Cable Quickies: The Go-Getter

Lou Taylor Pucci, Zooey Deschanel, Corn Mo and a road trip across the desert West as a manboy searches for his older half-brother. You could call this Garden State hits the road, at a cursory glance, but it’s better than that. Director Martin Hynes puts together a personal and touching coming of age story about a young guy named Mercer dealing with a family tragedy by stealing a car and setting out to find the only family he has left.
Along the way he makes deeper connections, as the owner of the car (Zooey) calls him on her cell phone. She knows him somehow, and their conversations, and her Western audiobook, serve as narration as Mercer tracks down his brother Arlen through the wreckage left in his wake. It’s like Arlen grew up in ’90s indie films, and we stop at grunge art communes, pornographers, a band that includes accordionaire John “Corn Mo” Cunningham. Mercer gets taken in by a siren named Julie who wants to make him a man in the cliche fashion, while distracting him from his quest.

Mercer’s dreams play like home movies and meld with the story, as the audiobook plays with his head on the long desert stretches. He finds himself indebted to an unlikely cowboy (Bill Duke, Mac from Predator) who teaches him how to stand up. It manages to avoid many of the indie cliches despite being a coming of age road movie, the oldest in the book. It’s a testament to Pucci and Deschanel’s talents that the movie is so appealing, though Hynes does keep us guessing on where the road will take us. Oh, he makes a few nods to classics like Band of Outsiders, but it is remarkably unindulgent for a movie of its kind. Maybe that’s damning with faint praise, but I usually hate movies like this.

In the interest of honesty, Lou Taylor is my cousin, but I try to be even-handed. This is a hugr improvement over the disastrous 50 Pills, and while I liked the insanity of Southland Tales, I’ll be the first to say that it’s more of a prank than a movie. The Go-Getter is on the right track; I didn’t enjoy it as much as the excellent Thumbsucker, but it’s a good movie, better on this second viewing. It’s contemplative and requires your attention. It’s playing on Showtime this month and worth your Tivo space.

Rating: Worthy

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Big Bald Black Dudes I admire- 2009 update

As you know (or you should) every Black History Month, I take a moment to reflect on the Big Bald Black Dudes I admire. Perhaps it was growing up in the ’70s with Gordon on Sesame Street, or my favorite movies including The Thing with Keith David, but big bald black dudes are just the baddest asses in cinema, in my not so humble opinion.

Last year I dubbed Keith David, Ving Rhames, Scatman Crothers, Delroy Lindo, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr. in my annual post, where I also made the audacious claim that Stephen King has never met a black person, so this year I came up with a few new nominees for the halls of badassery.

1. Bill Duke
Best known as Mac from Predator, Bill’s been a bad-ass for ages. I first remember him as a bad guy in Commando, where he tells Matrix he’s a Green Beret. Unfortunately, John Matrix eats Green Berets for breakfast and shits toy soldiers, so he gets impaled on a table leg. But not before he trashes the hotel room with Arnie in such a brutal fashion that Rae Dawn Chong is made to exclaim, “you guys eat too much red meat!”

Of course, there’s no such thing as too much red meat, and Bill Duke can probably eat the ass off a brontosaur and ask for seconds. Even though the Predator freaks him out so bad that he sings “Long Tall Sally” in a falsetto, Mac is one of the classic movie bad-asses. My cousin Lou Taylor Pucci got the honor of starring with him in a movie called The Go-Getter, and for that I’m more envious than when he got to touch Kelli Garner’s tit in Thumbsucker. Bill Duke’s given us memorable performances in Menace II Society “you know you done fucked up right?” and The Limey, and I’m hoping someday he’ll get to play a frog.

2. Charles Dutton
Best known as the star of “Roc” in the early ’90s, Charles Dutton has clobbered xenomorphs in Alien3, and gigantic mutant flying cockroaches in Mimic. He’s one of the few redeemable qualities of the “scripted by comittee” shitfest that is the second Alien sequel, that even David Fincher could barely save. Seeing him swing Sigurney Weaver around by the neck, you wonder why they bother trying to trap the alien, when it’s obvious that Dutton could just grab it by it’s li’l mouth and force it to perform oral sex on him, after which it would just kill itself in shame.

3. Samuel L. (the L. stands for le motherfuckin’) Jackson
Last time I disqualified Mr. Jackson because his best bad-ass role- Jules from Pulp Fiction – was performed with the assistance of hair. However, since then Sam has been shorn, and given us the baddest, baldest motherfuckin’ Jedi (despite the festive purple lightsaber), a bald Son of Shaft, a bald Nick Fury, and a mostly bald bad-ass bluesman in Black Snake Moan. So I’m going to induct him into the Big Bald Black Men Hall of Fame. He’s earned his due.

4. Isaac Hayes
(pre-Adventure Club)
Before he got suckered into thinking our souls were H-bombed in volcanoes billions of years ago, Isaac Hayes was a groundbreaking musician and one of the biggest bald black bad-asses around. to mourn the passing of his reason that happened so many years prior to his death, I would like to posthumously induct him in. The evidence: The Duke of New York, A number One, from Escape from New York. He gave super bad-ass Snake Plissken a run for his money, and that’s saying a lot. He was also the star of Truck Turner. This was after writing the amazing score to Shaft and composing great soul albums like Hot Buttered Soul and Black Moses. He also served as Chef for many years before his handlers got to him, obviously in a time of weakness, since he passed on not long after. We forgive you Isaac. Rest in peace.

Note: Tony “Candyman” Todd
Last year I got flack for not including Tony Todd. Well, I finally watched Candyman, and I will concur that Tony Todd is a fucking bad-ass. However, it must be noted that he is not bald. He would be even more bad-ass if he’d been bald, with some crazy facial hair, maybe shaped like a hook. Todd’s also been in the Final Destination movies, Platoon, and The Crow, so he’s a shoo-in for badassery. If only he’d take a Wahl clipper and polish up his noggin, he could join the club.

That’s all until next year, where it will get even harder to find nominees for this post. I might even have to include Elmo: