DID YOU READ

In Defense of “Drive Angry”

In Defense of “Drive Angry” (photo)

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Like a movie about a firefighter killing terrorists right after 9/11, or a movie called “Looters” right after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, “Drive Angry” was a victim of bad timing. Sold primarily as a 3D movie right as audiences began to tire of 3D (“SHOT IN 3D!” the trailers probably shouldn’t have boasted), on the backend of a wave of cruddy Nicolas Cage movies, it basically had no chance at the box office. And with just over $10 million in domestic receipts in the box office, less than half of Cage’s January release “Season of the Witch,” that’s exactly what it got.

I understand why people stayed away, but I’m here to tell you, “Drive Angry” is well worth a Friday night rental. It’s a saucy little exploitation picture, with a feisty, well-cast Cage as a man possessed. Remember when Nicolas Cage was the guy who played the awkward everyman nerd in action movies? And he sometimes needed Sean Connery to show him how to kick ass? Yeah, those days are long gone. Now a murdering, muscle car driving avenger from hell is about as close to an everyman as he gets. And we love him for it! Who cares if he’s 47 and slightly jowly? Who cares if his hair looks like it’s made from the stuff they sweep off the floor of the American Girl Doll Hair Salon? The man is having so much fun in this movie it’s infectious.

Cage plays John Milton, a dead man who escapes from Hell on a mission of revenge; that Cage’s character shares a name with the author of “Paradise Lost” and likes to shoot people while he’s having (fully clothed) intercourse with a barmaid, gives you a good indication of the movie’s intelligence level and temperament. Milton’s pursued by the always dependable “that guy” William Fichtner, in the leading role of a lifetime of supporting turns as The Accountant, a relentless agent of the underworld sent to return Milton to his rightful place in eternal damnation. I won’t spoil just what Milton is doing back on planet Earth, but it involves Billy Burke’s Jonah King, a religious leader who must be a bad guy because a)he walks around with a cane made out of a dead girl’s femur and b)he has a soul patch. I don’t know which one’s worse.

“Drive Angry”‘s plot has more holes than the grill of Milton’s Chevrolet Chevelle. Honestly? Who cares. The film is ludicrous and proud. Milton’s sidekick is the fetching Amber Heard, whose impossibly luxurious mane of flaxen hair maintains its shine and bounce in even the fiercest of gunfights. His nemesis casually tosses off lines like “It’d be bloody easy for me to shoot you in the throat and watch you gurgle while I eat my morning grapefruit.” And since it was shot in 3D there’s all sorts of shrapnel and bullets and spittle flying at the camera lens, even though most people will watch this movie at home in 2D (there is a 3D Blu-ray, if your home theater is equipped to handle such a thing).

I actually like the movie with 2D 3D effects. They remind me of all the schlocky formerly 3D exploitation pictures I used to watch on VHS as a kid. Releasing a 3D film in 2D strips it bare of any artistic pretense — these are carnival rides, plain and simple, and some of the attractions aren’t even working right now, so just stay in your seats until your car comes to a full and a complete stop. It also lends them a literal in-your-face attitude. A little aggressiveness is never a bad thing in an action movie.

With its gritty driving sequences, vindictive demons, and hellfire-spewing guns, “Drive Angry” is a way more satisfying adaptation of the “Ghost Rider” comic book than the “Ghost Rider” movie that Nicolas Cage was also the star of. In that case, he was required to tamp down a little bit of that Cage craziness we know and love to try to fit our notions of a super-hero. As Milton, he has noble intentions, but he’s also a bloodthirsty killer out for revenge. And without spoiling too much, that gives him license to do stuff like drink beer out of a dead guy’s skull. If that’s not your idea of a good night at home with a rented movie and some popcorn, then we have nothing left to discuss. Good night and drive safely (and angry).

“Drive Angry” is now available on DVD, Blu-ray, and 3D Blu-ray. Do you think the film got a bum rap too? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter!

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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