the road!

 

 

 

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Inappropriate Musicals – Balls of Glory: The John Wayne Bobbitt Story – Act 1

ACT I

(It’s the 1990s.  An enraged Lorena Bobbitt enters her bedroom to find her husband fast asleep.  She raises her hands.  She’s holding a man’s shirt with a lipstick stained collar in one hand and a butcher’s knife in the other.  She breaks out in song.)

SONG TITLE: “Chop it Off”

LORENA BOBBITT:

He cheated…again!

(Chorus girls fill the stage, all dressed like neighborhood housewives.)

CHORUS:

He cheated again!  Why, oh why can’t you see?

LORENA BOBBITT:

That he had carnal relations with someone other than me?

CHORUS:

Oui!

LORENA BOBBITT:

My eyes are open now!  It’s clear what I have to do!

CHORUS:

Get in the car and leave him now!  For divorce you’ll have to sue!

LORENA BOBBITT:

I’ll make it so he can never, cheat on me again!  I’ll separate him from, his tiny little friend!

(LORENA raises the butcher’s knife.)

CHORUS:

Um…no we were just thinking, that you could just take all his money in court.  Make him open his wallet, but to be violent is to be a bad sport.

LORENA BOBBITT:

But if he goes to court he’ll find another woman.  He’ll cheat on that poor girl too.  No, to end this vicious cycle, there’s only one thing left to do.

(LORENA belts out a showstopper.)

Oh…I’m going to….CHOP IT OFF!

CHORUS:

No, this plan will surely fail!

LORENA BOBBITT:

Yes, I’m going to chop it off!

CHORUS:

Think of the headlines!  Think of jail!

LORENA BOBBITT:

I’ll be a hero to every woman who ever got the jilt.  Now you can chop off your husband’s penis, and not feel any guilt!

CHORUS:

You should probably feel some guilt.

LORENA BOBBITT:

Yes, I’m going to chop it off!  Nobody can stop me now!  Oh, I’m going to chop it off!  I’m going to shout it loud!

(LORENA walks to the bed, raises the knife.  Stage goes dark.)

 

 

 

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Inappropriate Musicals

Hi 3.5 readers.  I’ve decided I’m going to write inappropriate musicals for awhile.  If anyone from Broadway is interested, let me know.  If you have an inappropriate topic for a musical, please share.

First up – Bobbitt!

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Toilet Gator Second Draft Edits Resume – AGAIN

I hate it when you lose work and have to do it all over again.  I just feel like your first gut feeling is always the best, it’s impossible to recreate.

But try, I must, for the world needs, nay, DESERVES…TOILET GATOR!

toilet-gator-book-1