Category: Humor

“The Mummy” (1999) Trivia That May Surprise You!

Todd Gilchrist at Mental Floss came up with some surprising trivia about the 1999 reboot of The Mummy which he calls Unwrapping 16 Facts About The Mummy.  Before you click over, here are three of my favs and my thoughts on each…

FILMMAKERS SPENT MANY YEARS TRYING TO REVIVE THE MUMMY.  (While I did know this, I wasn’t aware that at one point George (Night of the Living Dead) Romero was recruited to write and direct the reboot. – Craig)

AT ONE POINT, DANIEL DAY-LEWIS WAS BEING EYED TO PLAY THE MUMMY.  (While I could see Day-Lewis playing the Brendan Fraser role, would the producers really wanted Daniel Day Lewis as the Mummy?  He’d be, uh, under wraps for most of the film! – Craig)

STEPHEN SOMMERS WON UNIVERSAL OVER WITH HIS CONTEMPORARY APPROACH. (Writing Rick O’Connell as an Indiana Jones-type character and adding in the humor was genius! – Craig)

Interestingly enough, I didn’t care for The Mummy (1999) but greatly enjoyed the sequel, The Mummy Returns (2001). 

“Lucy and Desi” Directed by Amy Poehler – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

This is the Lucy and Desi story that I want to see!

From director Amy Poehler, Lucy and Desi explores the unlikely partnership and enduring legacy of one of the most prolific power couples in entertainment history. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz risked everything to be together. Their love for each other led to the most influential show in the history of television, I Love Lucy.

RIP: Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman, writer, director and producer, died in his sleep on February 12th at the age of 75.  No cause of death was been given.

Ivan Reitman is best known for directing the megahit Ghostbusters, but he also directed 24 other films including: Meatballs, Stripes, Twins and Kindergarten Cop.  Mr. Reitman also served as a producer on over 60 films including: National Lampoon’s Animal House, Ghostbusters, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and Beethoven to name just a few.

I first became aware of Ivan Reitman because of his involvement with Animal House.  A year later I saw Meatballs, my favorite Ivan Reitman directed film, on it’s initial release.  It’s interesting that Ivan Reitman got his start producing low budget horror films like Cannibal Girls, Shivers, The House by the Lake and Rabid (directed by David Cronenberg and starring Marilyn Chambers) before he found his sweet spot with comedies.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ivan Reitman’s family, friends and fans.

THE DEVIL’S OWN PISS AND OTHER STORIES by Whiskey Leavins / Z-View


The Devil’s Own Piss and Other Stories by Whiskey Leavins

Trade Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Independently published (April 12, 2021)

First sentence…

The Devil, or should I say, a devil, needed a double-thirteen to win.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Let’s start with The Devil’s Own Piss and Other Stories‘ very cool cover.  If you see that cover art and don’t pick up the book for a closer look, then stop reading this now and go get your eyes checked.  Rafael Andres from CoverKitchen. please take a bow!

Thankfully, the stories in The Devil’s Own Piss and Other Stories are worthy of such a cool cover.  There are over 30 tales populated by Lucifestus and other devils, the dangerous Troupe Brothers, movie stars, influencers, space aliens, regular folks, famous folks from history and many others.  You won’t find everyone in every tale, but often the stories overlap.  What they do have in common is humor.

My favorite stories involved Lucifestus.  He’s an honest-to-goodness, well, maybe not goodness, but he is a devil.  Lucifestus is huge, red and barrel-chested.  He sports a pointy goatee and a blue-black slicked back ducktail.  Oh, and he has these huge horns.  You won’t see his real appearance unless he wants you to.  He could be sitting right next to you in a bar and you’d see a dude that looks like Tom Waits.  Lucifestus is a hard-drinker, who loves to gamble so he’s often found in bars or racetracks.  He doesn’t cheat, and offers tempting wagers for everything from something that would humiliate the loser to the loser’s soul.  I loved every tale with Lucifestus and am ready for more.

The other tales are funny and a nice change of pace.  As the cover indicates, The Devil’s Own Piss and Other Stories is definitely an R-Rated Book.  If you’re easily offended, then this isn’t for you.  I loved it.  Whiskey Leavins is the guy you’d want to buy a few beers (and I don’t drink) and wait for the stories to flow.

