Dan and I are so “baller” (to use the local term) that we get VIP jump-to-the-front-of-the-line-status at BluJam, our favourite lunch spot. Dan gets this because he will talk to any of the wait staff, and knows all their names and stuff. I really don’t do this and am not comfortable with it but I perceive it as my problem and try and correct it by being friendly to them. Sadly this usually goes wrong and I come off a bit Robert-Patrick-in-T2 whenever I try and be genial. “HAVE YOU SEEN THIS BILL?” However, one of the waitresses in BluJam now knows my name and calls me by it, which is something of a personal victory. I think living in London for 9 years really put the idea in my head that all wait staff absolutely hate all customers, and if you talk to one for even a moment, in their head you are being torn to pieces in a special level of Hell reserved for tedious customers.
BluJam is fucking amazing. The food is outstanding and the tea is world class. Dan and I often prepare ourselves for Margarita Movie (and line our stomachs) with some lunch there beforehand on our way to West LA. We even know other regulars! Ok, Dan knows other regulars. I am acquainted in passing with other regulars. As it turned out some stomach lining was a good idea because this weekend’s film needed some serious alcoholic preparation.
We headed to the Pink Taco and the wait staff there asked us all what film were seeing this week, what we thought of Alice (looks shit), et cetera. Truly we are men-about-town, beloved everywhere we go. Ok, Dan is beloved everywhere he goes. I think the wait staff at the Taco can identify Dan and Miscellaneous Companions that they probably don’t recognise. Actually they probably recognise Han too because he’s Asian. They probably think I am French.
Dan got pretty crunk this week. Favoured brotender Zander hit us with a round of shots on the Pink Taco house because he is just that down, and they were pretty strong. They were the kind of shots where you drink them and then check your teeth afterwards to make sure they didn’t get melted away to the bare nerve endings.
The Crazies is a remake of an old Romero film that I haven’t seen. It’s not quite a zombie film but it really might as well be. It’s this small town, right, in some part of the USA I couldn’t really pick out on a map. As far as I know it could be set in some part of Hollywood I haven’t been to yet, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s in the big middle bit of the USA that’s full of tubby racist god-fearing types.
Timothy Olyphant, who I will always remember as the drug dealer from trying-too-hard-to-be-cool 90s clubbing-and-drugs film Go, is the sheriff in this tiny town. Right from the fucking get go someone starts acting crazy, and I could tell immediately that this film was not going to disappoint in the doing-what-it-says-on-the-tin department. Some guy comes onto a sporting pitch - I believe the sport is called ‘base balls’. It’s like cricket but instead of wickets, it has bases. Very strange. Anyway, this guy strolls on, and he’s CARRYING A GUN. This is definitely crazy behaviour even in America where everyone has guns. The sheriff has to SHOOT HIM IN THE HEAD. It’s the only sane response, and it’s how we can tell that Timothy Olyphant is almost certainly Not Crazy. Timothy Olyphant has a wife who is pregnant, just in case you didn’t grasp just how much of an honest decent hard-working small town American he is. He is probably a Sarah Palin supporter.
At this point, I was full of margaritas so I had to go and do a wee, so I might have missed something. I got back in and there were some hunter types in a swamp, on the hunt for whatever it is people hunt. In this part of the US I expect they were hunting black people. Anyway they stumble across a dead body, and then they stumble across a CRASHED AEROPLANE. This crashed aeroplane, as it turns out, was full of miscellaneous Bad Government Chemicals, and those chemicals, when exposed to humans, make them Crazy.
The 70s roots of the film start to show at this point, and the malevolent faceless government swoops in and starts shooting everyone. Timothy Olyphant and his wife, plus some random girl, plus his deputy Russell, have to go on the run! At this point, with four survivors fleeing the insane infected in a small American town, Han, Dan and I started to have really serious Left 4 Dead flashbacks. We kept fighting the urge to shout things like HORDE COMING and BEHIND YOU GET THE HEALTHPACK QUICK QUICK.
I don’t want to sound like a psycho, but there are a lot of awesome killings in this film. At one point the army guys shoot some people, and after they shoot them, they set them on fire. For those of you who haven’t played Left 4 Dead with us, that’s Dan’s exact style of play, except he applies the cleansing flame to friend and foe alike.
Deputy Russell is the real hero of the day. He’s so sensible that he puts bullets into anything that acts even slightly crazy. Disaster strikes, however, when he starts to act a little crazy himself. However, Russell is SUCH a solid bro that he sacrifices his own crazy self so that Timothy Olyphant and his pregnant wife can murder a few more Crazies before making their way to the nearest major population center.
The thing that strikes me about this film is, we’re meant to be cheering the survivors on as they evade the government, desperately trying to make it to the nearest big town. Except… there’s a biological plague on the loose! What if they’re carriers? It just strikes me as completely irresponsible.
I never meant to cause you any sorrow, I never meant to cause you any pain, I only wanted one time to see you laughing, I only want to see you laughing in the SCALE scale!
S - Story: A solid 7. This story makes sense. It’s not going to blow your mind but it’s coherent, everything is explained adequately, and it’s self-contained. Even though Dan leaning over and saying “THAT’S CRAZY” was beginning to wear a little thin by the end of the film, there was a lot of enjoyment to be had in this film, and it was a fairly solid Margarita Movie.
C - Comedy: There is a lot of amusing violence and craziness in this film. At one point we think our heroes are going to make it to safety in their stolen police car, and an Apache Gunship swoops by and blows it the fuck up. 8!
A - Awesomeness: Zombies, even pseudo-zombies that talk and act crazy, are an automatic high score. 8.
L - Ladies: Pretty much nothing to report. I can’t remember what the pregnant wife looks like, and all the other girls in the film are too busy getting murdered to look pretty. 2.
E - Et Cetera: As Team Margarita Movie is a beautiful rainbow of ethnicities, we tend to take note of the racial aspects of films. Dan is black, Han is Asian, and I am white. This gives us license to make a lot of slightly off-colour racist jokes, like Dan’s current habit of saying things like “LAWDY LAWDY YOU SHO’ NUFF SHOULDN’A GOT EATEN BY THAT ZOMBIE, MISTAH NICK!” while playing Left 4 Dead, or referring to Han as ‘Johnny Chinaman’ or asking him if when he calls his mother he has to remember her extension on the boat. Sometimes I wonder if we’re all just joshing each other in the spirit of total acceptance and togetherness, or whether we’re really crossing the line, and Han and Dan call me a dirty fucking racist imperialist when I’m not around. Anyway, there are zero Asians in this film and one black guy. The black guy has about half a line, and then the next time you see him his eyes and mouth are literally sewn shut, presumably by someone Crazy. He has just enough time to say LOOK BEHIND YOU when his lips get unsewed, and then we never see him again. This is the sort of thing that Team Margarita Movie takes notice of while we’re on our quest to rid the world of racism, so I can’t give this film any higher than a 4 for Et Cetera.
Next Week: THE GREEN ZONE IDENTITY or whatever it is. We’re scared it’s not going to be a solid actioner and will have some boring grim parts. But after that it’s Repo Men, Hot Tub Time Machine and Clash of the Titans, so all we have to do is make it until the week after next and we are GOLDEN.