clap if you love … DYNAMO!

okay, after many annoying evenings and/or tax-related shenanigans that have delayed this update, here we go: the running diary of the Running Man. or as i like to call it, “that movie with the electric dude who’s always running around in his underwear trying to kill Arnold.” i watched it recently with my sibling and my main thought was “wow, does this movie deserve a running diary update or what?”

preparatory information: once upon a time, there was an author named Stephen King who wanted to feel better about himself, and so he wrote some short novels and published them under the name Richard Bachman. now, these books were of varying quality (the Long Walk was great, the Running Man good, Thinner decent, Rage decent but juvenile, and Roadwork just … meanders all over the place), but two of them would later become movies: Thinner (which probably wasn’t very good) and the Running Man. but somewhere along the way, the book version of the Running Man got … corrupted.

the book, you see, is a harsher view of a totalitarian dystopia, dated in some respects (the YMCA features prominently), weird in some respects (i am not sure how i feel about King’s depiction of the struggles of the Boston ghetto), but fairly consistent and negative and realistic. or maybe just as realistic as science-fiction books about the future get, but still: there are no crazy Hunters (they’re basically like private eyes or cops in the book), there’s no cracked-out neon-coloration sense about the book’s imagery, and so on. as for the movie? well, during once again to Wikipedia:

“The film, set in a dystopic year 2019, is about a television show called Running Man, where convicted criminal “runners” must escape death at the hands of professional killers. The film differed significantly from the novel; it recalls some scenes from a French film, called Le Prix du Danger, and a German film, called Das Millionenspiel, with a similar theme based on the short story The Prize of Peril by Robert Sheckley, about a television show where participants must escape killers live on television.”

actually, that doesn’t even describe it in NEARLY the insane fashion it should, because this film is ridiculous. i suppose the biggest note i should mention is that the Ben Richards of the book is an impoverished guy who goes on the show for the benefit of his forced-to-prostitute wife and sick-and-needs-medicine daughter, whereas the movie is going to have this crazy freedom-fighting subplot. yeah, exactly.

00:27: brief tangent as we get started: i REALLY like this totally futuristic font that we’re seeing in the credits, and i think every film set in the future (or 2019, which we’re almost at, creepily enough) should use this font. okay, let’s focus on the movie.

eh, the Running Man
oh shit… things are about to get seriously FUTURISTIC

00:57: ah, the back story laid out over a blindingly-red-to-black screen so that we understand how society was so terrible in 2017 that we needed this crazy game show (or series of game shows, to be accurate) to save us from ourselves. or something. anyway, this back story varies a little from that of the book, but it’s not really the problem here.

02:08: in a classic flaw common to all sorts of science-fiction films, we have this advanced future where there’s still some very awkward computer technology being used. case in point: whatever the hell is going on with this helicopter. i’ll try and make this the only “dated look of the film” comment because i know the response: duh, janklow, the film was made in 1987. still, i suspect they’re always better served to not show this kind of thing at all, or make it unrealistically good. it’s the future! it can be unrealistic!

02:24: anyway, we rapidly go into the plot (Arnold as Ben Richards is told to shoot civilians during a “food riot” and declines and gets beaten by his colleagues) as Arnold tries really, REALLY hard to act here. although i am not sure how it’s a “riot” if no one is armed and it’s just women and kids that want food. lousy half-assed future riots…

03:51: okay, this is my token firearm complaint: why is it in half-assed action movies that organizations (in this case, the guards at this Wilshire Detention Zone) never have regulation guns? half of these guys have some M-16/AR-15 rifle, and the other half have Calicos (terrible in its own right). even if this is somehow due to the constraints of the prop department, could they not have somehow filmed in a way that would make it SEEM more logical?

the Running Man starring YAPHET KOTTO
no matter how bad the future seems, it can’t be all bad when Yaphet Kotto is featured so prominently

04:20: it strikes me that my colleague J.Miles probably strongly approves of the fierce beard Arnold is rocking at this point in his stay in detention. too bad it won’t last! luckily, Arnold will compensate for this by dropping one-liners furiously throughout this movie. he also shoots a guy with his rifle one-handed (at about 07:11), a feat i would like to see J.Miles replicate (only with an inanimate target, not some dude).

07:00: so after all the armed guards and collars-wired-to-explode (a common futuristic theme) and plots to escape from the detention zone and scheming with Yaphet Kotto and gunfights breaking out, this was about the point that i turned to my sibling and said, “wow, i totally don’t recall there being this level of ridiculous back story in the Running Man.” which was true. i’ve seen the film before so i SUPPOSE i vaguely recall it, but it always seems like this movie is about nothing but the game show nonsense.