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“Vampires vs the Bronx” / Z-View

Vampires vs the Bronx (2020)

Director: Oz Rodriguez

Screenplay:  Blaise Hemingway (story by Oz Rodriguez)

Starring:  Jaden Michael, Gerald Jones III, Gregory Diaz IV, The Kid Mero, Sarah Gadon, Method Man, Shea Whigham, Chris Redd and Zoe Saldana.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Four young friends discover a vampire nest in their neighborhood.  Who would believe that?  No one.  So it falls to the kids to wipe out the blood suckers.

Vampires vs the Bronx is much better than you might think.  That’s due to a combination of the casting, the direction and right mix of horror/humor.  The four lead kid actors are well written and just plain likeable.  The same can be said for the neighborhood adults.  The kids parents don’t come off as adults typically found in kid comedies.  The director provides some cool touches such as a vampire’s hand slowly reaching unseen for a kid, a vampire slowly rising up behind a victim,  There’s a subplot about people moving out of the neighborhood thanks to a corporation buying up property that works well with the story.

I thought that Vampires vs the Bronx would be fun based on the trailer, but I was surprised at how much I liked it.  If they could get the cast, writer and director back, I’d love to see the kids in a sequel with more monsters.  Vampires vs the Bronx earns 4 of 5 stars.

RIP: Howard Hesseman

Howard Hesseman, actor and comedian, has died at the age of 81 of complications from colon surgery.  Best known for his starring roles on WKRP in Cincinnati and in Head of the Class, Mr. Hesseman has over 150 credits on his acting resume.

Howard Hesseman alternated between roles on television and feature films.  In addition to the tv shows mentioned, some of Mr. Hesseman’s major television appearances included roles on The Andy Griffith Show, Sanford and Son, The Bob Newhart Show, Soap, One Day at a Time, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, That ’70s Show, Boston Legal and Fresh Off the Boat.  Some feature film appearances include: Billy Jack, The Sunshine Boys, Silent Movie, The Jerk, and Heat.

Surprisingly, I never watched WKRP in Cincinnati or Head of the Class.  I still enjoyed seeing Howard Hesseman whenever he appeared in a tv show or movie.  I first saw (and remembered him from) Billy Jack.  Mr. Hesseman always made whatever show or movie he was in funnier.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Howard Hesseman’s family, friends and fans.

The Sunshine Boys (1975) / Z-View

The Sunshine Boys (1975)

Director:  Herbert Ross

Screenplay:  Neil Simon

Starring:  Walter Matthau, George Burns, Richard Benjamin, F. Murray Abraham and Howard Hesseman.

Tagline: For the price of a movie, you’ll feel like a million!

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

At one time Lewis & Clark, aka The Sunshine Boys, were the Kings of Vaudeville.   Audiences loved their routines and the comedy duo had a long, successful run.  Sadly, when Lewis & Clark broke up, they’d reached the point that neither could stand the other.  They haven’t talked in years.

Now an opportunity to perform together on television has appeared.  Will The Sunshine Boys be able to put aside past differences and catch lightning in a bottle once again?

As I watched The Sunshine Boys I couldn’t help but think how our perception of the elderly has changed.  When Lewis got lost, couldn’t open a door and yelled at people, audiences in 1975 probably thought, “This old guy is quite a character.”  I couldn’t help but think, I wonder if he has onset dementia.

I was expecting more laughs from The Sunshine Boys.  The best scene is when Lewis & Clark first get together to rehearse the routine they’ll perform on tv.  Sadly the rehearsal is funnier than the actual performance.  Also Lewis comes off as a real jerk.  It’s no wonder Clark didn’t want to perform with him any longer.

Still The Sunshine Boys does have it’s moments.  George Burns is a joy and it’s no wonder he won an Oscar for his performance (which was the first movie he’d made in over 30 years)!  The scene of Lewis auditioning for a potato chip commercial is funny.  The interactions of Lewis & Clark are the heart of the movie and I wish we had more of them.

The Sunshine Boys earns 3 of 5 stars.

“Nobody” / Z-View

Nobody (2021)

Director: Ilya Naishuller

Screenplay: Derek Kolstad

Starring:  Bob Odenkirk, Aleksey Serebryakov, Connie Nielsen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Ironside and RZA.

