Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Viewings of 2011

For the first time in my life, I viewed 365 films in 365 days. Film #365 (I Saw The Devil) finished with ten minutes to spare, even. Pathetic/Amazing, right? Here's some thoughts about the past 365 films/days.

365 Viewings. 204 First Time Viewings.

Top 10 Films Released in 2011:

10. Paul
9. Stake Land
8. Red Hill
7. Red State
6. Hesher
5. Insidious
4. X-Men: First Class 
3. Tucker and Dale Versus Evil
2. I Saw The Devil
1. Black Death

Top 10 First Time Viewings in 2011 (non-2011 releases):
10. Let Them Know: The Story of Youth Brigade and BYO Records
9. The King of Kong
8. Buried
7. Dead Silence
6. Let Me In
5. Welcome To Spring Break
4. Hard Ticket To Hawaii
3. Catfish
2. Night of the Demon
1. The Wild Hunt

Looking Back On The Last 365

2011 is, as people say, "one for the books". This year has been… Hmm. I'm not exactly sure how to finish that sentence. Yes, there's a plethora of words to choose from, and while they would fit the part, they wouldn't entirely do justice. Looking back at the year, and everything that has happened, I'm not sure there's any other way to say than to just tell it like is.

This has been one hell of a fucking year.

I woke up on January 1, 2011 no longer co-owning a business I ran for the previous two years, plus some. No doubt about it, this was the best way for me to start off the year. The time spent with this business, while successful in many aspects, was also the darkest days of my life. I was in a bad place. Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, creatively… To put it bluntly, this time broke me. It shattered who I was. It wasn't pleasant and wasn't how I wanted to spend my time. After much internal debates and struggles, I knew what I had to do, and there was no doubt about it. I needed to wash my hands clean and regain my life. 

By stepping away from my business, that allowed me to spent 100% of my time working on Dead Weight, the film I co-wrote/directed with one of my best buddies, Adam. Now, I could go into a detailed breakdown of how I spent my time, and go on and on about the experience it's been making Dead Weight, that would undoubtedly get stupidly wordy. Let's just say this, for the first time in my life, I feel like I am doing what I am meant to do. Yes, I have long days, get burnt out and frustrated, but when I step back and assess my situation, I am doing what I've dreamt of my entire life, making a full length film, and there aren't words to describe that feeling. Without a doubt, the worst days I've had while doing what I love are still better than the best days doing what your heart isn't in. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Sounds of 2011

Top 10 Records of 2011:
10. Star Fucking Hipsters - From The Dumpster To The Grave
9. Weird Al Yankovic - Alpocalypse
8. Banner Pilot - Heart Beats Pacific
7. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Magic of Youth
6. Citizen Fish - Goods
5. Andrew Jackson Jihad - Knife Man
4. Cobra Skulls - Agitations
3. Dead To Me - Moscow Penny Ante
2. Swingin' Utters - Here, Under Protest
1. The Holy Mess - Self Titled

Didn't Quite Make The Cut:
The Dead Milkmen - The King In Yellow
Direct Hit! - Domeplitter
Ellwood - Lost in Transition
Have Nots - Proud
Juicehead - How To Sail A Sinking Ship
Larry and His Flask - All That We Know
Samiam - Trips
Tenement - Napalm Dream
The World/Inferno Friendship Society - The Anarchy and The Ecstasy

Should Have Been Better:
Big D & The Kids Table - For The Damned, The Dumb & The Delirious
Bomb The Music Industry - Vacation

Biggest Waste of Money. AKA Why The Fuck Am I Still Buying Their Stuff?:
The Misfits - The Devil's Rain

Most Enjoyable (Non-Typical) New Discovery of 2011:
Timber Timbre - Creep On Creepin On

Non-2011 Music
Revisiting Records I Wasn't Super Into Years Ago But Now They Rule:
Animal Chin - 20 Minutes From Right Now
Avoid One Thing - Self Titled and Chopstick Bridge

Didn't Hear These Until 2011 And They're Awesome:
Discount - Half Fiction
The Distillers - Coral Fang
P.O.Box - In Between The Lines
Pinhead Gunpowder - Compulsive Disclosure 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

31 Days of Horror

For the second year in a row, I've issued a challenge through Oshkosh Horror called 31 Days of Horror. The goal is quite simple: watch 31 (full-length) horror movies in the month of October, with at least 11 of those being first time viewings. Sounds easy, right? It's essentially one movie a day. Well, have you ever tried to watch 31 movies in a month? It's much more difficult that one would expect. Last year was the first time I successfully watched 31 horror flicks in October (been trying it for a while before I started 31DoH). This year, not only did I survive, but then some.

The following entries reflect on the movies I watched in October (all in the order I viewed them), and feature my thoughts about the good, bad, weird, boring, and gory. Hope you enjoy. 

1. Slumber Party Massacre 3
Seen it once before, have watched the first two entries much, much more. Was good to go back and revisit. However, this is the least enjoyable of the series for me. This is going to sound absurd, but one of the reasons I don't enjoy it as much is because it's the most solid film of the three. The story plays out fairly well, and is less campy than the other two. With that said, it's not exactly what I want to see in a Slumber movie. Sure, you still get plenty of blood, gratuitous nudity, ditzy girls, and power tool mayhem, but this one is a little more serious. 