08:39: a guy’s head explodes from his restraint collar going off before the gang can deactivate it to escape, which makes it clear that the way you hack a computer in 2019 is to enter a legitimate security code that you happen to see, and then have it get “resisted” somehow (maybe by another guy on the same kind of computer ALSO entering a code), and then just hit the enter key many, many times until the hack works. the future, ladies and gentlemen! after this, i may want to waste the bad taste of this out of my mouth with the realistic computer shenanigans of say “Hackers” or “TRON.”

CHICO! CHIIICOOO!
okay, okay, i admit it: the future is clearly going to suck

09:40: despite the fact that we KNOW the film takes place in a terrible future, i am not sure Los Angeles looks worse here than it does in real life. also, i must admit that this film actually does have, no lie, some inspired casting, as seen here when we notice Richard Dawson is the host of the Running Man, Damon Killian. and he does a great job in the role, appropriately cheesy AND evil. Jesse Ventura is also a good pick for a steroid-enhanced doofus with the name of “Captain Freedom,” but we can return to that later; the point here is that this is something NOT messed up in the film.

10:42: okay, you might not notice this on your first viewing, but the billboard/television that shows highlights from “the Running Man” is showing clips that happen LATER in the movie to characters who have not experienced them yet, such as when they fight Subzero or Buzzsaw. that’s right: the future is so awesome that television shows the future! really, there’s no reason someone couldn’t have shot an extra 13 seconds of footage for use in that scene. terrible. there’s some story explanation about all this building towards shutting down the network signal or something, which is lame mainly because we all know society won’t be fixed by (temporarily) turning off a television.

12:57: note to self: Ben Richards has an awesome hardhat. i want this hardhat!

17:09: now, while i don’t approve of apartments that don’t have a security code change from tenant to tenant and i don’t approve of these generally lame ICS uniforms, there IS one thing about the future that i DO approve of (mainly because i am into pain and suffering): Captain Freedom’s Work-Out! (although evidence indicates it’s not much of a work-out). just try and say no to this:

Jesse
YEAH! YEAH!

22:07: Arnold appears wearing the single greatest outfit of all time. i am not even going to describe it, as i trust you will all recognize it when you see it. he’s going to get captured and agree to be on the show the Running Man to save his friends… but for now, we can enjoy the promise of freedom his outfit portends.

29:41: so there’s this sub-plot (well, that’s not the word) with a bunch of guys theatrically gambling on the Running Man; i bring this moment to your attention to point out the awesome jacket the one guy is wearing. clothes are going to be so much more awesome in 2019!

34:37: while this lawyer has his moments (such as the “agree to disagree” part), i think we all know he deserves this stabbing. i am even suspicious that Arnold may have actually stabbed this guy in real life and the footage was simply used in the film. don’t forget to send me a copy!

36:02: so the fake footage of Arnold killing people in the food riot is shown, and it raises some questions. a) why are people who are excited to watch a show where criminals are hunted and killed shocked by the simulated violence? b) why does a car exploding elicit such an emotional response? c) do the filmmakers not realize that part of the book’s concept was that the upper/middle classes were fooled, but that the poor had a firmer understanding of society’s issues and if so, do they not realize that having the poor guys watching the show hate on Richards kind of, sort of doesn’t work?

Damon Killian
who loves you, and who do you love?

39:04: i have to admit, when it’s revealed that Arnold’s friends are going to be thrown into the game after all, all i could think of was “what’s the purpose of them appearing in such an incredibly uncomfortable and awkward fashion?” seriously, they’re so contorted in those little jet-car things, it doesn’t make any sense.

42:23: so Maria Conchita Alonso finds the raw footage of Arnold that will clear him… and it’s kept in an unlocked file cabinet next to the fake footage? and not just destroyed? and, skipping slightly ahead, they won’t find it and destroy it when they take her into custody, (presumably) search her and make her change into the futuristic jumpsuit? terrible.

Professor Subzero
here is (Professor) Subzero! (and his ridiculous groin protector.) now… plain zero!

43:38: stalker one is introduced: Subzero. now, two things. one, i couldn’t recall this guy’s name, and neither could my sibling, and all i kept saying was “it can’t be “Subzero,” that’s a Mortal Kombat character.” imagine my disappointment. two, i was joking about how Professor Toru Tanaka gets billed with “Professor” as part of his name … and here they go and make his character “Professor Subzero.” ridiculous! so from here on out, i will be referring to him as “Professor Subzero,” if only because it’ll make me feel like i was right about the whole name thing.

