Ezra’s Spooktober 2018 – Year Of The King

Posted 25 Oct 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead 

As always, I’m far from finished watching scary movies for the month of October, and we won’t be covering everything I’ve watched this month, for the sake of your time and my sanity. In brief, I’ve caught up on some classic franchise entries (Stepfather IIDamien: Omen IIHalloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers), checked out some newer gems like this year’s The Endless and Terrifier, and revisited some old favorites, including five generally less-loved Stephen King adaptations, which is what we’re going to focus on here.

Stephen King’s Children of the Corn (1984) is not exactly a critically beloved film, but it has managed to spawn eight sequels and a 2009 TV-movie, which is pretty impressive considering the original short story that started it all runs about thirty pages in total. Meanwhile, King’s Dark Tower series, a sprawling saga that runs well over 4,000 pages, got a disappointing 90-minute film adaptation last year. As William Goldman (screenwriter of, among many others, Misery and Dreamcatcher) famously said regarding Hollywood decision-making, “Nobody knows anything.” Anyway, in this writer’s opinion, Children of the Corn is a very enjoyable B-movie worth revisiting, especially for all the scenes that really forefront the very creepy kids. Courtney Gains is especially fun to watch as Malachi, he of the most hateful face in all of cinema. Just look at that scowling bastard up there. Awesome.  Read More

Sorry To Bother You – A Fascinating Mess

Posted 28 Jul 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead 

Sorry to Bother You, USA, 2018

Written and Directed by Boots Riley

It is often lamented by casual movie fans that “Hollywood has run out of ideas.” In fact, the seeming lack of originality in the mainstream movie pool has more to do with a fear of taking chances on those new ideas, which certainly do exist. Why gamble when you can pretty much guarantee a huge opening weekend with a sequel to, or adaptation of, an already beloved existing property? With that in mind, it’s rather amazing that this debut feature from writer-director Boots Riley, a founding member of legendary Hip-Hop group The Coup, ever got greenlit. I mean this in both a good way – because Sorry to Bother You is full of original ideas, sharp satire, and great performances – and in a somewhat more negative way, because it often feels so overstuffed with interesting concepts that it can’t possibly come together as a wholly satisfying, coherent narrative.  Read More

Surprise Dinosaurs! Can Make Any Movie Better

Posted 14 Jul 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead

On the cult-classic two-season animated sitcom The Critic (R.I.P.), one of the half-dozen or so fake movie clips recycled in the opening credits throughout the series depicts a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers-style black-and-white ballroom dancing scene suddenly interrupted by a full-color Tyrannosaurus Rex devouring the dancing couple. The show’s protagonist, Jay Sherman (voiced by Jon Lovitz), responds with his usual catchphrase (“It stinks!”), but every time this particular clip comes up, I can’t help but think he’s dead wrong about it. That would clearly be one of the greatest movies ever made, because nothing can improve literally any movie like the sudden, unexpected appearance of a prehistoric creature or two. In other words: surprise dinosaurs!  Read More

Diary Of A Serial Killer – Through The Eyes Of A Busey

Posted 03 Apr 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead 

Diary of a Serial Killer, USA, 1998

Directed by Joshua Wallace

Right from the opening frame of the 1998 straight-to-video thriller Diary of a Serial Killer (also known as Rough Draft), it’s obvious the viewer is in for a cheesy affair. The score, with its heavy saxophone wailing and bombastic drum-machine track, feels more like something from the ’80s rather than the late ’90s, and the rest of the movie feels the same way. Our protagonist, Nelson Keece (Gary Busey) is introduced dressed in drag that is, while certainly not convincing, enough to render the distinctive-looking actor practically unrecognizable. In fact, he actually seems to be enjoying these early scenes more than the rest of the movie, and it almost makes you wonder if maybe he chose this project out of bitterness that he wasn’t included in the cast of To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, alongside his Point Break co-star Patrick Swayze (and his Drop Zone co-star Wesley Snipes).  Read More

The 4 Most Essential Gangster Movies For Understanding Rap Lyrics

Posted 27 Mar 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay

By Ezra Stead 

More than any other type of songwriting, rap lyrics are peppered with pop culture references, from movies to cars to sports to fashion to other rap songs. Of the movie references, no genre is more popular than the gangster movie (the most popular non-gangster movie references are probably The MatrixStar Wars and, thanks mainly to the Wu-Tang Clan, various kung fu movies). The classic gangster movie narrative of rising to great power from humble means via violent crime and the drug trade has a special resonance with many of the great canonical rappers of Hip-Hop’s Golden Age who found a similar path via rapping about the violent crime and drug trade that they either witnessed in the streets or, in many cases, actively participated in. Beyond that, violent crime has an undeniable entertainment value, whether in movies or in music. Once you’ve seen these four movies, you’ll have a lot better understanding of the references in rap lyrics, though I can’t really help you with the sports, car, or fashion ones.  Read More

MIDG 5th Annual Oscars Predictions Podcast For The 90th Academy Awards

Posted 26 Feb 2018 — by Jason A. Hill
Category Film Industry News, Film Reviews, Hollywood Beat, Movies I Didn't Get, Movies I Got

Hosted by Alan Tracy with special guests: Jason A. Hill and Ezra Stead.

 

The MIDG Oscars Podcast, 2017 edition.

Oscar discussion and predictions for the show Sunday night, March 4th, on ABC.

 

 

 

Duration: Part 1: 1 Hour, 5 Min. / Part 2: 1 Hour, 58 Min.

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Ezra’s Top 10 Favorite Movies Of 2017

Posted 24 Feb 2018 — by Ezra Stead
Category Essay, Film Reviews, Movies I Didn't Get

By Ezra Stead 

These choices don’t get any easier to make year after year, but I do become increasingly more aware of just how inconsequential they really are. I certainly hope no one reading this takes my opinions any more seriously than I do. Anyway, this year I managed to see 125 new releases, so this top ten plus the 20 constitutes roughly the top 25% of all that I saw. Just know that I really liked even more movies than that, which might account for all the superhero and/or “space battle” movies you might be shaking your fist at me for not including. I’ve also included my three least favorite movies of 2017 at the end, because life’s too short to not make fun of bad movies. Let’s do this thing!  Read More