Weekend Weirdness: The Birdemic Craze Continues

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It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies that offer proof. Slashfilm’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review or an interview.

Man, how about the Birdemic craze that rollicked across the internet last week and continues to tremor in comedy-nerd circles? If VICE magazine had not interviewed the film’s “auteur” at length recently—a mysterious Silicon Valley grunt named James Nguyen—I would have called bullshit on the movie as a viral attempt to recreate the organic magic of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. If any of our readers in L.A. attended the Cinefamily showing last night that was hosted by hardcore Wiseau converts, Tim and Eric, let us know how it went in the comments.

A lot of sites have been hell-bent on spinning the film as a best-worst classic on par with Troll 2 only on the basis of the above trailer and a riotous press release. Having actually seen the film—recently picked up by Severin Films and being marketed by the youth-culture-centric Cornerstone—I still can’t shake a calculated feeling about the badness of the acting, the Room-like music and romantic subplot, the consistently choppy editing, and especially the [adult swim]-like aesthetic of the film’s computer-rendered explosions and murderous eagles. Either way, once the film’s birds invade in the second half and are fended off one-by-one with a machine gun in live-action scenes that evoke a VHS game made for the long-dead Action Max console, skepticism may be beside the point. Tonight is coincidentally the Season Cinco premiere of Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! and Birdemic goes a long way to support the show’s current influence in pop culture. It’s increasingly difficult to tell what is faux-bad, what is ironically bad, and what is genuinely brain dead.

Links: Official Website / VICE interview / Birdemic/Nguyen’s Twitter / Cinefamily Showing / Action Max

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After interviewing him in Ireland last year, I wasn’t sure what to think of actor James Franco. He likes to let everyone know he’s a voracious, beanied reader of philosophy tomes. He seems interested in continuing to blend his Pineapple Express stoner into his media persona. His sexuality is prone to much drunken speculation by movie-watching city dwellers—roles in Milk and the upcoming Howl keep ‘em guessing. And if thousands of bloggers failed to tattoo the FYI: on your skull, Franco previously joined the cast of a soap opera to complete a college project, which some critics felt “blurred the lines between vacant modern celeb and subversive artist.” If you say so. But today, NYC-based writer Drew Grant shared a kinda fucked, kinda hilarious rumor about the actor’s life-as-”performance” art that’s circulating at NYU and takes it up a notch.

Link: Dogs Are Adorable Tumblr

betteroffdead

If you like cereal milk, Irish whiskey, girls over 99 pounds, and L.A. cracker-rap that’s fond of references to Paulie Shore‘s filmography and Pulp Fiction samples—hello again, 1998!—I recommend you pay attention to the Burger Boyz. Their first concept album about fast food-as-sexual innuendo, Where’s the Beef?, is now available for streaming online.

Links: Where’s the Beef? Album / Burger Boyz on Twitter

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The number of VHS appreciators amongst cool kids and cooler dorks is growing by the day. I’m sure a writer from the New York Times or Youth Intelligence will eventually compare the trend to the rise of vinyl enthusiasts, leaving Blu-ray-philes and Jeff Katzenberg to argue VHS is for dying luddites and aging hipsters. But there’s a real case for the format when it comes to preserving a shit-ton of weirdness that didn’t cross over to DVD, or to cult torrent hang-outs like Cinemageddon.

I’m a supporter of the notion that the horror genre is generally better suited to VCR consumption. Nine out of ten things that go bump in the night prefer their acne and bodily fluids not be so goddamn crystal clear. One of the more visible and agreeable VHS-head pundits of late is Tommy Swenson (no, not the bassist from The Replacements), who belongs to the Scarecrow Video posse in Seattle, Washington and has a clip project called Viva VHS that might be inspired by TV Carnage. I pretty much agree with all of his contrarian gospel in this article called “Why DVDs Can Suck It” at AV Club.

Links: AV Club Article / Scarecrow Video / Viva VHS on YouTube

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With so much snow in New York of late, I’ve managed to binge on box sets and finally reach the current season of Big Love. The last episode really illustrates how much plot the show’s writers are stuffing into each of the nine eps this year compared to those from previous, longer seasons; the Mexico subplot and its goofy tone reminded me of recent, iffy detours taken by Weeds. On the bright side, Lois avoided a T.J. dirtnap and made like Voorhees.

Link: Is Lois a style icon?

pope

In the first installment of Weekend Weirdness, we drooled over the trailer for an upcoming release from Sage Stallone’s Grindhouse Releasing entitled Gone With the Pope. Made in 1975 but left unfinished after the death of its well-quaffed director/star Duke Mitchell in ’81, Pope was miraculously completed by GHR’s Bob Murawski, a film editor whose credits include The Hurt Locker and Drag Me to Hell.

We recently received an email from these dudes and a new press release promoting the film’s world premiere on March 12 at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre. The poster above was included and so was this quote from Murawski…

Of all the films I have been involved with, the one that I am most proud of is GONE WITH THE POPE,” Murawski said. “Duke Mitchell didn’t live to see this masterpiece finished. I am honored to be the person to finish it for him. Completing this movie was a 15-year labor of love. No expense or effort was spared in rescuing this classic from cinematic oblivion and finishing it with the utmost quality. Our beautiful new 35mm print stands as a testament to Duke Mitchell’s unique and explosively entertaining vision.

Links: Grindhouse Releasing / Gone With the Pope Trailer / Egyptian Theatre

For previous installments of Weekend Weirdness, here.

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