44:30: “here in the locker room?” why is there a locker room full of half-naked dudes in this movie? there’s a total of FOUR stalkers in the film. are these all the random biker dudes we see chasing around Arnold and friends briefly? what the hell? also, the concept of “400 game blocks” versus the entire world of the book (in which you can presumably really escape) is another reason this concept has been weakened. “anything can happen” in the 400 blocks … but you happen to wander into a skating rink with fancy goals for Professor Subzero? lame.

48:09: Professor Subzero, you can’t even wound one unarmed guy with your bladed hockey stick on your custom staking rink before you get killed? also lame.

50:30: okay, i get that i am supposed to suspend my disbelief and presume that all these stalkers are bad, murderous dudes… and then Buzzsaw and Dynamo are introduced. Dynamo is not ever to be called a “hard-ass.” Dynamo is terrible. look, let’s have a quick graphical comparison.

Buzzsaw
that stupid arch is totally done for

exhibit A: Buzzsaw. Buzzsaw is clearly a muscular dude who lifts motorcycles, hits his fans in their stupid faces, and attacks modern art with some supposedly awesome chainsaw. he might look like a shitty Hulk Hogan on steroids (or, i guess, more steroids than Hogan was on), and given how ridiculous and secretly lame these stalkers seems to be, he’s not in good company … but he probably could beat up a guy or saw him to death or something. you know, if he HAD to.

Dynamo
clap if you love… DYNAMO! i trust none of you are clapping

exhibit B: Dynamo. basically, Dynamo is a fucking fat guy wearing a stupid fucking outfit composed primarily of Lite-Brite who sings fucking opera and shoots electricity at stuff, such as his sign. WHICH IS A TERRIBLE SIGN. and then while Buzzsaw will have a motorcycle to ride on, Dynamo will be tooling around in a fucking dune buggy. and while attacking people with a chainsaw while on a motorcycle is foolish, it’s at least imposing. no one is threatened by a fat dude in the worst, most plastic dune buggy ever. Dynamo is the worst thing i have ever seen.

59:13: so not to get totally distracted here, but i find myself wondering what the hell is in this “Running Man home game.” i would totally play that board game if it could be purchased.

60:00: so Weiss finds the OMG top secret network up-link interface (complete with “hexagonal decode system”)… which of course makes me wonder why the network didn’t install a locked fucking door here. or at least something to make it seem like there was once a locked door? maybe Dynamo’s stupid car could have smashed into a building or something? this is just lazy writing.

62:19: much like that one South Park episode taught us, here’s the deal: i don’t care how much of an annoyance a stalker is being, Arnold, you do not chop him right in the dick with his own chainsaw. or ANY chainsaw. you can still kill him and hit him with the same one-liners; “keep it” in response to “i’m gonna make [this saw] part of you” and “he had to split” work regardless of where the chainsaw goes. IT IS NOT COOL.

62:50: hey, you know what’s NOT the stealthiest of attire? a glowing fucking Lite-Brite suit!

Dynamo
NOT VERY SNEAKY, ASSHOLE

seriously… i hate Dynamo so much. and computer hacking that is just “hitting buttons.” but mostly Dynamo. especially when he calls people “my love.” the only good thing about him is when he’s getting insulted by Arnold. or when his dune buggy (which reminds me of those shitty Japanese WWII tanks that GIs beat up by hand on at least one occasion) is wrecked and he’s begging for mercy.

66:13: Jim Brown (as Fireball) is to report to wardrobe at once. really, what about this hairdo is necessary for either his character development and/or the plot progression? it’s just insulting. and then Yaphet Kotto dies. fuck, awesome black dudes are just getting shit on furiously in this portion of the film. although if the underground has a broadcast center RIGHT near all this nonsense, how did they not find the almost-immediately-adjacent up-link before? terrible.

68:39: “i live to see you eat that contract! but i hope you leave enough room for my fist, because i’m going to ram it into your stomach and break your goddamn spine!” YES. also, at this point my sibling realized why i yelled this at her when she said we were going to watch the Running Man. this is easily Arnold’s best line ever.

69:27: the major problems i have with Fireball are a) his outfit being so damn glittery and b) him “impressing” me by lighting paper dudes on fire. Arnold is not made of paper, Fireball. still… he’s not an fucking fat guy covered in a child’s toy. this has to count for something. still… who pitched this to Jim Brown? “hey, Jim, do you want to be in a movie where you’re covered in silver glitter and start fires?” i would fear being beaten and thrown out of his house.

