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What I Watched Last Night

Bears kinda sucked and the Seahawks kinda sucked, but the Bears kinda sucked less. Bears kickers Brad Maynard and Robbie Gould did not suck. That's the only relevant observations necessary for anyone whose Sunday afternoons don't revolve around football.

*

IN THIS EDITION:
- At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul
- Bad Girls Club
- Dirt
- The Surreal Life: Fame Games

*

The high point of my weekend watching was Friday night's At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul, a 1963 black and white Brazilian horror flick on the Independent Film Channel. I'm not big on subtitled movies because I tend to miss something important in the acting while I'm busy with the subtitles, but it was almost midnight and I'd never seen how Brazilians go about swiping souls. I also hung around because it's been a long time since I'd seen anything not presented by a major corporation uncut and commercial-free. This probably means IFC will have its own soul stolen within the year, too.

Take three parts Ed Wood and toss in one part Fellini and you have At Midnight, a movie which demonstrates why weekend late nights haven't been the same since WGN killed off "Creature Features" a few decades ago. Ze do Caixo (Jose Mojica Marins) is the town undertaker with the huge case of really bad juju. Also known as Coffin Joe, Ze looks a lot like a creepy, unibrowed Abe Lincoln on crank with funky teeth, bony fingers with long, sharp fingernails, and black top hat and long cape. When he's not busy freaking the bejeezus out of everyone in the village and eating greasy meat on Holy Friday, he's beating them up and teaching dudes who don't pay up at the card table deserve to feel like Eric Roberts in The Pope of Greenwich Village by having their fingers lopped off with a broken booze bottle.

It might also be where someone at Wendy's ad agency got their now-famous "Where's the beef?" line. Seriously. It's in there.

The Internet Movie Database manages to describes Ze better than I could: He is "just such an all-around dick that ya just gotta love him. He just don't give a fuck. He'll whip ya, poke your eyes out, rape your girl - it just don't matter to him, cuz like ol' Joe'll tell you himself: when he wants something, he gets it."

Aside from his questionable taste in women, much of Ze's deep-seated angst lies in his barren wife Lenita's (Valeria Vasquez) inability to provide him a son because when you're the freakiest dude in town, good mortuary help is hard to find. A woman like that, he comments, "needs no care," so she needs to die so he can be free to find the perfect woman who will be able give him a son. He doesn't go into much detail about the kind of testing available in Brazil to foretell that sort of thing, but still. So he ethers Lenita, gags and binds her to their bed, kills her with a tarantula, and sets his hypnotic, bloodshot eyes on his friend Antonio's fiancee, Terezinha. Terezinha, of course, is creeped out by him just like everyone else in town, and she gives him a good bite on the lower lip to show she's serious about it, dammit.

The plot thickens when Ze, Antonio, and Terezinha visit a mysterious gypsy for the briefest fortune-telling session on record. She immediately informs Antonio that he'll die that night, but she's not a very good businesswoman for being a gypsy because "the laws of the supernatural prevent me from taking payment when death is foretold." Jeez, you'd think she'd just keep her mouth shut, take the money, buy herself some light bulbs and indoor plumbing, and just let the poor sap be surprised just like everyone else when they get run over by a horse or something.

Ze, of course, thinks all this fortune-telling stuff is a bunch of hooey. So, unaware that caving in the skull of your only friend in town with a fireplace poker and then strangling and drowning him in his bathtub makes it tough to rustle up a bridge partner, it's not much of an endearing quality to Terezinha, either. Ze's also unaware that buying a canary from the local gin mill isn't much of a way to win the heart of a woman who finds you repulsive even *before* you killed her boyfriend, so he beats and rapes her. She hangs herself out of shame, but not before promising to take Ze's soul by midnight.

I didn't see the rest of the film beyond this point, so I'm not sure how someone goes about stealing the soul of someone who has no soul. But I'm guessing things ended badly enough for Ze.

