Monday, May 02, 2011

A couple of movies

I had today scheduled off so I could rest & recuperate from the weekend, and I had planned on just sitting around watching movies all day--the kind of movies I probably wouldn't watch with the kids around.

Well, I did do that, but with Netflix going at full blast I also caught up on a bunch of TV shows that I like but don't want to sit through commercials. Spoilers might possibly follow but I'll try not to give away too much.

So one of them was Wristcutters, an indie film made for only(!) a million dollars, released 2006. Wikipedia calls it a "comedy-fantasy-romance." It's about this guy named Zia who kills himself by slitting his wrists because his girlfriend had just dumped the way, a good indicator of the kind of comedy in this movie is, before Zia kills himself he completely cleans up his messy apartment until it's sparkling. Then as he is lying on the floor bleeding to death, the last thing he sees is a big dust bunny he missed. So anyway, Zia goes to a sort of Limbo that is neither Heaven nor Hell which is reserved for people who have committed suicide. There he meets up with a Russian emigré named Eugene: a really bad rock musician who killed himself by electrocuting himself with his own guitar; and a girl named Mikal who died accidentally from an overdose. Mikal is convinced that she shouldn't be there because her death was accidental. Zia runs into someone he knew from before he died who tells him that his ex-girlfriend also committed suicide about a month after he did. So he goes on a road trip trying to find her, accompanied by Mikal, who is trying to find the "people in charge" so she can go back to her real life, and Eugene.

City scenes were filmed around L.A., but most of the scenes were shot in the bleak wilderness areas of (apparently) the American southwest. Life in their new world is about the same as it was in the living world, but bleaker. There are no stars, and no one ever smiles. Eventually Zia finds his ex but realizes that she is kind of a whackjob and he's no longer interested in her, having fallen in love with Mikal.

It had a cool soundtrack, with one song by Tom Waits who also played another of the main characters. I did enjoy the humor and laughed out loud a couple of times (like at the dust bunny). I guess that's all I should say about it except: happy ending. Since Netflix keeps track of your viewing and rating history to provide recommendations, I decided to start rating movies. I gave this one 4 stars. Netflix average rating: 3.7.

The other movie was Dead Snow, from 2009. I heard about this one a long time ago and in fact had added it to my queue when I first subscribed to Netflix, but kept bumping it down the list to keep getting more family-friendly DVDs. When I finally got high-speed internet I saw that it was available for streaming.

Dead Snow is a Norwegian comedy-horror movie about Nazi zombies. These are not American-style zombies, which are assumed to be caused by some kind of pathogen and which is actually a highly contagious disease, but instead are zombies created by some kind of mostly unexplained evil satanic Nazi magic. The explanation, of sorts, is given by a mysterious stranger that reminded me of that scene from Jaws--you know the one. One of the big things I really liked about this movie was that, instead of hiding in a house and boarding up the windows until they're all dead, well...

Actually when they first discovered something monstrous was outside killing their friends, they did board up the house. But as soon as they discovered it was Nazi zombies, they immediately loaded up with everything they could find to use as weapons and began killing the sh*t out of them. The Norwegians really hate Nazis. The fact that these were Nazi zombies didn't really mean much to them.

So, with apologies to Joe Bob Briggs, there was shotgun fu, chainsaw fu. snowmobile fu, tree limb fu, sledge hammer fu, hatchet and axe fu, fire fu, (snowmobile-mounted) machine gun fu and even avalanche fu. One of the characters was a movie nerd, and kept quoting various American movies, which was funny because the whole movie was in Norwegian with subtitles and this guy would suddenly spout off something from some American movie, like "yippie-ki-yay motherf*ckers" and "Fortune and glory, kid...fortune and glory." Also one guy got a bad wound on his throat, so he sewed himself up with a fish hook and some monofilament (reminded me of that scene in Roadhouse) and then finished the job by wrapping duct tape around his throat to hold himself together. Another funny scene had another guy cursing Nokia (which is a Finnish company) for his cell phone's battery going dead at a critical moment.

I had originally given this one 4 stars, but in writing this up and still laughing about it, I changed it to 5 stars. A great zombie movie that I would consider non-traditional compared to most American zombie flicks. Apparently most Netflixers don't get this kind of humor and their average rating is only 3.4.

Well, no happy ending in this one, but I'm not sure you can have a happy ending in any zombie movie. I guess Zombieland comes closest to that, which by the way I watched some time ago and also enjoyed.


  1. Oh-ho! "Wristcutters" is a 'Bangsian fantasy,' then. What comes after death movies always interest me.

  2. I had to look that up. I wasn't familiar with the term.

    A couple more things I thought were interesting...Eugene's entire family was there. Both his parents and his brother had all committed suicide, although not all at the same time. They continued living together there.

    Another thing I forgot to add about all the tributes to American horror movies, some of which I already one scene a guy cuts off part of his arm with a chainsaw, like Ashe did in Evil Dead 2.

    The other thing was that there actually were "people in charge." When one guy tries to kill himself (again), they all come sweeping in, seize him, and no one knows what becomes of him.