Fireball
i at least consider it reasonable to picture Jim Brown killing the hell out of someone

71:16: this is where Killian’s biggest fan, Agnes, uses the phrase “one mean motherfucker,” which is supposed to make her the hilarious old woman of the film, but which i just find awkward. should old ladies use words like that?

73:29: seriously, Arnold, throwing slow-moving barrels at a dude with a flamethrower is your plan? what the fuck is this, Donkey Kong? and then we find the network killed the past winners, but left their bodies lying around with dog tags on them, as if no one has ever heard of a crematorium? even when there’s a guy WHO SHOOTS FIRE on the payroll? RIDICULOUS. and then Arnold throws a flare at Jim Brown’s crotch and everything goes downhill from there. what a hot-head.

76:59: the absolute best part about this outfit that Captain Freedom bursts in wearing and complaining about is that it doesn’t even make sense and gets no explanation. he doesn’t want it because it’s not sporting … yet all it seems to do is be useless plastic that gets in the way. seems to me that if you’re this turbo-awesome dude, Captain Freedom, it WOULD be sporting of you to wear a stupid, restrictive costume.

Captain Freedom
Jesse Ventura dressed as either a lame version of Captain Freedom or maybe just a Transformer

78:27: so i think this was the point where i turned to my sibling and said “what the fuck is with all these dancers again?” i sort of assumed that the opening dancers were like cheerleaders plus credits, but they’re back doing a memorial dance in the middle of a show? this is so not the kind of thing anyone would ever put in a bloody, action-packed show. and then there’s a weird sequence where Jesse Ventura kills a computer animation or something.

82:40: one thing i have learned is that the Steyr AUG is perfectly designed for sci-fi films set in the near future. it’s a cool gun, but no one really adopted it and so it looks like something awesome from that near future. kind of like the P90s in Stargate, i guess. although i don’t know what’s up with this turbo-tactical Micro-Uzi that Maria Conchito Alonso is packing. that thing’s just illogical. and then Arnold switches his gun for this terrible action-film MP5 with a crazy fake suppressor? and then there’s more dancing? ugh.

88:06: yes, Dynamo, it IS funny when dudes beat you up and trap you in your car. but you know what? there IS something funny about a “dickless moron with a battery up his ass.” and then you go to rape someone with the line “i’ll show YOU dickless?” really? and then i have to see your jockey shorts? jesus christ, thank god you fucking die in this scene.

just very awkward to see
tactical Micro-Uzi? Lite-Brite suit and fluorescent mohawk? fat dude’s revealing underwear? this is the worst thing i have ever seen

90:00: wow, there are a lot of theatrical flips and awkward grips on guns in this scene. this movie must have been filmed in the 1980s. also, i’m not sure why the appearance of Killian’s bodyguard Sven would have made Killian feel better. Sven’s not bigger than Arnold and is also packing a smaller gun, so what the hell?

92:45: and then Killian gets jammed into one of those rocket cars and shot into a tube in a way that kills him, and somehow this frees society. and then EVERYONE, from the poorest to the richest, start celebrating simultaneously. really, truly not joking about this. not even one rich guy appears to be thinking “i imagine this revolution will affect my finances.” whatever, it’s time to make out with your new girlfriend, Arnold. cue the awkward 1980s closing music!

Arnold and Maria, together at last
something in your eyes just told me that this nightmare would end … and i have found a friend

seriously, this song talks about new starts and restless hearts and rolling the dice and no pain, no gain. it’s the perfect ending to this mess.

the only real downside is that i didn’t make my sibling pose for a picture in the “clap if you love … DYNAMO” shirt that i bought her. oh well, now that she owns such a classy piece of clothing, such things are inevitable!

i only wanted to feel your soft, silky wings

for the time being, let’s pretend i didn’t have to audacity to post a place-holder for the running diary update that shall not yet be mentioned: it clearly hasn’t happened yet and as we’re rapidly approaching it being QUITE overdo, i think i’m going to cave in and temporarily satisfy my audience (read: J.Miles) with a more token, complaining about random stuff update before i spend the serious amount of time necessary to criticize a film that depicts a dickless moron with a battery up his ass. so on with this week’s whatever!

