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by Robyn Hale

Ode to New York
Man I miss New York, so this week I decided to rent obscure movies that featured the great city that never sleeps.

Mondo New York
The movie sounded promising, according to the box. But sometimes my friend the box is deceiving. Promising to leave me "shocked and enlightened," I was more like bored and perplexed. Basically, this normal run-of-the-mill rock chick from late 80's is your silent tour guide through the bowels of 1987 New York -- taking you to Central Park, an S&M Dungeon, CBGB's, a Voodoo ritual, the Cat Club, and a cock fight, to name just a few destinations in her 24hr journey. But man if these events were "actually happening" I'm sure someone during the voodoo ritual would have said "what's this crazy white bitch doing here?" It looks like the guy actually bites the head off a chicken. Freaky man. No doubt these events could all be happening in New York during the course of a day, but come on... how does this particular chick know where to go? I actually had to fast-forward through some scenes because they were just soooooo annoying. I've never done that before in my life, so that's not a good sign.

The soundtrack is a train wreck, but includes the gems "Hustle with My Muscle" by John Sex and the Bodacious TaTa's, "NY NY" by Manitoba's Wild Kingdom and "Fuck You" by Dean and the Weenies. Dean and the Weenies - best band name EVER. The movie didn't even have closing cast credits so I have no idea who is who. Maybe this is a flaw in the video, but it pissed me off. I now feel like I wasted 83 minutes of my life. Great big thumbs down for Mondo New York.

Party Monster

Yes kiddies, this is NOT the movie starting MacCaulay Culkin and Fez from That 70's Show, this is the real deal. For those of you not familiar with this story, let me give you an overview. The focus of this biopic about the NY underground club scene is "King of the Club Kids" Michael Alig, the outrageously self-centered spectacle-maker and Limelight promoter. Alig was basically famous for the sake of being famous, and unfortunately got consumed with what goes along with that lifestyle. The all-night parties, the drugs, the hangers on, etc. When you're on top of the world, it's hard to predict your downfall. But eventually it will happen. I guess Alig wasn't paying attention.

Alig was surrounded by and indulging in, all types of drugs -- heroin, cocaine and "K." One night (or day) after a drug binge, he brutally attacked DJ and drug dealer Angel Melendez by crushing his skull, pouring Drano in his mouth, dismembering the body and dumping it in the Hudson River.

The filmmakers started filming this documentary long before the star "Michael Alig" got convicted of murder, and they captured some great scenes. When venues were hard to obtain after the closing of the Limelight, Alig would throw surprise bashes on subway platforms or at a McDonalds. Brilliant if you ask me. But at one point after Melendez was missing, consumed by his own ego, Alig started joking/boasting on camera that he killed him. Well, eventually someone put two-and-two together and he's in jail, and the documentary has interviews with the older (but not necessarily wiser), Alig, in his prison orange jumper. Far cry from the roller-skates and glitter. He will be eligible for parole in 2006. If you have yet to see the movie Party Monster, please rent this first - you'll dig it.

Previous This Week's Rentals...

Hysterical Blindness
Welcome to 1987 Bayonne, New Jersey. Debby (Uma Thurman) and Beth (Juliette Lewis) are single small town girls who spend their nights in the local dive bar Ollies, and there main concern is how they look and if they have enough Aqua Net to poof their hair high enough. Yet night after night they find themselves searching for the kind of love they hear in the songs blasting from the jukebox - the kind of love that lasts forever.

However, Beth is a single mother who's daughter spends her nights home alone while Mommy is trolling the bars, and Debby well, the poor thing is so desperate she can't discern between a love that lasts and a love that lasts for one night. You feel for Debby, it actually hurts to watch her because you know she's going to do or say the wrong thing. And she does, repeatedly. This is a great role for Uma, and ladies, if you've been out of luck in the guy department rent this flick and you'll feel a hell of a lot better about yourself.

I absolutely adored this quirky little flick starring Robin Tunney of The Craft. Her character Zoe has been accused of a crime she didn't commit and is put under house arrest until her trial. She has only once chance to catch the real criminal - but she has to find a way to get out of her apartment first.

