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A Goth’s Look at Westerns – For Charlie

Since January of this year, I’ve been sending my stepfather, Charlie, our favourite westerns every couple of weeks or so.

I shopped on and quietly sent them to my mother’s home in Northern Alberta. The DVDs started dribbling in from various sellers around Canada – each one a mysterious little parcel wrapped in bashed-up bubble wrap, with strange return addresses written in dripping Sharpie ink.

After a bunch of these movies arrived, mother called me one day on my cell, frantically concerned that she and her husband were signed up to an oddly specific Columbia House service or were being targeted by a cowboy-loving stalker.

I guess I’ve been called worse names.

My stepfather loves westerns. Hell, he lived westerns. He collected rifles, travels out to his hunting lodge in the fall, can gut and quarter a deer with amazing speed and facility, and rode on horseback to tend to his cattle.

He is one of a handful of people on the planet who can wear a cowboy hat with absolutely no irony whatsoever. No one would ever (ever) laugh at him wearing cowboy boots and ten-gallon hat. And not just because he’s 6′ 4″ with calloused hands the size of dinner plates.

My stepfather watching westerns was a big part of my life when I was a sullen, twitchy adolescent. Now that I’m a sullen, twitchy adult, I appreciate that early exposure to westerns a whole heap of a lot.

This list is for you, Charlie. Have a very happy birthday. The movies will keep on a-coming.

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Mad Max: Fury Road

madmaxfuryroad_2015“My world is reduced to a single instinct: Survive.”

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Where do I even begin? Mad Max: Fury Road is the Jupiter Symphony of post-apocalyptic films. It is El Greco’s La Crucifixion, Dali’s Soft Construction with Boiled Beans, van Gogh’s Starry Night and Gauguin’s When Will You Marry? – blown up, burned down and crushed into a flaming, oil-smoking ball of brilliant colour and spectacle. It is a great, dusty, violent, beautiful world’s-gone-mad opus.

Which is to say I really liked it. No, I love it. Adore it! Gargle, blargle, drool.

Shiny and chrome!

Why haven’t you seen this movie yet?!

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Goon (2011)

“Why don’t you give me your number and I promise that I’ll never call you.”

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I am not a big hockey person. Actually, that statement’s not really true. I am vaguely – very vaguely – aware a sport named hockey exists. Come to think of it, I am vaguely aware that something called sports exist.

Sure, I used to play a hockey video game at an arcade on Yonge Street a fair amount. But that arcade no longer exists, and therefore, my tenuous connection to this thing called hockey ended too.

However, a movie like Goon with its charming smile of broken, bloody teeth might just convince me that hockey is worth a little more of my time. Maybe.

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A Geek’s Month in Review: April 2015

Hacker Renders
I won’t try too hard to defend our lack of productivity this month. To wit: something something April foolishness.

See, we’re geeky, very geeky, even our resident Goth person. In a month which saw the wholesale flood of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix, a new Dice Masters D&D game, and the start of barbecue season, we simply didn’t get around to watching as much after taking care of real life.

None of which precluded some cool Canadian content news. Last week, World Film Locations shared TIFF’s latest top ten list, which spans about thirty years now, surveying the best in home-grown movies. Read more…

In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914)

IntheLandoftheHeadHunters_1914“O that we might go, beloved, walking hand in hand along the misty path of copper.”

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Sometimes I take things for granted. I forget what’s important.

We have toiled away for many (many) years on this site. Late last month in fact, we quietly slipped past the five-year anniversary of During our half decade of doing this, a great deal has changed in our lives.

The site has been the one thing that has consistently endured. Sometimes we wander off (and by we I mean me) but we always return to it.

It matters.

Receiving a copy of In the Land of the Head Hunters in the mail the other day reminded me what we do all of this for. Getting access to this film was more than a little like receiving a crumbling scrap of the Magna Carta or a map to an ancient treasure in a bubble wrap envelope.

This film is an actual treasure. As Canadian film fanatics, how could we not jump at the chance to get our grubby mitts on the oldest surviving feature film made in Canada?

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1981 (2009)

1981 (2009)

“The damn truth only works if everybody’s telling it. If it’s only you, it’s useless.”

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Once again I’m confounded by my inadequacy. I feel I’m utterly inappropriate to review this video, not because I can’t express my reactions to it, but because it hits so close to home.

With 1981, writer/director Ricardo Trogi has crafted (and narrated) a work based on his own life. The details may vary slightly — I’m not a particular fan of hockey or the Seventies rock band KISS — and in other aspects very greatly, but the end result moved me to tears at the vivid mirror it held up to my past.

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R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy (1931 – 2015)

Leonard Nimoy

“I would not remind you of that which you know so well.” (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)


Today a living legend became simply legend.

In the days to come thousands, maybe millions, will celebrate the late Leonard Nimoy, who has passed away at the age of 83. They will ruminate on his faith, his photography and, of course, whether he was or was not Spock.

I know too little of the man himself to add much to those conversations. I have only my memories, associations, and an odd kind of ruefulness.

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