Dr. Conrad Murray
this man smiles the smile of a man who has killed the King of Pop with a mystery cream

witness: Michael Jackson doctor interrupted CPR

now, that tagline isn’t anything too wild, but it’s definitely going to catch your interest: everyone loves Michael Jackson, his death was a surprise and his doctor seems infinitely shady, and so on. i think we all suspect some shenanigans went down there, so it’s not like any of us would be surprised to seem something along those lines confirmed. his shady doctor stopped CPR and/or calling paramedics so as to hide drug vials and/or other evidence? saw it coming. but it actually gets even weirder:

“The documents also detail an odd encounter with Murray after Jackson was declared dead at a nearby hospital. Murray insisted he needed to return to the mansion to get cream that Jackson had “so the world wouldn’t find out about it,” according to the statements, which provide no elaboration.”

this is weirdness that keeps on giving. first, in the aftermath of the death, it’s a raging need to collect this cream? and then the specific “so the world wouldn’t find out about it” remark, which probably references something irresponsible or illegal, but which, given the phrase, makes me assume this was FORBIDDEN MAGICAL CREAM? and then the lack of elaboration? how can there be no elaboration about mystery cream? if someone had told me they needed to go collect cream under similar circumstances, rest assured that the very first phrases out of my mouth would be “mysterious cream? you need to elaborate immediately!”

in the end, even in death, Michael Jackson’s weirdness is the gift that keeps on giving.

Hugo Chavez
apparently we have found another politician who suspects the internet may be a series of tubes

Chavez strikes back at critics with his own blog

remember when, in the recent past, i complained (a rare concept, i know) about how blogging wasn’t “cool” anymore because all the teenagers were abandoning it for their Facespace or MyBook or whatever, and then made a bunch of angry (and possibly pun-related) comments about that? well, if Hugo Chavez is getting in on all this blog noise, then just cancel all that complaining. just cancel it right the fuck now. because if this means the last two uncool dudes holding it down for blogs as a medium are going to be myself and Chavez… well, i just don’t want to live in that kind of a world.

also… it will never be just me and Chavez, because at least he’ll have a mandatory audience of captive Venezuelans. i have no such luck.

Malkovich and McDormand
ladies and gentlemen… your cast for Transformers 3

Malkovich/McDormand in “Transformers 3”

it’s always weird to me when quality actors end up in trashy productions; if you won’t accept John Turturro in Transformers as an example of this, maybe Pete O’Toole or John Gielgud in Caligula will work for you? anyway, apparently this is the latest casting news for the third Transformers movie:

“Michael Bay has added some quality veteran actors to Transformers 3. He has set John Malkovich and Frances McDormand to join Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox. McDormand will play a big role, the National Intelligence Director. Malkovich plays Shia’s first boss. That promises to be interesting.”

ultimately, do you know what my problem is? it’s not so much the fact that Malkovich and/or McDormand have signed on, because actors and actresses have to pay the bills. it’s not like i hold Malkovich’s participation in Con Air against him at this point. no, it’s the “to join Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox” phrase that implies they’re all equals. they are not.

Barack Obama
pictured: the only American who seems to be legitimately happy about all this health care nonsense

blah blah blah health care blah blah blah

now, i really don’t want to talk about politics: i find them either a) boring, b) annoying or, worst of all, d) the catalyst for the most annoying hyperbole of all time. and i say this as a man who loves hyperbole. and frankly, if i wanted to discuss some heated political target for the principle of being annoyed on purpose, i find all this saucy Israel-versus-Joe-Biden stuff more interesting. still, this health care thing just passed and it’s dominating the news right now, so maybe i should address the talking points i find most relevant:

a. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) made this comment: “It makes me so happy that, after 100 years, we can finally catch up with the rest of the world.” okay, even leaving aside that i don’t think this time frame is correct (the US has had worst health care than the rest of the world since 1910? really?), the fact of the matter is that even people who criticize the US don’t claim we have anything close to the worst health care in the world. what’s the purpose of this hyperbole? the bill just passed!

b. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) and the whole “baby-killer” thing: look, this whole “excited utterance” thing is getting entirely out of hand. i’m tired of modern politics for a lot of reasons, but this nonsense is fresh in my mind and so it’s the most exhausting thing for me right now. do i get hating the health care reform? yes. does it serve ANY purpose to scream out “baby-killer” (even as part of a larger phrase) while someone is talking? well, maybe it does if your purpose is to look foolish. can we just have some fucking civility? even when we disagree?

c. as always, i am really tired of the “Obama is the BEST PRESIDENT EVER” and “Obama is the WORST PRESIDENT EVER.” neither of these is true, neither of these is close to true, and please, please, please stop telling me either of these things. okay? okay.