Tagline:  Never underestimate a nobody.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Hutch Mansell lives a mundane life.  He has a wife (they are drifting apart), a son and daughter.  His job is routine and he’s in a rut.  Things get worse when burglars break into his house to rob it and Mansell does nothing to stop them.  His son sees him as a coward, and the rest of the family looks at him with pity.  What they don’t know is that Mansell used to worked as a CIA “auditor” who was sent in as a last resort to “clear the books”.

As Mansell’s anger builds he goes looking for the two thieves.  When five thugs on a bus begin to terrorize a young lady, Mansell takes out his rage on the would-be tough guys, hospitalizing all of them.  Unfortunately one of the mooks is the brother of a crazy Russian crime boss who will bring the full weight of his organization down on Mansell and his family.

Let the good times roll!

Nobody can be described as John Wick light.  Bob Odenkirk is surprisingly effective as the former CIA auditor and Nobody shows how talented he is.  To go from Sal Goodman to Hutch Mansell is more than a stretch.  The scene on the bus is fun and surprisingly violent.  I referred to Nobody as John Wick light and the humor is what takes it down a notch.  Plus when Mansell’s dad (Lloyd) starts blowing away a Russian hit squad you know we’re in a different universe.

I really enjoyed Nobody.  It was a fun ride with plenty of action and humor.  It rates 4 of 5 stars.

“Hellblazers” (2022) / Z-View

Hellblazers (2022)

Director: Justin Lee

Screenplay: Justin Lee

Starring:  Adrienne Barbeau, Greg Beaton, Crash Buist, Bruce Dern, Meg Foster and Billy Zane.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

When a satanic cult summons a demon the residents of a very small southwestern town must band together to survive.

Hellblazers is a low, low budget film set in the 1980s.  It would have fit right in on a drive-in triple feature from the same time period.  If you go in knowing you’re going to get a chance to see older stars in a film that requires you to put your brain on hold to enjoy the ride, you just might (enjoy the ride).  Hellblazers makes attempts at humor but never totally commits to comedy.  There are a couple of jump scares but isn’t really scary despite being about a satanic cult and a demon from hell killing off the population of a small town.

With that said, I watched with my wife and we found it an okay way to pass the time.  Therefore Hellblazers rates 2 of 5 stars.

Boise Longpig Hunting Club by Nick Kolakowski / Z-View

Boise Longpig Hunting Club by Nick Kolakowski

Trade Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Down & Out Books

First sentence…

We came home from the movies to find our front door kicked open, both floors ransacked, half the food in our fridge missing.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Jake Halligan comes home to find his house ransacked and a naked, dead woman in his gun safe.  Jake’s never seen the woman before, and has no idea who killed her.  The list of thugs, gangbangers, and assorted criminals Jake has tracked down (he’s a bounty hunter) is just too large.  Then Jake learns that the woman wasn’t the only murder victim.  As he gets closer to the killer(s), Jake, his ex-wife and sister are kidnapped. Soon they find themselves involved in what can only be called The Most Dangerous Game.

Nick Kolakowski has taken a classic tale and modernized it.  The Boise Longpig Hunting Club is full of memorable characters, action and humor.  Kolakowski provides situations that we’ve seen before, but he puts an unexpected twist on them that leaves us shocked and/or smiling.  I like Jake Halligan, his supporting characters and look forward to the follow-up, Rattlesnake Rodeo (which is already sitting in my to be read pile).  As for the  Boise Longpig Hunting Club, it rates 5 of 5 stars.

Rating:

“Murderville” – The Poster and Trailer are Here!

I love the idea behind Murderville the Netflix limited series that premieres on February 3rd.  Will Arnett plays a detective who is joined by celebrity guest stars each week to solve a crime.  The catch is the guest stars aren’t given a script and have to adlib their way through the episode!.  Murderville sounds like fun!  Deal me in.

Solving crimes is hard. Improv comedy is harder. All 6 episodes of Murderville starring Will Arnett stream February 3rd, only on Netflix.

“Welcome to Sudden Death” / Z-View

Welcome to Sudden Death (2020)

Director: Dallas Jackson

Screenplay:  Dallas Jackson, Gene Quintano

Starring:  Michael Jai White, Michael Eklund and Gary Owen.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

The biggest problem with Welcome to Sudden Death was the marketing.  No, really.  Hear me out.

