Sunday, August 30, 2009

Seagal Sunday!

Above the Raw

This is an ultra-rare Japanese poster for Steven Seagal's classic 'Above the Law'. Apparently in Japan the title is "Detective Nico" and the text translates to "The Blind Spot of the Law" (sorta 'Above the Law') and "Crime that the law can’t reach, Leave it to me!" Incredible, isn't it?

Thanls to Steven Seagal historian Vern for making me aware if it's existence. Check him out over at, it's a pretty rad site.


From the nutty guy what who brought you Superbad, Greg Mottola's Adventureland was released on DVD this past.....I think it was Friday. Anyway, I missed this in the theaters and was chomping at the bit to check it out. Mainly because Martin Starr, my best friend in the world, is in it. Martin played the role of Bill Haverchuck AKA by far the best character on the under-appreciated television set series 'Freaks and Geeks', a show that was put down before it's prime.

So Adventureland is from the wild and crazy guy what brung you Superbad. Did you hear that? He made Superbad. You all remember Superbad, right? Of course you do. You quote it all the time. All your friends saw it too. Anyway, that's the marketing strategy for this movie, which kind of seems like a crapshoot considering that the movie isn't really anything like Superbad. While Superbad did have it's tender moments, they were few, and nestled amongst "raunchy" and "wild" scenes. Adventureland is kind of the other way around, it is a very sweet and heartfelt movie. Rising star and Michael Cera-lab clone Jesse Eisenberg is James, a sweet and heartfelt kid who just graduated from college and is getting prepared for his obligatory introspective backpacking journey through Europe. I did that once, and the only thing I found out about myself is that I evidently I can speak Portugese very well when I'm blacked out drunk and face down on the ground. Which is awesome.

So James is all set for his big trip....oh yea, it's 1987. I forgot to mention that. The soundtrack is dope. So James is all set for his big trip, when his parents decide to fuck all his shit up by telling him (in a really prickish, off-handed way, too) that they are in financial straits and he can't go on his trip that he's been planning for years. Also that they don't have money to send him to graduate school at some prestigious college. I forget where he wanted to go. Anyway. They break it down to him just short of spitting in his face. James' future has been dashed on the rocks and he is broke. What to do?

Why, the same thing that we all had (have) to do. Get a shitty job at a place you hate. He applies at ADVENTURELAND, the local sweet and heartfelt carnival establishment. Run by the criminally underused Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig (swoon), Adventureland is the textbook small-town amusement park, complete with janky rollercoaster and ring-toss games and...I don't know, balloons and stuffed animals and shit. If you don't live in a small town, just think of the carnival from Big. All that stuff that they always have. James is assigned to the 'GAMES' portion of the park (he would prefer to be on 'RIDES') and he is absolutely miserable. His eye soon catches fellow 'GAMES' employee Emily (Kristen Stewart, that fucking vampire movie), the sweet and heartfelt girl-next-door, and all of a sudden he is slightly less miserable. Also working in the 'GAMES' department is Joel (Martin Starr, Bill Haverchuck AKA by far the best character on the under-appreciated television set series 'Freaks and Geeks'), the awkward and overly intelligent nerd (basically a grown up Bill Haverchuck). The three of them become fast friends and they hang out and shit.

As you may expect, what follows are the dizzying highs and terrifying lows of youth. I say 'as you may expect', but the wondrous thing about this movie is that while Greg Mottola is dancing in extremely familiar territory, none of it seems cliched. It's all very fresh and real. Love blooms, hearts are broken, friendships strained, weed smoked, breasts fondled. In one scene, James and Joel and Emily are eating pot cookies at Adventureland, and the presence of Bill Hader (his boss) forces him to eat more of his cookie than he originally wanted, as he doesn't want to arouse suspicion. At this moment I was terrified it was going to go the cliche Hollywood route, the path where the writers clearly have never done a drug in their lives, and show James running around the park naked with a lampshade on his head screaming gibberish. That's now how that shit works. Instead, the film cuts to James and Emily and Joel all driving bumper cars and having the best time of their lives. That scene was so honest, possibly my favorite scene of the movie.