GODZILLA HAIKU

Godzilla Haiku

some things don’t require a vast explanation. just look at that awesomeness!

okay, okay, i swear i will get to work on this running diary. maybe. we’ll see.

they tell me this “oil of gladness” cures all pains and aches

i suppose this is going to make the entire post that follows it a disappointment, but originally i was going to do one of those “running diary” things for the film the Running Man, since i have spent a surprisingly large portion of my weekend watching it and/or talking about it. and i want you to clap if you love … DYNAMO. but then i forgot to borrow the DVD i was going to borrow and the whole plan went to pot. sorry about that, guys. i guess the only thing i can do is play you a song.

wait… i can’t even do that. but i CAN find something totally ridiculous on the internet (like that “Chicago street gang business cards thing“) and make fun of it for the purposes of an article!

13 best entries in this UCLA digital library of patent medicine cards (in no order)

palatable poison for the poor
it’s worth noting that some people did have very negative opinions about patent medicines (as well as very positive opinions about alliteration)

to start with, don’t ask questions like “what are patent medicine cards” or “why does UCLA have a digital library of these things” or “why the hell is janklow reading this nonsense on his weekend when it was 60 degrees out and he could be doing something more constructive with his time,” because the answers are very obvious:
–they’re little advertisements for “medical compounds of questionable effectiveness sold under a variety of names and labels”;
–because this is (at least one of) UCLA’s special little collection(s), something most every college has. your college probably has one; my alma mater’s was some kind of “first-edition science-fiction book collection”;
–because he leads a sad, pathetic life, okay? okay. on with the list, which is in no particular order:

Castoria
i am not sure who gave these elephants this mysterious medicine… but damn, do i want me some Castoria

A. Danforth’s Great Vegetable Pain Destroyer
picture the card shows: three dogs in a basket which is sitting on top of a flowering plant.
reason why this card is awesome: not only does it cause me to first make the (presumably erroneous) assumption that this is a product meant to kill pain IN vegetables rather than a vegetable-based meant to kill human pain, but the picture is of three angry-looking dogs sitting on top of the vegetables. if the product works and kills pain, why are these dogs so angry?

Blue Ribbon Purity Ovals
picture the card shows: cardboard box packed full of glass bottles with corks and labels.
reason why this card is awesome: the product is really just something that’s supposed to keep your medicines and elixirs and what not clean and “sterile,” but come on, they’re called “purity ovals.” this is decades before we were using terms like “tamper-proof seal,” but come on, purity ovals? ridiculous. i myself would have added a tag line like “keeps your prescription bottles virginal as all get out,” but that’s me, i have to go too far with things.

Bowen’s Corn Eradicator
picture the card shows: front of card depicts a bad-dressed man standing in some sort of clinic or barber-shop; he is holding two coats in his hands. yes, you are correct in assuming this has NOTHING to do with the product in question.
reason why this card is awesome: it’s not just the totally random picture, because as we will see, this is often the case with these cards. no, it’s thanks to this inspired description: “If there is anything positively destructive to human happiness, it is corns. Men and Women suffer untold misery, and break the commandments by quoting scripture backwards from year to year because of corns. Now all this misery and breaking of the commandments can be squelched by using Bowen’s Corn Eradicator.” that’s right, it basically declares corns to be THE most unpleasant thing in the universe and furthermore warns you that corns might get you sent to hell. YES.

Castoria (Centaur Liniment)
picture the card shows: an adult male elephant (Jumbo) feeding an infant elephant (Castoria) from a bottle of Castoria (of course). related note: ELEPHANTS ARE AWESOME.
reason why this card is awesome: seriously, could we not predict that i’d put the card featuring elephants on this list? do i need an additional reason? well, just in case, let me give you one in the form of this phrase from the card: “Jumbo, too, though not a lady, follows suit and feeds the great baby, Castoria.” that’s right, he might not be a big girl, but he knows how not to kill a baby!

Dr. Thomas' Eclectric Oil
cats: always up to some random nonsense

Dalley’s Magical Pain Extractor
picture the card shows: a boy sitting on a fig leaf with a glass of champagne in his right hand, and a bottle of champagne in his left; a bird is about to take a sip from his glass of champagne. yes, “a surreal scene” is the best way to describe this.
reason why this card is awesome: given that these medicines are known for making ridiculous claims, stating that something is “magical” is less descriptive hyperbole and more of a serious (but ridiculous) claim. that said, it also claims to “cure a felon quicker than anything else known,” so either the word “felon” once meant something else, or this product can magically cure something all the power of society cannot.

