Down And Out In West Texas – The Terror Of Sierra Blanca Checkpoint

October 12

Fiona Apple After Hash Bust

It’s hard to know how close a friend Brian Keith Jones was to Nelly last week.  Or if he was a friend at all.  What it is possible to glean from reports however, is that he’s a damn good friend now.  And that he knows how to party.  After Nelly’s tour bus was boarded at Sierra Blanca, Jones took responsibility for ten pounds of weed, a handgun, and a little over a half ounce of horse that was broken up into easily distributable (and indictable) packets.  Nelly was detained, questioned, and subsequently released while Jones was booked on a likely harrowing list of charges.

Welcome to Sierra Blanca, Texas.  Population: Your ass.

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Movies & TV

The Innocence Of Morons – Sam Bacile & Cranked-Out Propaganda

September 14

The Innocence Of Muslims

If you find yourself with fifteen minutes to kill this evening, you can go to YouTube and pull up the video that is currently causing murder and mayhem and destruction in the Middle East this evening.  No, it isn’t Gangnam Style.  It’s that strange new cinematic sensation, Innocence of Muslims.

I’m not going to put up the link, for a number of reasons that are obvious at least to me.  I’m also going to steer clear of any type of free speech arguments, and the ethics of propaganda filmmaking in the 21st century made for the sole purpose of getting under the skin of already touchy Muslims.  In terms of quality, The Innocence of Muslims falls far below the mark set by Theo van Gogh with Submission, the intentionally provacative short film which ultimately led to Van Gogh’s decapitation.

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Up Jumped The New World Order – The New Rules of Satanism In Pop Music

August 24

Finding Forever cover art.

Before we get too far into this, I want everybody to remember that there was a time when the members of Mötley Crüe were presumed to be dangerous servants of the Devil.

I should also say that I’m relatively new to the notion of Illuminati Satanism, and that anything you read herein has been out there in some form or another for ten or more years.  If you’re pressed for time, I can save you the trouble of reading on and just tell you right now that I think the whole notion of selling one’s soul to the Devil for a few years of fame is a load of horseshit.

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Movies & TV

Thawing Mr. Freeze – The Life And Death And Life Of Schwarzenegger’s Career

August 17


The implications of resurrecting Arnold Schwarzenegger.

For the record, I voted for Gallagher.

In the Second Great American Mindfuck of the early 21st Century, also known as the 2003 California Gubernatorial Recall Election, I was one of 5,466 watermelon-hating voters who chose to throw away their vote on comedian Gallagher rather than the action star Schwarzenegger, security guard Gary Coleman, porn merchant Larry Flynt, porn star Mary Carey, sumo wrestler Kurt “Tachikaze” Rightmyer, or any of the other names on the packed page of, er, uniquely qualified candidates provided at polling places across the Golden State.

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Movies & TV

Handicapping VEGAS – Taking Bets On CBS’ 1960’s Sin City Drama

July 31


If your name is Michael Chiklis, you may not want to read this.

I’ve taken a liking to dropping giant, elephantine shits on upcoming network television premieres, particularly the high-gloss product.  I love doing it, because so much of the upper-echelon drama series fall into the Complex Realm of spent shell casings, nitrate tests, clipped dialogue, and squinty glares, and I’m kind of protective of all that stuff?

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Books & Comics

Books Punch Your Face – The Crime Midsummer Reading List

July 22

Tough guys read, too.

Eight noir novels to help fill your endless summer with a sense of overwhelming dread and paranoia.

Okay, so I’m the professor who wakes up three weeks before the end of the semester and hits everybody over the head with a pile of mandatory reading assignments that everybody has to crowbar in between midnight finals cram sessions and kegstands, but you know, only if they hope to make it out with a passing grade.

My list isn’t filled with breezy bicycle rides through rural Tuscany.  Not a happy ending in the bunch.  But let’s face it, unless you live in the fourteen square-block section of SoCal that stayed in the mid-sixties to upper seventies range this summer, you’re hiding in your goddamn house waiting for that flaming orb in the sky to duck under the horizon once and for all.

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Movies & TV

The Who, What, When, Where, And Why Of AWAKE’s Cancellation

May 19

Jason Isaacs as Michael Britten

 Or, why I’ll never be fooled by NBC again.

So, this is the last time that I will speak or write about Awake.  In fact, this might be the last time anybody issues any type of missive in regards to NBC’s most recent series cancellation.

To say that I had high hopes for Awake would be an exercise in understatement.  I’ve been slathering this show with praise since months before its premiere date was announced.  Now I will offer my reasons as to why I fell so hard for the show, and why it fell so hard once it aired.

Who is responsible for Awake‘s failure?

Well, it wasn’t my fault, that’s for goddamn sure.  And I’m pretty sure that it isn’t the fault of Kyle Killen, the series’ creator.  Killen had a novel concept for a series, which he equipped with a compelling structure.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

So who is responsible?

Jay Leno, of course.  I’m not kidding.  NBC will continue to fail in almost every attempt that it makes to take a step forward for as long as it wears the karmic albatross that is the on-again, off-again, on-again host of The Tonight Show around its neck.  Especially in the ten o’clock timeslot, where Jay staged the first wave of the coup that eventually brought him back to the job that he never really had to leave in the first place.

What kind of a show was Awake?  I went out for coffee.

Uh, yeah.  Herein lies the problem.  Awake was a cop show.  It could have been a show about forensic anthropologists or firefighters or travelling sword jugglers, but the braintrust behind the series chose to make it about a cop.

