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Half record collector... half druid... complete unit.

More human than human.

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Magic Marmalade
16th Jul 2024
The Heavenly Kid (1985)
(I must also mention in passing the disturbing similarities in the two lead actors and James Franco and a miniature Skeet Ulrich).

Magic Marmalade
16th Jul 2024
The Heavenly Kid (1985)
Rated 6/10
The most eighties movie you will ever see.

(...And that's some stiff competition!)

This is a movie who's name ha entered my consciousness only in the last few months, on account of being mentioned here and there as a tough one to find on DVD...

...And there's a reason for that, as it turns out:

It's crap.

......Well, I want to be fair, and say instead: mostly crap (...mostly :).

There is the kernel of a fairly good idea and story here, but for the most part it is buried under an avalanche of all the worst stereotypes and trope-oids of the eighties, from the horrifically toe-curling mega-eighties soundtrack, the "kid in school getting bullied" trope with your standard eighties high-school bullies (only played badly), very thin storytelling, wafer thin, paint by numbers characters, God-awful wooden acting which even makes No Retreat, No Surrender doubt it's claim to bad acting, and it seems to have borrowed everything around it at the time to "construct" this movie.

There's bullying thing (Karate Kid), The Time Travel (ish) element (Back To The Future), and a plethora of other stuff those familiar with the eighties will spot on sight... but all done waaaaaaaay worse.

And actually, for such a short movie (1hr:30mins), it feels long.

It does however, somewhat redeem itself in the last half hour, as I felt they finally started making something of their own, and the quality picks up a nudge, earning a couple more points over the 4 out of 10 I was going to give it, as it reveals something of genuine heart, and a poignancy in the relationship between returning from the dead 60's angel rocker type and the love of his life he lost when he died tragically in true "Leader Of The Pack" style stupidity at the beginning of the movie.

Most of the chatter I've heard about this mentions that maybe the almost simultaneous release of: Back To The Future at the time is the reason this all but vanished. Yeah... Let's say that's the reason!

(Not the fact that the the one note I mentioned aside - everything in this fails on every count).

All this said, it is definitely one of those that is in the camp of: So bad it's...erm... well, still pretty awful actually, but you have to admire it's awfulness, which is a kind of charm all it's own.

I think, if the budget was a little bigger -say, to the power of one hundred - the effects were anything more than less than amateur, the actors better, the story tightened up, with vastly better dialogue (not written on eighties version of AI, or whatever ape wrote it), you may even have something of a decent, if not great, movie here, as the idea is sound.

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Magic Marmalade
10th Jul 2024
Red State (2011)
Rated 8/10
Unholy Cow!

Was not expecting this from Kevin Smith (Clerks / Mallrats / Dogma etc.), as this doesn't look or feel like one of his movies... In fact, it doesn't even look or feel like the DVD cover / poster art would lead you to believe this movie was going to be...

...Because going by that, you may be expecting a Robert Rodriguez / Tarantino-ish type of hillbilly / horror chop up festival of the gross out kind of affair.

(Funny, I watched Tucker And Dale the other day, bought among the same batch of DVDs, so was expecting something a little more along those lines)

No, this is a more slow burn, unsettling, even serious (in premise) affair regarding a very Waco incident reminiscent movie, with a disturbingly believable religious sect entrapping a trio of horny teenagers who have one trekking on a promise of sex, causing the ATF (think I got that right?), led by John Goodman's agent to lay siege to their estate.

The brilliance of the story is that there are no clear heroes in relation to "the villain", as the government orgs are ever more dubious as it goes.

Michael Parks, as the cult's leader and religious head, absolutely steals the show as the quietly maniacal, manipulative, and superficially affable and charismatic top nut job, and this whole movie hangs on this faultless and stunning performance.

Put the idea of "Kevin Smith movie" out of your head, as well as the notions and impressions that the cover / DVD art may give you, and you will see a very subtly brilliant movie when you watch it.

1 person found this review helpful.   ✔︎ Helpful Review?

Magic Marmalade
10th Jul 2024
Vinyl Album
Suede - Coming Up
Late to the party...

I never really got into Suede at the time, although of course, they were a presence in popular culture, with singles pervading the airwaves and all, which I was aware of... especially those from this album, which actually caused me to deliberately avoid them on the principle that it sounded like a band who had sold out, and "gone commercial"...

(For all their protestations at the time that they should not be categorized under the same banner as other bands who the popular media dubbed: "Britpop", it is strange that they should have produced this... perhaps one of the most Britpop / commercial albums of them all!)

...These sounding like overtly pop, punchy, commercial tunes you can 'um.

And even the cover reflects greatly the character of the album as a whole... Gone the dark, dingy photography of more serious artists, in it's place a lurid, energy drink fuelled neon-ette "buy me!" cover enclosing a slab of brief, high energy pop stabs and jabs.

But it was during the interims between lockdowns in the pandemic that I was on a "buy it and rip it" spree of all those old albums on CD that I'd missed first time around, that I had a tune pop up on my MP3 player form this, that acted as the better gateway track for the album:

By The Sea, is a different flavour altogether... an absolutely stunning masterpiece in fact, of scale, and sweep, with an incredible melancholic tone that really grabbed me by the pretzels and has since become one of the signature tunes of lockdown for me...