That is, my favorite scene NOT featuring Lisa P. Lisa P is the local turbo slutty 80's bitch with the cold 80's slut fashion sense and the amazing little plump 80's slut booty. She is a revelation. She is apparently played by actress Margarita Levieva, who is my new stalking victim. See you soon, my love!

Oh my.

Adventureland is sweet and heartfelt, honest and real (sometimes painfully so), and occasionally something special. I eagerly await Greg Mottola's next film, I also wonder if it's title will be two words put together to make one word. It can be like his Apu Trilogy.

Friday, August 28, 2009



RIP Helen Levitt

I'm not much of a photography aficionado but I knows what I likes and I likes Helen Levitt. Born in Brooklyn in 1913 Levitt began her career as a commercial photographer early after dropping out of high school and continued taking pictures of life on the streets of New York City for over 70 years. Monday would have been her 96th birthday.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Michael Mann's Thief..

I finally made a point to see Michael Mann's debut feature, Thief, starring James Caan, the kindly old theater owner from Last Action Hero, and Tangerine Dream. Caan plays Frank, an expert safecracker who learned everything from his buddy and mentor, Willie Nelson, who is locked away in the big house. Frank doesn't take shit from anybody, and he lets you know it. His right hand man is Barry, played by John Belushi (K-9). Together they take big scores like it's no thing, because they are just that good at safecracking. Frank meets a pretty dame who he likes a lot and nothing can possibly go wrong.

Of course, nobody can shine as brightly as Frank does in the underground world of thief-ery without being noticed by the top brass of organized crime. Leo the Mafia Boss (Robert Prosky, Last Action Hero) recruits Frank to work directly for him, which (as you may expect from a brash hothead like every character that James Caan has ever played) sorta conflicts with his lone wolf tendencies.

Anyway, I'm not going to ruin the good stuff, but shit goes down like you might expect shit to go down in a Michael Mann flick, that is, blood, treachery, and slammin synth beats. As I mentioned before, Tangerine Dream is one of the stars of the film. They do some of their best work here. Don't go in expecting to be blown away though, as from what I hear the soundtrack is one of the things people hate most about this movie. It's an acquired taste, to be sure, but I go crazy for it. You just have to put yourself in the mindstate of 1981. Do drugs, if you have to.

Speaking of the time period, Michael Mann's direction is so advanced for '81. The extreme close-up zooms into the inner workings of safe locks is just cool as any of the wild tricks David Fincher has done, years before he had even considered that he might one day direct a Madonna video. The extreme darks of Mann's nighttime shots, the glowing city lights, you can totally see why he would eventually begin to work exclusively with digital cameras. I can't imagine seeing this movie when it first came out. My mind would have been blown.

So anyway, Thief gets my highest recommendation. If you don't like bad-ass shit, don't see this movie.


If I have a spirit animal it is a human. This human in regal...


Illustrations by James Johonnot. Amazing stuff.

ants dancing





Happy Birthday!

As I'm sure you are aware today is the great Paul Reubens' birthday. I'm going to come right out and say that Mr "Pee-Wee" Reubens is a true American hero. Not only has he educated the youth of this great country about the dangers of accepting rides from strangers with his "Large Marge" parable, he also taught us the value of cognizant furniture, that disembodied heads are wise and benevolent and that purple clad cowboys with bad ass jerry curls make the best companions. Oh and that shouting at the top of your lungs when a random, preordained "word of the day" is said is fucking hilarious and always appropriate. I would like to personally thank the man, because if it weren't for him I likely would have begun smoking crack years ago...

Thanks for everything Paul. Happy 57th Birthday you weirdo.

On the outstanding benefits of using the internet.