2. Isolation - 1st Viewing
As the end credits hit, I said out loud. "Well, that wasn't fucked up at all". This kind of thing doesn't happen too much anymore, or so it seems, but I can honestly say I've never seen anything like Isolation before. Genetic testing on cows goes wrong, and chaos ensues. I'd label this one as a creature feature packed with a fair share of suspense and tension, which surprised me since the creature is completely absurd (not saying what it is to avoid spoilers). On paper, Isolation would sound campy and cheesy as fuck, but the execution is the exact opposite. One thing that was fucking AWESOME was the score. Seriously, the best aspect of the film. The score is completely solid, creepy, atmospheric and really takes Isolation to a higher level.

3. Bikini Girls On Ice - 1st Viewing
There are plenty of titles I stay away from based on the title and/or cover art. Especially a lot of the newer (within the last five or six years) low-budget slasher flicks. I love slasher films, a lot, actually, but these films never really seem to deliver. With that said, every great now and then a film comes out, even though I'm confident it won't be worth it, I have to see it. Enter Bikini Girls on Ice. I saw the ad in Fangoria or Rue Morgue, and I was duped. The title was just too ludicrous not to see it. 

Well, the title doesn't lie, folks. This is 81 minutes of girls in bikinis. Hell, it only takes about seven seconds for the first bikini clad girl to show up. This first bikini girl is kind of a mystery. See, the story follows a group of college girls on their way to a bikini car wash, when their bus breaks down in front of an abandoned car wash. Rightfully so, they decide to set up the car wash there. The first girl, well, she is driving down the road at night in a bikini, and then stops at the gas station for directions. There is absolutely no indication of why she is a bikini. Guess it's just common knowledge that girls do in fact wear bikinis all the time. So, yeah. Bikini car wash, abandoned gas station, unexplained killer mechanic named Moe… that sums this one up. Hardly any blood/gore in this, which was a real let down. A few of the kills we brutal, but we don't see anything. The actor who played Moe (don't really care to look him up, I suppose) did a pretty good job, actually. He grunted a lot which was weird (and even dry humped a fridge), but he had great body language and a good look to him, shame that everything else sucked. Oh, and to the two male leads: Good job guys, even with your foreign accents slipping in your dialogue constantly, I really almost believed you were American.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Two Minutes and Six Seconds of the Past Two Years of My Life

Just over two years ago, I started co-writing a script with my great buddy, Adam. In April of this year, we filmed for ten days. We then shoot the remaining three and a half days in August. This past Saturday, October 1st, we premiered the full trailer and a photo exhibit, featuring twenty-five of Mary Manchester's gorgeous photos of production. A lot of time, energy, commitment, and dedication went into this film, all from the best individuals I have ever been honored working with.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is Dead Weight.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Alright, Michael Diliberti, I have a bone to pick with you. But first, let me put on my nerd glasses and push them up the bridge of my nose.

I went to the theater this evening to see your first screenplay on the big screen, 30 Minutes or Less. For your first film, I say good work. There were some very funny moments, mostly courtesy of one, Aziz Ansari. Overall, the humor was mediocre at best, but it did shine from time to time. I did indeed laugh like a moron at the John McClane reference at the end of the film. Nice touch. Although, since we are on the topic of references, there are two I need to address.

During the introduction of Danny McBride's character, Dwayne, we see him and Travis (played by Nick Swardson) watching Friday the 13th Part 3: 3D. They then proceed to act as if they are tag teaming Jason, with all sorts of humping and other man love. This is not where the problem lies. The problem is what Dwayne says after his dad, Fred Ward (nice casting!), turns off the movie. In the scene from Friday 3D, we see Jason walking around the barn with Shelly's hockey mask on, which, we all know, takes place in the third act. Upon the movie getting turned off, Dwayne yells at his dad something about missing "3D boobies". I'm sorry, but there are no boobies on screen that follow Jason in the barn. I am unsure of what you were trying to do here, make Dwayne look like an idiot, or assume that no horror fans would be watching your film? Or maybe you figured no one would notice, and if they did, care even. Well, time for you to meet John Pata. Failed horror reference #1.

You know, after thinking about it, maybe you aren't to blame here. Perhaps what Friday 3D scene to show was up to the director, Ruben Fletcher. One might never know who made the mistake, not that it truly matters.

Let's skip ahead a few scenes, now we have Dwayne and Travis holding Nick (Jesse Eisenberg) captive, who is tied up and has duck tape over his mouth. After the tape is removed, Nick begins to yell for help. Dwayne taunts Nick, telling him to yell all he wants, no one will hear him. Dwayne then goes on to say, "It's like space, no one can hear you scream. Just like that movie, Aliens." [Enter tire screeching sound here] I'm sorry, did I just hear Aliens? Plural, right? Oh, Michael. Once again, everyone knows that Aliens tagline is "This Time There's More", and the original Alien features the tagline, "In Space No One Can Hear You Scream". You were so close, just had one too many letters at the end of the title. Failed horror reference #2.