Coincidentally, Coffin Joe and Marins are still popular cult film figures. According to IMDB, Marins is doing post-production work on the Coffin Joe vehicle "Encarnacao do Demonio" (Devil's Reincarnation). Whether it'll be shot on a Wal-Mart budget in spooky black-and-white is anyone's guess, but if you can manage to dig up At Midnight at one of your better video retailers, I'd certainly recommend it.

*

I'd never seen Oxygen's Bad Girls Club before Saturday, but after this season's final few episodes, it's not likely that I'll see it again anytime soon during its upcoming season. Not because it's a bad show, inasmuch as reality TV is always bad. Actually, it's fairly tolerable as a chick TV train wreck. No, it's because the resident lush has left the program, leaving little chance for a repeat of Reality TV's Most Awesome Catfight Ever.

The show follows the same "Big Brother/Real World" formula: Stick a mess of spoiled brats in their early 20s who are bound to clash in the same house for three or four months and see how long it takes for them to kill each other in their sleep. I can't figure out what made these women score their own show, other than a few of them somewhat resembling certain celebrities. But the thing I can't figure out even more is what - beyond drinking too much, screwing around on their boyfriends halfway across the country with slimy dance club douchebags, and annoying us with overwrought Chick Drama - makes these girls so bad. You might hope they'd pass some bad checks, do some shoplifting, or join a street gang, but you'd hope wrong. And now the baddest one of the bunch has left the building as one of the more ambitious booze/anger management projects known to the rehab industry.

Like every other reality TV show with a Dedicated Lush Who Makes Everyone's Life Miserable, this role was filled by a Paris Hilton lookalike named Ripsi. Which probably explains a bit about her bad attitude. As with any other young woman spoiled rotten without much to do in life beyond replicate Louis Vuitton's entire wardrobe, Tipsy Ripsi had an affinity for vodka shooters at nine in the morning, drunk yoga, not eating much, and pretzel logic that says the best way to sober up is to drink more. Like any other binge drinker with simmering deep-seated hostilities toward those you think are more perfect than you, you knew it was just a matter of time for the cork to pop.

Which brings us to Reality TV's Most Awesome Catfight Ever.

Like most of history's incredibly good catfights, this one was fueled by an entire bottle of tequila. Just when you think Ripsi has finally passed out, she becomes possessed by Tequila Satan, suddenly bolting awake more than once. Each instance, she goes off on a full-blown assault of the kitchen, a waiflike Sissy Spacek lookalike named Kerry, and a sleeping Jewel lookalike whose name I don't recall. A lot of hair gets pulled, a throat gets wrung, some serious facial punches are thrown and land, there's blood and black eyes, and Ripsi learns the same thing dead Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones did about incredibly drunk people ending up in a swimming pool.

Of course, no dedicated binge drinker would be worth anything without the blackouts, so naturally, Ripsi doesn't recall a thing. "I'm usually a happy drunk," she says, but she's forced from the house anyway. This leaves walking bad attitude and Ashlee Simpson lookalike Aimee - the dedicated ugly duckling and only non-blonde white chick in the house - as the odds-on favorite to sink a pair of scissors into someone's forehead.

*

Friday left me still trying to figure out whether Dirt is all that, mainly because Courteney Cox's act as editor Lucy Spiller seems like it's trying to find a way to fit into a dress that's too big. In this episode, schizophrenic paparazzo Don photographs the same dead starlet - twice - for the Dirt cover and starts hallucinating her in bed with him, a Mexican domestic plays tabloid snitch hardball and scores 100 grand in cash and a 200 grand villa for her family back home, and Lucy demonstrates that when under the stress of trying to reduce overhead by 20 percent, a girl's best friend is her vibrator.

*

All you need to know about Sunday morning's second installment of The Surreal Life: Fame Games: Verne "Mini Me" Troyer gives everyone rides on his motorized scooter, manages to piss off a female clown, and informs everyone he's a dwarf dammit, not a midget. The elimination game was "What's Charo Saying?" and we're left with this priceless, Yogi Berra-esque nugget from ex-wrestler Joanie "Chyna Doll" Laurer:

"Ignorance is alright if you don't know."

Scott Buckner likes to watch.



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Posted on January 15, 2007


MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
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BOOKS - All About Poop.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.


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