Welcome to Sudden Death was advertised as an action-packed remake of the Jean Claude Van Damme movie, Sudden Death.  And it is, but… and this is a big but… the reboot is a comedy with action.  Folks went into the Michael Jai White version thinking that they were getting a straight up serious action movie.  They didn’t and they were rightly disappointed.  If Welcome to Sudden Death had been sold as a comedy/action film then audiences wouldn’t have judged it so harshly.  Sure, they may have felt it wasn’t funny enough or the mix of action/comedy wasn’t right, but they would have gone in with different expectations.

I had read that the original Sudden Death was supposed to be more of a comedy, but that aspect was toned down when JCVD came on.  Welcome to Sudden Death was going to play up the yuks along with the action, I was interested.

While Welcome to Sudden Death isn’t the funniest movie or the best action film you’ll ever see.  If you go in knowing that, you shouldn’t be disappointed.  The tone is less serious than the original, but not as far out as say, The Naked Gun.  Michael Jai White does a good job as the hero.  I loved Gary Owen as the reluctant sidekick.  The bad guys are over the top, the plot is what you’d expect, but if you want a few laughs and to see Michael Jai White kick butt, then I say, Welcome to Sudden Death.

I liked Welcome to Sudden Death as well if not better than the JCVD original  I rate it 3 of 5 stars.

RIP: Louie Anderson


Louie Anderson, born Louis Perry Anderson, died today at the age of 68, from blood cancer.  Louie was a stand-up comedian, actor, author and game show host.  

Louie Anderson began his career as a stand-up comedian but soon began making appearances with small roles in movies.  A comedy special led to more acting roles, his own animated television show (Life with Louie which ran for three seasons and won two Emmys) and a live action series (The Louie Show).  Louie continued to act on television, in feature films, as well as doing stand-up comedy and game show hosting throughout his career.  Along the way he found time to author four books!

Louie Anderson was such a likeable person that his appearances on talk shows, tv guest spots and movie roles were always welcome.  Louie’s stand-up comedy put him in a league with the very best.  He will be missed.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Louie Anderson’s family, friends and fans.

“The Tender Bar” (2021) / Z-View

The Tender Bar (2021)

Director: George Clooney

Screenplay:  William Monahan (based on the memoir by J.R. Moehringer)

Starring:  Ben Affleck, Tye Sheridan, Daniel Ranieri, Lily Rabe, Christopher Lloyd, and Briana Middleton.

Tagline:  Publishing is heading towards memoir

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

The Tender Bar is a coming of age story of a little boy named JR (no periods) being raised by his single mom and an assist from his cool Uncle who owns a bar.  Affleck plays the Uncle while Ranieri and Sheridan play the boy/man.  The movie is well cast and that helps keep interest up as the subplots come and go.  Will JR graduate high school?  Will he get into Yale?  Will he get a good job?  Will it work out with his love interest?  Will he become a writer?  Will he and his dad ever reconcile?

As I said, The Tender Bar is well cast.  Standouts include Affleck and Sheridan.  Rabe, Middleton and Max Martini as JR’s deadbeat dad aren’t given a lot to do but are very good.  The bar patrons are also fun even if they’re mainly there to order the next round.  “Back ’em up!”

The Tender Bar isn’t a great film, but it’s not a bad movie to watch with your better half.  I rate it 3 of 5 stars.

Love & Bullets Megabomb Edition by Nick Kolakowski / Z-View

Love & Bullets Megabomb Edition by Nick Kolakowski

Trade Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Shotgun Honey Books

First sentence…

Listen.  At some point, a poor sap will look at you and say, “This is the worst day of my life.”

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Bill is a conman on the run from the Rockaway Mob.  They want Bill dead and the two million dollars that he stole from them back.  Lucky for Bill, his girlfriend, Fiona is on the lam with him.  Fiona’s got brains and can handle herself.  As this modern day “Bonnie and Clyde” try to stay alive they find themselves at odds with crocked cops, hired assassins, other criminals, an Elvis impersonator, a government hit man and more.

The Love & Bullets Megabomb Edition is actually a reworking of three novellas featuring Bill and Fiona (A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps; Slaughterhouse Blues and Main Bad Guy), but thanks to some clever re-editing and additional material, it reads like one rollicking adventure.  I absolutely loved the characters, plus the right mix of violence, humor and heart.  Kolakowski has the ability to make all of his major characters not only unique in voice and look, but the feel that any of them could be the “star” of their own tale.  I blazed through Love & Bullets Megabomb Edition loving every page.  I was so impressed by Nick Kolakowski that I immediately ordered three more of his novels.   

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