Dr. Coffin’s California Medicines
picture the card shows: a bird on a limb of a tree, with a beautiful snow covered winter scene in the background. that’s right, this not only seems to have nothing to do with medicine, but also nothing to do with California.
reason why this card is awesome: because no one seems to have noticed the weirdness of someone named “Dr. COFFIN” selling any kind of medication or curative treatment or whatever else you might want to call this nonsense. plus, i don’t even know what “California medicines” means. well, okay, i gather it might mean “medicines from California”… and since this was 1885, people might have seen it as a magical wonderland of cures… so maybe i DO know what “California medicines” means.

Dr. Thomas’ Eclectric Oil
picture the card shows: cat and 5 kittens with a globe, a compass and few books; the globe reads “Dr Thomas Ecletric Oil is used all around the world.”
reason why this card is awesome: cats are never what i would call a reliable guide to anything (except maybe “torturing shrews and mice” and “shooting vomit or blood or urine on things precious to you), so the picture is random. plus, there’s the totally cheesy “eclectric” part of the product’s name. is it eclectic? is it electric? IS IT BOTH? it’s probably none of the above, really, but don’t let that realism stop you from enjoying this product.

Electric Nerve Pencil!
picture the card shows: a girl wearing a dress and cape; seriously, NONE of the “electric nerve pencil” cards seem related to the product at all.
reason why this card is awesome: well, there’s the exclamation point in the title there, and that’s pretty cool. and what the hell is an “electric nerve pencil” anyway? well, it might be a “great Japanese remedy,” but maybe you should just read the back of the card: “Back of the card advertises the electric nerve pencil as a fast cure to every kind of severe nerve pain. It has an image of what seems to be an electric device. It also gives detailed accounts of people that have used it and how it’s relieved their pains. They all claim that it’s extremely effective.” of course they do.

Ham’s “Oil of Gladness”
picture the card shows: a dog rocking a baby hanging in a basket from a tree to sleep. awww.
reason why this card is awesome: because “Oil of Gladness” is the best name for a mysterious old-school product that is supposed to miraculously solve your problems that i can think of. it also makes the excellent claim that “diseases of children yield to “Ham’s Oil of Gladness” at once,” prompting me to demand someone rub this stuff on a toddler with leukemia. oh, wait, that’s right, these products are total nonsense!

Vaseline
ooo, gold medal in 1889! in Paris!

Painfully Conscious/Blissfully Unconscious
picture the card shows: painfully conscious has a woman sitting near a fence, a man crouching near her, and a second angry woman on the other side of the fence pouring a bucket of water on the man; blissfully unconscious has a man and a woman sitting near a fence embracing while a second angry woman on the other side of the fence looks angrily at them.
reason why this card is awesome: okay, this is halfway cheating because it’s two cards, but they’re clearly related. but even better is the fact that this card seems to be implying that if you dope up your lady friends, you’ll be able to “embrace” them without some old angry lady ruining your fun. is this a little creepy? did it encourage some kind of 1870-to-1906-era date rape? there’s just no way for me to know if this card was promoting some kind of flunitrazepam-based product.

Perry Davis’ Pain Killer
picture the card shows: it’s actually a a series that, collected, show “a poetic description of heroic dominion over pain, with illustrations of knights jousting.”
reason why this card is awesome: because it’s a series that places “poetic description of heroic dominion over pain” slightly higher than, say, commentary as to the product’s effectiveness. doesn’t seem ridiculous enough? here’s a taste: “Then up spake Señor Croup, a churl bedecked with children’s scalps, “Upon my javelin’s point I’ll hurl this bumpkin high as Alps.”” i will seriously be using that phrase all the time in the future.

Ramon’s Relief
picture the card shows: a pastoral winter scene with a bird in a branch and two farmhouses in the background. that’s right, none of this seems “red hot” or anything else that’s relief-oriented.
reason why this card is awesome: and even in the description of the product, there doesn’t seem to be anything that’s “red hot” about the product. blah blah blah, it’s a “great conqueror of all pains,” it cures everything in minutes, it’s inexpensive, it’s from Tennessee, whatever. what’s with the red hot? why is it relevant if it’s so seemingly irrelevant? i demand answers! but then again, reading all these things has given me some unrealistic expectations.

