Things We Like: Obscure Lads, Slapstick Gore and Counting Down
Once again, we’re running “Things We Like” early this week so that the Monkey Goggles crew can cut out early today and sleep in on Friday. Best wishes to you and yours in the new year!
Put your computer or laptop to work one more time this decade by making it count down these last few moments of 2009. Yugo Nakamura’s classic “Industrious Clock” will scribble out a new decade right before your eyes with a number-two pencil. Billy Chasen’s clock will spell out 2010 through acrobatics. Pixel Breaker’s “Polar Clock” is a perfect future clock for future times. LeoGeo’s “Timebeat” clock measures out every second as a tick of a pulse and a swirl of faded numbers. And the “Human Clock” by Craig Giffen will yield a different time-themed photo every minute until the ball drops. Or, just go off your iPhone; everyone else will, and at the end of the day decade, it doesn’t really matter. No matter which way you choose, we’ll all of us get to the year we make contact. Hello, Future, we’re here! Open the pod bay doors! – Geoff Carter
A swinging singles cruise ship captained by an intoxicated Cameron Mitchell accidentally sails to a mysterious island inhabited by virgin-eating monks who are re-animating the corpses of disgraced martial arts masters in order to create an army of kung fu zombies. Sound preposterous? Hell, that stuff is just for starters—throw in a Hitler look-alike, piranhas, the members of the Burbank Karate Club, a gratuitous trip to a Philippine whorehouse, plenty of cornball humor, white slavery, lots of dumbfounding kung fu (with an emphasis on the “dumb”), exploding toy boats, slapstick gore, and an abundance of sleaze, and you’re still barely scratching the surface of what makes “Raw Force” such an incredibly crappy but utterly irresistible chop-socky comedy. I wish they spent more time with the ridiculous zombie/monk plot instead of the antics of the goofball heroes, but the film ends with the promise of a sequel (!), so there’s always hope. – Spenser Hoyt
The Beatles had a good sense of humor and were pretty funny guys. This gets lost because we’ve all heard their songs and listened to their interviews so often that the humor is lost in the deadening thud of endless repetition. I recently had to point out the bad pun in their name to someone who replied with a weak shrug, but no laughter.
Humor about the Beatles has to be incredibly well-informed to be funny. The Rutles, Eric Idle’s pre-Spinal Tap fake band documentary, established a high-water mark for insider references that wasn’t equaled until the “Simpsons” episode “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet.” This year, Chuck Klosterman may have topped them both with his essay/review of the Beatles box set that pretends that instead of being the most successful group in the history of the world, the Beatles were just another garage band from the 1960s that was so unsuccessful that their music isn’t even on iTunes. His alternate-reality review, free of 45 years of obsessive pop-cultural nattering and obsession, is a treat for everyone that knows way more about the Beatles and rock history than they care to admit. – David Wahl