I had several interruptions while trying to watch this film, so I kept feeling that I missed something along the way. But it didn't matter, because Cherish was highly entertaining. They did a great job of incorporating classic tunes from the 70's & 80's in this film and that was very impressive. Plus they closed out the film with one of my all time fav tunes -- "I Love You" by the Climax Blues Band. I pulled out and dusted off my old record from the early 80's called Dimensions and played that song until I cried. I guess I'm a sucker for a good love song.

Over The Edge
In honor of Matt Dillon's birthday, I watched the first movie to ever feature this teenage heartthrob. It took me years to find this teen rebellion flick, but I was obsessed with this film. It was the first movie I ever watched on cable TV. And it was the first movie where I saw hard-core drug use. I remember sitting on the couch watching this kid tripping his balls off. He was freaking out to what he saw coming off the slide projector, and I sat there amazed thinking wow…..what's that like?

Over the Edge takes place in this desert suburban community where the teens have nothing to do but act out against their parents, teachers and the crackpot local cops. Lots a drugs, lots a booze, lots a vandalism - everything you did, or wanted to do as a teen. Great soundtrack featuring Cheap Trick, The Cars, Van Halen and the Ramones, so besides a good story, you can jam along to some great songs from the late 70's. If you can find this - rent it, or look for it on cable.

I got this movie because Jared Leto was on the cover, and considering I was short on Valentine prospects, I thought Mr. Leto would make a great date. And a great date he was.

Leto plays Jack, "the god of fuck". When he gets caught banging a Vegas mobsters wife, he and his friend Pilot (Jake Gyllenhaal) hit the road to Seattle. Yes, this is another on-the-road buddy flick where every character is stranger than the next. I can't stop renting these flicks. It contains the token drug dealer scene, the chick they meet along the way (Selma Blair), and has a predictable plot, but I have to give it a good review for the eye candy factor alone. Jared Leto is just fuckin hot in this movie. So ladies if you are looking for a movie that you really don't need to pay that close attention to and want to stare at beautiful boys, run to your local rental place and demand Highway.

Bubble Boy
Poor Jimmy aka Bubble Boy, played by cutie Jake Gyllenhaal, has lived his entire life in a protective plastic bubble under the watchful eye of his overprotective mother (played by Swoosie Kurtz). Now that the girl of his dreams is getting married in just a few days, Jimmy builds himself a mobile "bubble suit" and starts on his cross country journey to stop the wedding!! Along the way Jimmy befriends bikers, freaks, cult members and other wacky characters from different walks of life.

Jimmy's journey can rival Pee-Wee's in his Big Adventure, so if you liked that, you'll love this. I thought this movie was hysterical, pay close attention to the Bright & Shiny song - if you don't think that's funny then there is something wrong with you. Or maybe there is something wrong with me? But if you want a light laugh riot of a movie then get Bubble Boy.

This was an unexpected rental. I never even heard of this movie, but I almost had a freak out when I read the back of the DVD case. Keifer Sutherland as William S. Burroughs and Courtney Love as his wife Joan - Holy Shit! I quickly replaced one of the movies I was holding and got this one instead.

Beat takes place during the Burroughs time spent in Mexico while Bill was hiding from a heroin charge back in the US. Through flashbacks and a visit from Allen Ginsbug and Lucian Carr, Bill and Joanie are haunted by the memory of a murder from a few years back. For those not familiar with this story, or with the Beats writing in general, then you probably will have a hard time understanding what's going on. For those familiar with the Beats, you are going to have a VERY hard time trying to think for a minute, let alone believe, that Keifer is William Burroughs. He tries to talk slow and add that flat creaky tone to his voice, but it just doesn't work. Who cast that part? I'm a huge Keifer fan, don't get me wrong, but hey he tried. Shockingly, Courtney Love was great. She should act like Joan all the time - she would be a much better person, and look a hell of a lot better.

For those who've read Ginsburg and Burroughs this could be a very interesting watch, not worth owning, but it makes you want to go back and re-read about that time period.

The Mothman Prophecies
I'm very superstitious and I believe that things happen for a reason, and truly believe there is no such thing as coincidence. So this movie freaked me the fuck out! I'm not even going to tell you anything about the movie, because I knew nothing of the Mothman before I rented this. I only knew about some noise/voice coming through the phone to Richard Gere, and that's all you're getting from me. This story is based on events that really took place back in the 60's, but I don't know how real the movie adaptation is, it's based on a book by the same name. And I don't even want to read it because if Mothman really does exist, I don't want to know about it.


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