...And also Picnic By The Motorway, which has a woozy, destitute, hallucinogenic quality (especially in the vocal effect) made me listen to the other single tracks again, before giving the whole album a thorough listen through - a couple of times in fact.

I've now come to appreciate the album as a whole, and find, quite to my astonishment, that I really love it - it's quite a short album, wisely, as too much of that hyper energetic feel would have been wearing, especially without those two deeper cuts as interludes. And so, it's a well judged, well balanced album too.

And so, happening on Amazon a couple of weeks ago, to find this on sale for £14, I grabbed it up, and found this lovely 180g Clear vinyl plays with even greater scale and sweep on a proper system (through big boy speakers) than an MP3 can of course deliver, which unlocks the full audio potential.

The only minor gripe with this pressing - And the Bluetones: Expecting To Fly album I also got on this label: Demon, is how quiet the music is pressed on them - you have to turn the volume way up with this label's pressings it seems... but that's Ok I suppose, as the vinyl itself is silent, and clean sounding, so no amplified pops and crackles etc.

[As stated on both albums - Demon is a BBC company! - who knew!?!]

I may have to delve into other Suede albums now, especially in search of anything that can match By The Sea, for sheer wow factor.

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Magic Marmalade
9th Jul 2024
American Splendor (2003)
Rated 8/10
The joy of joylessness.

I only ever heard of Harvey Pekar relatively recently, and that was through something on tv about this film.

A really inventive, original movie about the everyday life of Mr Pekar, and his pursuit of the idea that those everyday happenings would be the perfect subject matter for a comic book - rejecting the idea that they should be the exclusive preserve of superheroes and the otherwise fantastical in nature... His creation: American Splendor, has since become something of a cult comic, and this movie, is about as meta as you can get...

...Paul Giamatti plays Harvey, and Harvey himself appears in this movie, often narrating, sometimes offering comment on the movie rendering of his life, and the actors, as they tell the tale of his development of this idea, and the events it led to, including the now infamous David Letterman show appearances, which then create a kind of feedback loop of life imitating art, and art imitating life, as his creation, detailing the everyday mundane, comes to reflect the un-everyday events in his life that the comic led to.

A lot of the real people depicted also appear in the movie, as well as the actors portraying them, oftentimes with moments of great mirth - my favourite being when actual Harvey is talking about sweets with his co-worker on a representation of the set used in the movie, but with Giamatti and and the actor playing the co-worker are seated in the background trying not to crack up at surreal conversation they are having about sweet flavours.

In all, it's the story about a man who doesn't buy into the whole fantastical world of comics, and in general, is a pretty glum, depressive type who makes this ordinary world a note of the extraordinary, but also takes a turn when he discovers he has cancer, and this whole experience becomes the topic of a new comic: Our Cancer Year.

The occasional comic book cell framing and the general surreal meta meta nature of the movie really makes this stand out...

(In particular, when Giamatti's Harvey is watching a stage play rendering of his comic about himself is almost a hall of mirrors experience for the audience)

...Yet has the same sort of vibe as Ghost World, and movies of this sort.

A really great, absorbing watch, and likely to inspire those who see it to seek out the original comics - as I am :)

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Latest Items (45worlds)  View All 1208 »

Vinyl Album added by Magic Marmalade  10th Jul 2024:

Suede - Coming Up - Demon - UK (2021)
CD Album added by Magic Marmalade  10th Jul 2024:

Grave Digger - Tunes Of War - GUN - Germany (1996)
CD Single added by Magic Marmalade  17th Apr 2024:

The Wanted - The Wanted (EP) - Mercury - USA (2012)
CD Album added by Magic Marmalade  23rd Feb 2024:

Collective Soul - Hints Allegations And Things Left Unsaid - Atlantic - USA (1994)
CD Album added by Magic Marmalade  19th Feb 2024:

Various Artists - More Adventures In Modern Sounds - WEA - Germany (1984)
Cinema added by Magic Marmalade  11th Feb 2024:

Kiss Of The Dragon (2001)
Cinema added by Magic Marmalade  11th Feb 2024:

Der Krieger Und Die Kaiserin (The Princess And The Warrior) (2000)
CD Album added by Magic Marmalade  8th Feb 2024:

Alan Jackson - A Lot About Livin' And A Little 'Bout Love - Arista - Canada (1992)

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Recently Rated (45worlds)  View All »

Cinema: The Heavenly Kid (1985) -

Rated 6 by Magic Marmalade
Cinema: Walkabout (1971) -

Rated 8 by Magic Marmalade
Cinema: Red State (2011) -

Rated 8 by Magic Marmalade
Vinyl Album: Suede - Coming Up - Demon - UK (2021)

Rated 8 7 7 8 6 7 7 8 9 10 by Magic Marmalade
Cinema: American Splendor (2003) -

Rated 8 by Magic Marmalade
Cinema: Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls (1970) -

Rated 7 by Magic Marmalade

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