Movies

Limited Editions Unlimited Bullshit: Twilight Time Edition

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I have about 4,000 records. Give or take. It’s hard to keep track with a collection that spans two continents. A lot of time people ask me what the “most valuable” record in my collection is, and to be honest, I rarely know of the top of my head. That’s the kind of thing that changes on a regular basis. Skimming my Discogs page right now, it would appear that the most valuable record in my stacks is my copy of Velvet Underground & Nico, complete with in-tact banana and Verve sticker on the back. On a good day my copy can probably go for about $300 – $400. Most of the other very valuable records in my collection go for around $100 – $200, and include hard-to-find vintage soundtracks, a ton of rare Pearl Jam and Nirvana LPs, and a few old Krautrock first pressings.

Most of these have one thing in common: they weren’t designed to be collectibles, it just kind of worked out that way. The Nirvana and Pearl Jam LPs were pressed at a time when no one was buying vinyl, so they were made to fit a very low demand. Ditto for the soundtracks. The Krautrock records are valuable because demand for them has grown tremendously over the years, and mine happen to be in very good condition – which in itself is a rarity.

My point is that I have nothing against collectibles. I’m a collector after all. I get that people want rare shit. That the act of it being rare makes it a commodity. And that the “thrill of the hunt” is part of what makes collecting records, games, or anything for that matter, so fun.

But while I love rare items, genuine scarcities whose value has increased due to unforeseen circumstances, “collectible” materials, items made scarce on purpose for no other reason than to limit supply versus demand, piss me the fuck off.

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Instant Finds – Rolling Thunder

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Revenge movies are a tricky thing.

On one end of the spectrum you have violent power fantasies like The Crow, Desperado or Machete; unrealistic hyper-violent orgies of death and destruction that paint vigilante justice as a swift and powerful sword of righteousness.

On the other end are movies like I Saw The Devil, Hard Candy and Memento, which suggest that when someone takes the law into their own hands they risk turning into the very monsters that they are after.

And then there’s Rolling Thunder, a 1977 revenge thriller co-written by Paul Schrader, which seems to straddle the line between both sides, suggesting that while vigilante justice may be “right” in some cases, you’re not going to come out a better person having committed it.

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Vinyl Review: Daft Punk – Get Lucky 12″ Single

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Remixes have always been a part of dance music, but it seems like they matter now more than they ever did before.

It’s always the remix that gets played at the club. It’s the remix that takes a summer festival crowd by storm. It’s the remix that charts at Beatport. If the modern ‘EDM’ scene has proven one thing, it’s that if you want your track to really take off and get that crossover appeal, you better be ready to hand it off to every DJ and producer in the world to let them dismantle and reconstruct it in their own image (especially if that image is “sick dubstep“).

So when Daft Punk announced that they would be handling all the remixes for the singles from Random Access Memories, a lot of people were taken aback. Still, it kind of made sense. For whatever reason, most remixes of Daft Punk tracks tend to fall flat. They always seem to strip away what makes the original tracks unique, and instead just transform them into standard, boring club tunes (Glitch Mob excluded).

But even if Daft Punk had given “Get Lucky” to a thousand producers, DJs and other artists to remix “Get Lucky” to their heart’s content, it’s safe to say that none of them would have taken the track and done what Daft Punk did with it, which is hardly anything at all.

Although that’s not really a bad thing.

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Instant Finds: The Apple

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Disco was the hottest thing in music for a good chunk of the 70s and into the 80s, and during that time Hollywood certainly took advantage, with blockbusters like Saturday Night Fever and The Wiz.

But disco-themed hits seemed to be few and far between, and for every Saturday Night Fever there seemed to be at least three Can’t Stop The Musics. Hollywood just couldn’t translate disco’s success into box office dollars, apparently.

One of the biggest bombs that tried to cash in both on the disco craze and the surprise success of Grease was The Apple, 1980 musical produced and directed by Menahem Golan, the b-movie god behind such “classics” as Delta Force, Superman IV and The Masters of the Universe.

The second I found out about this film, I knew I had to see it. A disco musical directed by the man who decided that Dolph Lundgren should star as He-Man in a feature-length film? C’mon.

I knew it would be bad. I knew it would be a spectacle. I knew it would be ridiculous.

I did not know it would be an allegory for the rapture.

The Apple is a weird film.

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Instant Finds: D.C. Cab

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I think that sometimes it’s important to look at context when judging a film from the past. What were its contemporaries, what were the critical hits of the year, what trends were popular, what movies tapped into the public zeitgeist, what movies bombed.

In 1983, the best picture winner was Terms of Endearment. Linda Hunt won an Oscar for playing a man in The Year Of Living Dangerously. Return Of The Jedi would earn its place as the worst Star Wars movie, a title it would keep for nearly 20 years.