Choosing an internet is an intensely personal and intimate decision. There are so very many internets out there to choose from! The possibilities make the mind swim and the genitals moisten. To begin one's search for the proper internet it is important to be in touch with oneself. Who are you really? Do you desire credible news sites, or perhaps informative websites concerning pornographic treatises, or do you perhaps crave something a bit more arcane? And draconian? Antiquated and baffling? Bigoted and generally discredited? Simpering and emotional? Out of touch and brutally self conscious? Sitting outside the house with a large blade waiting to tickle the insides of the brain with effervescent scrutiny? Here at the laboratories of Dr. Professor Yamoto we pride ourselves. Mostly it is a good thing and the realities that we insinuate are of the most important textures. Grisly underbone and wild huckleberry cordial. I, for one, think this internet suits me just fine. In the future we may be able to force people to read the internet, and I believe that the more people we can force to do anything helps further the development of a truly grandiose society. I sit and hope. One day the world will be nothing but a series of checklists, checked and double-checked by men dressed not unlike Mormon missionaries, with lupine grin included. As a huge fan of regimented behavior, and lists of any variety, I long for these bright new days. Happy lists of daily events and schedules...Did this one shave? That one shower? Those ones leave misused tissues under the couch? The world will be a cleaner and more appropriate environment for the cultivation of art and theory. The cynical voice of the past will step aside in favor of a new voice, filled with accuracy and effeciency. Each man will be equipped with a notepad and a very nice pen. With these instuments he will be able to keep his head above water. These tools may even connect to the mandatory internet information services with the neccesary literature for the youngsters to study. It will all be available and the world will be so much better for it. For now, while choice still hinders the discussion, you can find the atmosphere of this thrilling future right here on this internet! So glorious! I am in favor of anything that involves Mormon missionaries, those guys are alright. Enjoy!


Regarding Arnold.

So this new Sylvester "Sly" Stallone film coming out soon, The Expendables, will have Arnold Schwarzenegger making a cameo as a retired Lieutenant General of the Expendables (the loose-cannon, renegade team of mercenary renegades who, incidentally, don't play by the rules). Many third-grade recess pontifications will soon be realized: Rambo and The Terminator, teamed up at last.

Unfortunately, it's a cameo. It's better than nothing, but I'd love to see Arnold in another starring role, his granite visage plastered on billboards all around town. Which got me thinking: Does Arnold have one more great action movie left in him? He'll be run out of California on a rail soon, so his schedule will be wide open. Recently, Tom Arnold, in a cocaine-fueled frenzy (I'm assuming) mentioned that he was teaming up for True Lies 2 with James Cameron at the helm, once Arnold's political stint has wrapped. James Cameron quickly shot that down as poppycock and hogwash. Did Tom Arnold spill some beans that Jim didn't want spilled? Or was he, in all likeliness, zooted on a plethora of drugs and just blabbering?

If James Cameron is too busy pilfering silverware from the Titanic, I say we bust John McTiernan out of Director Jail and let him get loose again. The world will never see another action hero like Arnold again, ever. It frightens me to think that "kids these days" probably haven't even seen an Arnold movie in the theaters. All they know is Vin Diesel and....I dont know...Nick Cannon or somebody. Whoever is 'in' right now.

Arnold needs one last glorious moment in the spotlight, as the unmovable destroyer of worlds that we all know him to be. This recent Twitter video he made, where he inexplicably brandishes a giant hunting knife before talking budget cuts, made me realize that he's still got it.

Can't you picture him gutting a South American warlord with that thing, then turning to the camera to deliver some kind of glib comment? I can. "KNIFE doing business vit you." Jesus, these things write themselves.

Mid morning snack...

It's getting toward breakfast time and I'm feeling a might peckish. Luckily I found a great recipe for barbecuing a cow's head. Whole. Don't forget to "cut the cheek meat away from the head"!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Welcome to the strange world of Dr. Professor Yamoto's Department of Grievances, Concerns and Observances! Here you will find a non-stop flood of rambling nonsense from courteous professional gentleman in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. The key word is class, people. The mission of our goal is to plan for the dream of our commitment to strive for the vocation of our undertakings, and take wing. Plus we'll probably post pictures of cool shit too, I guess. So sit back and let our words grope your body and our views offend your sensibilities. Don't fight it. Make yourselves at home!