The cop is a homicide detective by the name of Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs).  At the outset of the show’s pilot episode, Britten and his family get into a car accident, after which his life is split into two alternate realities (Christ, this still sounds like a good idea, even as I’m typing this).  In one reality, only Britten and his teenage son (Dylan Minnette) survive the crash.  In the other, Britten and his wife Hannah (Laura Allen) are the survivors.  In each reality, Britten is not only consciously aware of the other, but is struggling to maintain his grip upon both.

After the pilot which, in my opinion, was the best to debut on network television since the masterful premiere episode of Lost, Britten struggles through therapy sessions that have been ordered by his superiors at the LAPD, with alternate therapists who have alternate theories as to Britten’s state of mind.

When was it all over?

Pretty damn fast.  In my opinion, you probably could have condensed the key elements of the show’s one and only season down to a hell of a Movie of the Week, if networks still tried to do that type of thing.

For me, it was all over around the beginning of Episode Four, entitled “Kate is Enough.”  In this episode, Rex flies off the handle when his buddy breaks his tennis racket.  Rex gets in a fistfight with his friend, which has to be broken up by their ultra-hot tennis instructor.

When Michael comes down to see what the problem is with his son, a quick discussion leads to the conclusion that Rex is simply having a difficult time coming to grips with the death of his mother, but it is never mentioned that poor young Rex might also be having a tough time coming to grips with the fact that he was kidnapped the week before by one of the men that Michael had worked hard to put behind bars.  That was in the prior week’s episode.  No mention of it.  After that, the series descended into a pattern of Michael using one reality to find clues to help him solve cases in the other.  The kidnapping episode turned out to be more or less disposable as far as the continuity of the show.

I call this the 24 problem.  If you track the continuity of Fox’s now-defunct 24, you will see that within the first few seasons, two seperate nuclear devices have been detonated in the state of California.  You will have to do a bit of research to confirm this piece of information, because it is never alluded to again in subsequent seasons of the series.  Two nukes.  One in Los Angeles.


Where do you plan on wallowing in shame and humiliation?

I live in Chicago, so right here, and in good goddamned company.

Seriously, I don’t feel I have anything to be ashamed of.  Sure, it might have been hyperbole to declare Awake the best series on television on the basis of a single, inspired pilot episode.  How was I to know Awake would trip all over itself by the end of its first month on the air?  You don’t wait eight weeks to write a review on a new series.  Especially if it’s on NBC.

Why did you fall so hard for Awake?

Mainly?  Because of this:

I believe this to be one of the finest examples of trailer sorcery yet produced.  Now, almost anybody who knows me will tell you that I am embarassingly susceptible to the siren cries of well-orchestrated hype.  Particularly when it involves a quiet, moody trailer.

So you can imagine that I was completely beside myself when, after a month ot two of posting and reposting the above clip, that the pilot episode managed to maintain that same level of melancholy over the course of the entire debut hour. Well, I couldn’t get to the keyboard fast enough.  Best. Show. Ever.

By the end of week two, I knew I had oversold it, and by the end of week four, I felt pretty much like an idiot.  Awake isn’t about to become the best series on television.  Awake isn’t even the best cancelled mid-season replacement series on television.

But it is cancelled, in this reality and the other.

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Movies & TV

The Ten Most Dangerous Broads In Film

April 18

It’s Ladies’ Night at the Complex.

We’ve covered a pretty broad spectrum of shady characters over the past few months around here, but with Mother’s Day coming up in a few weeks, we felt it entirely appropriate to tip our collective hats to all the wonderful women that keep us under a thin layer of sweat.  Presenting the ten meanest, craziest, and most scandalous chicks to ever set the screen on fire.

Alert: Spoilers abound.

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Movies & TV

The Ten Greatest Henchmen In Movie History

April 3

Say you’re putting together a syndicate.  One of the first things that you are going to need is somebody to take care of your light work for you when words have run out.  As a means of determining the appropriate skill set for this oh-so-important addition to your workforce, the Complex has assembled a ranking of some of the more legendary henchman ever to grace the screen.  You know, as a way to gauge some of the qualities you might be looking for.

In ranking these heavies, extra points were earned for singularity of purpose, imperviousness to pain, and skill within the realm of hand-to-hand combat.  Points were taken away for any actions tantamount to a betrayal of the henchman’s employer, or conspicuous behavior likely to cause more trouble than harm.

Here’s how they shook out.

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Movies & TV

In The Mick Of Time: 7 Best Irish-American Crime Flicks

March 17

millers crossing

There’s always something that’s just a little dirtier about Irish crime movies.  Irish movie mobsters don’t wear silk suits and don’t tip off an impending whacking with a kiss on the cheek. In fact, in most cases, it would appear that they don’t even shower.  That would require foresight and diligent planning, which are qualities not typically on display in an Irish-American crime film.

With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to tip our hats to the grand tradition of Irish thuggery in American film while we are all still coherent enough to do so.

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Movies & TV

LILYHAMMER Drops On Netflix Instant | review

February 7


I’ve been keeping an eye open for Lilyhammer since word of its over in Norway.  The complete first season of Steven Van Zandt’s sleeps-with-the-fishes-out-of-water comedy series was released onto Netflix this evening, in its eight-episode entirety.  Always here to service our faithful followers, I dove into the first episode and brought back my observations.

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Movies & TV

Is It a Crime? – A Look Ahead to NBC’s GRIMM

October 25


I’m a natural skeptic.  Not an unusual or profound thing for my generation, but that’s what I am.  In growing older, I find my tastes funneling down into increasingly ordered grooves from which I rarely stray.

So when somebody comes along with a lot of high-falutin’, amalgamative concepts, especially within the concept of network television dramas, my horseshit harpoon gun goes hair-trigger.

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