Now, let me close by saying that I by no means intend for this to come off like I'm this high and mighty film prick, who is criticizing everyone's work. That's not the case. Really, in the grand scheme of things, I am drawing attention to how ridiculous and almost pathetic I am for picking up on things like this. I mean seriously, how many people noticed when Donnie goes to see The Evil Dead in Donnie Darko, there are screams coming from the screen that aren't even in The Evil Dead?

Anyone? Anyone? Sigh…

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Father, The Spaghetti Yeti

Seven years ago today, I sat next to my dad and held his hand as he died.

Talk about a pisser, huh? That's one hell of a way to start a blog.

It's hard to believe it's been seven years. Part of me feels like it's been longer, and at the same time, I feel like it hasn't been that long. Seven years can be a hell of a long time. So much has happened in the past seven years. Not seeing or talking to someone for that amount of time can be hell. Seeing how I'm now 27, that's a quarter of my life without having my dad. A quarter of my life not being able to hear his lame jokes, not seeing him play air drums to the Moody Blues, hear his louder than life snoring, and see that damn smile of his that never left his face.

How is it even possible that my dad has been gone for seven years? As years go by, wounds heal, and it becomes easier to deal with the loss. Even though this is true, one thing doesn't change: this fucking sucks.

My dad was diagnosed with chronic malignant leukemia in 1995, when I was in sixth grade. It was his birthday and he cooked himself a big ass steak. An hour or so later, he had some pain in his abdomen. We all contributed it to dinner, something must not have agreed with him. After a couple more hours passed by, the pain was still there and even growing. So, off to the hospital we went. Believe it or not, this was not my dad's first trip to the hospital on his birthday. My dad had snake bitten luck his whole life, always had some sort of health complication. His track record for his birthday wasn't the best, either. It seemed that something always had to happen, so he somewhat dreaded his birthday. Anyway, as it turned out, a gull bladder stone was the cause of the pain, to which they had to remove his gull bladder. Hey, that's not so bad, right? Well, a simple operation turned our lives into something we never expected.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems

To be honest, I have had such a serious love/hate relationship with music over the last 6-8 years. Maybe even more. Music has been one of the biggest aspects of my life for well over 15 years now. I don't even want to think about how much money I have spent on music in my life. Between records, shows, shirts... ugh. The number would probably make me so depressed. Although, it is money well spent. I need music in my life.

How could I hate something that I need in my life? Well, over time, things change. One of those things is music. Not necessarily the music I like, but music as an entity. Bands change, shows change, tastes change, scenes changes... that's just how it goes. For many of years, I was going to shows 3-4 times a month, sometimes more. In the last six years, I've been lucky to get to one show a month.

What the hell happened?

There's many possible answers to this, all of which would be appropriate. However, one answer really stands out: Shows. Shows now aren't what they used to be for me. Did I get burnt out on shows? Are there not as many bands currently playing that I like? Are there no shows in the area that interest me? Did most of the venues get shut down? Do I think crowds suck at shows now? Does not having a car prevent me from seeing the shows I want to? To answer all of these, yes. There's been bands I've seen in recent years, bands I am really into, that I've left the show feeling unfulfilled. Majority of the time, it wasn't the band's fault. It was something with me. Something was lacking, something was missing.

All that changed in December, though. December 10, 2010 to be exact.

Braving some ultra shitty Wisconsin weather, I made my way (in a mighty fine rental car) to Madison, to see my good friend, Leah, and check out The Queers. Somehow, I managed to never see The Queers. I can recall all the times I missed them, though. Feeling like I had to see them before they call it quits, this worked out really well. Plus, it was at The Frequency, a venue I've never been to previously.

Don't know if it was something in the air, the PBRs I had, the company I was with, or some other magical bullshit (perhaps ka), but the show was outstanding. The Frequency was this tiny, dark venue, the kind of place I want to see a punk rock show at, and The Queers were way more solid than I expected. Flat out, the show rocked. I felt good, the show felt good. I have not been to a show like that in a long time, and have not enjoyed a show like that in even longer.

Needless to say, when I found out Dead To Me and Off With Their Heads (two bands I've been really into over the last few years, and have never seen live) were playing at The Frequency, I was fucking pumped. And now, the show is tomorrow night, and I am so damn excited. It feels great to get this excited about a show, I missed this feeling.

Sadly, I will have to miss Friday Fright Night, but it is for good reasons. This is what I will be doing. And all I have to say is: Fuck. Yes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

They've Got Me By The Throat

This marks the beginning of my days as a blogger. Sure, we have a blog for Dead Weight, which I do post on quite regularly, but this is the beginning of my personal blog. In other words: Shit's about to get real.

With that said, I live a pretty simple life. I spend a lot of time with music, (horror) movies, comic books, and being on my bicycle. Chances are, that's what the majority of this blog will be dedicated to. However, my interests aren't limited to what I just mentioned. Who knows what the hell I am going to ramble about on here. The only way to find out is by coming along for the ride. Since I don't have pegs on my bike, you'll have to ride on the handlebars.

As Ray Arnold once said, "Hold onto your butts."

Your Mother Ate My Dog