Vaseline
picture the card shows: the card itself is the shape of a bottle of Vaseline. and it opens into a calendar! how useful!
reason why this card is awesome: i did not know you could take Vaseline internally until i read this card.

so that’s that; another listicle in the bag. maybe we’ll get that Running Man running diary next week? maybe? we’ll see…

“because they still believe there’s respect in dying”

this weekend has been a confusing ride of ups and downs involving firearms and out-of-nowhere car repairs (i could have sworn i was told i might end up paying for a part IF my mechanic broke it, which made total sense when i was answering the phone in bed at 8 AM, but which makes no sense at all now) and random Japanese swords and dogs with severe injuries to their tendons and financial reimbursement and, not to omit it, your hero janklow chasing a skunk around in the yard. some of this was obviously good and some of this was obviously bad (but not the skunk thing in the way you’d expect, you negative people). that all being said, none of that made me have such mixed feelings as this:

some bullet points to make this discussion easy to follow:
–janklow is (obviously) a huge fan of zombie movies and comics and all that;
–this trailer is for the upcoming George Romero film Survival Of The Dead;
–janklow can’t really seem to get excited about this, and it makes me feel… odd.

now, it’s pretty much a given that we give Romero his due for what he brought to zombie genre. Night Of The Living Dead kicked off the whole mess (undead zombies, of course; no one has real beef with I Walked With A Zombie, but i also don’t know anyone under the age of 50 who gives a shit about it either); Dawn Of The Dead is still the greatest zombie movie of all time (“he used to tell us, ‘when there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth'”); and Day Of The Dead was still completely awesome. everyone likes Bub, there’s the whole “i hope you choke on them” thing, and so on.

and as far as Romero outside of the zombie genre goes, it’s a wash:
–the Crazies was good, but also well before Dawn Of The Dead;
–Knightriders wasn’t watched by a single person i know, and possibly for good reason;
–Creepshow is not memorable, not really, and more cute than scary, anyway;
–Monkey Shines is … weird;
–the Dark Half is yet another Stephen King book that didn’t adapt well;
–Bruiser seems like Knightriders 2.0
…but then again, we care about zombie stuff with him. that’s the deal. after Day Of The Dead he took 20 years (wow, 20 years?) off from making zombie films until Land Of The Dead came out, and that’s where things get… questionable.

Asia Argento
certainly Asia Argento has NOTHING to do with our approval of this movie…

Land Of The Dead (2005): now, i liked Land Of The Dead. myself and the Irish sidekick went out excitedly to the theater to see it, and we enjoyed it. does this should like i’m making excuses for Romero? maybe, as the film isn’t GREAT and a lot of people take issue with it (as if people don’t do stupid things in ALL zombie movies or Romero is the only guy giving John Leguizamo work), but it still had great effects and you should have seen the “smart” zombie thing coming, as Romero loves that nonsense. it’s not a great film, but it was well-produced and competently directed and i think most of the bashing was simple disappointment. and yes, i will still claim this to anyone’s face even after i’ve got a few drinks in me (maybe ESPECIALLY in that case). still, there were questions.

Diary Of The Dead
there’s a solid chance that this poster is actually the best thing about this movie

Diary Of The Dead (2007): Romero was kicking around some crazy ideas (look into that ridiculous Diamond Dead concept sometime) before this film came out, so maybe –just maybe– i went into it with too much optimism. i liked Land Of The Dead, this concept wasn’t insane… and yet the execution of Diary Of The Dead seems poor. the moral in Land was weak, but i’m not even sure what it was here, and the cast and direction were of poor quality (the latter maybe only relatively, but still), and the ending was terrible. frankly, i shouldn’t be watching a George Romero movie and thinking “with enough financing, myself and the Irishman could make a better movie out of this.” we’ve had no formal training, no informal training, and no ability to focus long enough to design a good zombie movie plot. i’m not sure how i explained this film away mentally (it didn’t have a real theatrical release? the budget only allowed for so much?), but i can tell you that i don’t own it and don’t really feel like defending it.

Survival Of The Dead
tell me about it, movie poster… tell me about it

Survival Of The Dead (2009): so watch the above trailer. should i get excited about this movie? like, i should, because it’s a Romero zombie movie? yet, at this point, can i? i mean… look at that stupid fork thing: how excited can i possibly get for this? so much conflict. luckily, to improve my mood, i watched this today:

oh, Wanderlei, you are the third best Brazilian ever! crazy Schick commercials! the “8-ball” pre-fight gesture-and-glare combination! brutal, brutal stomps and knees! fantastic!

we’re pretty sure this new gun came out of a movie about space

so this time i had to go all out and get a really crazy gun, one as old as myself and with a crazy 1970s box, a plastic ray-gun look from originally being designed for select-fire, and the HK brand name:

Survival Of The Dead

seriously, how insane looking is that thing? and that’s the story of why i bought it immediately!