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Books Film Meta

Letterboxd & Goodreads

I’ve decided to change the way I track all of the movies I watch — which I share here mostly in the form of my various movie marathons — and my book reading as well.

For books, I actually did start using Goodreads to track my book reading in 2019 when I decided to increase the number of books I read each year, but it was only at the end of the year that I bothered writing mini-reviews in posts here (2019, 2020). I’ve now copied over all of those mini-reviews to my Goodreads log, and written a few for what I’ve read so far this year (I’ve read 6 of my planned 20). So if you’re curious to follow what I’m reading and my thoughts on those books, I invite you to follow me on Goodreads.

As for the movie stuff, as mentioned, I’ve been writing mini-reviews for the movies that I watch as part of my movie marathons over in the “Debaser” section of this site, which I then sum up in round-up posts for each. In terms of all of the other movies I watch, I usually just write quick thoughts that I share on Twitter — like this thread when I recently started re-watching Wong Kar-wai movies, as well as the films of Zhang Yimou, and Tintin films. I started thinking there might be a better way to share and then track all of this, and remembered Letterboxd (I’ve had an account for years, but never used it). So I’ve gone and added most of my movie watching so far this year there, creating entries for all of the 1981 movies I’ve watched so far, and the other things I’m watching. My intention is to still create round-up posts here when I finish a marathon, like I’ve done in the past. So if you’d like to follow all of my movie viewing — which now include adding a star rating — I invite you to follow me on Letterboxd.

Categories
Debaser Film

My Bloody Valentine (1981)

I definitely remember the VHS box art for this movie, from when I was a kid, but I don’t think I ever got around to watching it — I wasn’t as much of a horror fan back then as I am now. Also, I didn’t know that this is a Canadian film — and after wondering where it was shot because the area and accents felt so familiar, I found out that it was shot in Nova Scotia, not far from where I grew up (in nearby New Brunswick). As for the movie, I thought it was a pretty decent 80s slasher flick — the deaths are pretty gruesome, and the setting (in and around working mines) is actually novel I felt, as is the age of the victims (young adults instead of teens). The setup at the end is also great, and I’m a bit surprised that the reception was apparently pretty negative at the time, and so we never got a sequel (just a remake a couple of decades later). All in all, not a fantastic film or anything, but it was enjoyable to watch.

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Books On Something

Busy Doing Nothing

I’ve been a huge fan of Rekka and Devine’s — better known as Hundred Rabbits — adventures sailing around the world over the past few years, following them through their various posts, tweets, and especially videos that they would share as they sailed from Vancouver, down the coast to Mexico, then to New Zealand, before reaching Japan and then back again. But despite all the following I was doing, it’s reading their book Busy Doing Nothing that gave me the best understanding of what they were actually experiencing and going through as they made those multi-week crossings. From the mind numbing to the fear-for-the-end-of-your-life, the book is an extended log of the 51 days it took them to sail from Japan back to Vancouver, and it’s a fantastic read. As much as I admire what they achieved, there’s no way in hell that I could put myself through something like that, but Busy Doing Nothing at least gave me an intimate look at what they had to endure, both physically and mentally. You can read the raw logs on their website, but I recommend picking up the digital book, as it expands on the entries, with additional info and details, as well as all of the recipes that kept them going through those long days and nights. I can’t recommend this enough.

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Debaser Film

Porky’s

Even before I started watching this I was fully expecting it to be problematic, and oh boy, it sure was. I mean, yes, it’s a product of its time, and rampant sexism and misogyny is pretty much par for the course when it comes to that era’s comedies — especially anything that revolves around teens or college students. At first I was even taken aback by some raw examples of anti-Semitism, although that turns out to be a plot point that becomes surprisingly progressive. Did I laugh? A bit, and of course I was looking forward to that “classic” shower scene. Oh, and what a weird freeze-frame ending.

Categories
Debaser Film

Halloween II (1981)

This was a lot better than I was expecting — it had been so long since I’d last seen it that I really didn’t remember much, other than the fact that it infamously reveals the family connection between Myers and Strode (that has now been eliminated with the new films, that act as direct sequels to the original film only). What I especially like is that it’s a direct continuation of the first film, and basically continues straight from the last scene of that movie, with the action taking place on the same night. The one thing I don’t quite like is that at this point, as far as I can tell, there’s nothing supernatural about Myers, but he gets drilled with so many bullets that it’s really hard to accept that he keeps going. But hey, it’s still a thrilling ride, I love that small town Halloween night setting, and the Carpenter theme song is still one of the best and most effective movie theme songs of all time. Oh, and Carpenter doesn’t direct it, but it’s still written and produced by him.

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Debaser Film

The Final Conflict

I’ve always been a pretty big fan of the Omen movies, and have revisited them a few times over the years. I remember liking the third film as well, even though it takes a bit turn by aging our young Damien, presenting him as an adult — and we also finally veer towards the climax that sees the second coming of Christ, and what our good ol’ son of Satan can do to stop him. It’s still a decent film, with some great sequences throughout, but I find the ending to be a bit too anticlimactic. Seems like Damien is defeated just too quickly and easily, and that scene with the awakening of Christ comes off as a bit cheesy. But I still enjoyed it, and still think that Sam Neill is great as adult Damien.

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Debaser Film

Outland

I didn’t have particularly fond memories of this movie — I’m sure that kid me was probably expecting Bond in space, and that’s definitely not what this is. It’s basically a slow-paced crime drama in space (or more specifically, in a mining colony on the moon of Io), and one that I ended up quite enjoying. Connery plays the role of the marshal well, and I liked the slow build towards the confrontation that we get near the end. I can’t remember if this was generally well reviewed when it originally came out, but I’d say it’s probably underrated, and a decent crime film with the novelty of a sci-fi backdrop.

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Debaser Film

Mad Max 2

Although I knew it as The Road Warrior, the title it had in North America. What a fantastic movie, I absolutely loved revisiting it. It definitely has the same energy that I loved so much in Fury Road, and so it’s quite impressive when you consider the year it came out. The driving scenes and stunts are just so exhilarating, and those bad dudes so iconic — yes, Vernon Wells of course, but even the muscled up main bad dude with the goalie mask. I’d say it’s one of the better films from 1981, no doubt.

Categories
Debaser Film

The Cannonball Run

I loved this movie when I was a kid, and I’m sure I watched it countless times — at least, that’s what it felt like when I watched it again now. But wow, talk about being problematic. Jackie Chan plays a Japanese racer while speaking Cantonese with the odd Japanese word slipped in here and there? I did not remember that. It’s definitely a comedy film of the era, worts and all, but I’ll say that I still found a nostalgic satisfaction in watching it. And they really went all out with the James Bond parody — no wonder the Bond producers were angry (and further Bond actor contracts prevented this sort of thing happening again). Oh, and why the hell does the race start with a punch card and so staggered start, but it ends with an all-out run to who punches in first at the end? Probably best not to ask.

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Debaser Film

Escape from New York

That opening theme song is still so great — I did want to hear it more during the entirety of the film, but then again, there’s something satisfying about the fact that it only plays again at the very end. This is still a very enjoyable film, although I’m a pretty big John Carpenter fan, so I’m definitely biased. It’s just such a neat idea and setting for a film, simple and effective, and it all just works. Great cast too. Makes me look forward to when it’s time for my 1996 movie marathon so I can watch Escape from LA (which I don’t remember fondly, but I’m still curious to watch again).