Those are the facts that people remember today. Those are the movies that have held up. But if you look at 1983 in terms of box office, an entirely different trend emerges; a trend of incredibly stupid films. And when I mean stupid, I mean some of the dumbest, most mind-numbingly idiotic movies of all time: Octopussy, Staying Alive, Mr. Mom, Superman III, Blue Thunder, Jaws 3-D, Porky’s II, Easy Money, Spring Break, these all just didn’t come out in 1983, there were massive hits, some of the biggest movies of the year. Mr. Mom out-grossed both Silkwood and The Outsiders!

It is in this climate that D.C. Cab was unleashed upon moviegoers, and they deemed it good enough to somehow make a profit, with the box office declaring it worse than Krull and My Tutor, but still better than Stroker Ace and Smokey & The Bandit Part III.

And you know what? Yeah, that sounds about right.

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Instant Finds: Can’t Stop The Music

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I saw the Village People live at a free concert once. While I went to the show to poke fun at them and their ridiculousness, I actually ended up having a lot of fun. The Village People, to this day, are great performers. They know how to work a crowd, and their music, while silly and simple, is still a lot of fun to dance to, especially in a crowd of a few thousand.

But while I enjoyed the concert, at no point afterward did I think to myself, “I’m going to go out and buy some Village People records!” I can’t imagine why anyone ever wanted to. Their music is made to be enjoyed live, or at the very least in a disco.

So the idea that someone could see the Village People live and not only think, “these guys are a musical tour de force, I need to buy all their albums” but also “and someone needs to make a movie about them too!” blows my fucking mind.

Because that totally happened.

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Instant Finds: Revenge Of The Ninja

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The 80s were a magical time, filled with synthesizers, amazing hair, and motherfucking ninjas.

And when you’re talking about 80s ninjas, you gotta talk about Sho Kasugi.

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Shut Up And Listen To The Music – The Death of Concert Etiquette (and How to Save it)

You’re at a concert for a band you love. You’ve waited months, maybe years to see them live. You’re stoked.

The lights dim. The band takes the stage. Immediately they cut into one of their fastest, most intense numbers. The crowd is pumped, they’re jumping up and down. They’re singing along. They’re screaming. It’s everything a concert should be and more.

About three or four songs in the band decides to slow it down a bit, crank out that ballad or quiet acoustic number. It may not be a Top 40 single, it may not be a fan favorite, but you love it.

And that’s when you hear it.

Not the song, but the assholes behind you babbling up a storm.

“Oh my god, check out this text” says one them, staring intently at their phone while ignoring the artist they paid good money to see.

“Wow, I can’t believe that! Oh my god that reminds me you won’t believe what happened yesterday,” says the other twit.

Now they’re both staring at each other, talking loudly. They’re right behind you. You can hear them as well as you can the music. You glare at them but they’re so involved in their own little world that they don’t even notice. Eventually it gets to be too much, and you move.

“Dude! What the fuck! Fuck this boring song!” says the loud bro behind you. His friend nods in agreement.

You move again.

“No! No! I’m right here! I’M RIGHT HERE! I’ll raise my hand!”

Move again.

“Dude Dude dude let me past you come on, I gotta get up front, dude, dude, be cool dude.”

Again.

“PLAY [BIG HIT] I LOVE YOU!”

This is a problem.

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Instant Finds – Dungeonmaster

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The Devil vs. Bill Gates.

That’s the best way to sum up The Dungeonmaster, an ultra low-budget 1983 schlockfest from Charles Band’s Empire Pictures. A mainstay of video stores throughout the 80s, the out-of-print film is now on Netflix (on a transfer that looks like it was dubbed from a VHS tape) allowing new generations to discover and finally learn the answer to the question, “Can you defeat the devil with DOS?”

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Review: Blade Runner Original Soundtrack (Audio Fidelity Edition)

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It’s easy to forget, but when Blade Runner was first released in cinemas in 1982, the film was both a commercial and critical dud. It wasn’t until the Director’s Cut was released to theaters ten years later that many began to turn around on the film and see it for the sci-fi classic that it is now considered to be.

However, one point that was never in contention even during the harshest critiques of the film was its score. Composed by Vangelis, who also brought us the iconic Chariots of Fire theme, it was instantly lauded as sensational, and even earned itself several award nominations.  Oddly enough though, an official soundtrack was never released during the film’s original run. Instead all fans got was an album of “orchestral interpretations,” something that was not at all representative of Vangelis’ haunting, mostly synthesized, score. It would take over 10 years for the actual soundtrack to see the light of day. But by the time it was released in 1994, LPs were at an absolute nadir in terms of sales, so it was only given a CD release.

Now, over 30 years since the film’s original release, the original soundtrack has been released properly on vinyl, thanks to re-issue label Audio Fidelity. And while I wouldn’t say it’s been worth the wait, fans who were holding out all these years for a vinyl copy of the film’s iconic score probably will not be disappointed.

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