Friday, June 18, 2010

Well I didn't have any plans anyway...

So this 26-year-old girl went to see Phish in Portsmouth, Virginia on Tuesday, but after the show, her friends couldn't find her. So they went home. Her parents, being the protective types, freaked out and filed a missing persons report.

Drag Me To Hartford

Laura Pepe and, likely, one of her newfound
traveling companions. I don't get it either.
As it turned out, she just decided that the show was awesome and, not having any other particular plans, decided to catch a few more shows. Apparently she had made some new friends and tagged along with them. Once the acid wore off, she thought it might be prudent to let people know she was alive. She called her parents from somewhere in the DC area yesterday to let them know she was on her way to Hartford.

Hilarious... and proof of why Phish is better than Metallica. The woman who disappeared from a Metallica concert, sadly, was never seen again.

Drag Me To Hell

While Laura was tooling around the U.S. with her new friends, I was, sadly, on haitus from my own Phish tour. But I had an opportunity to see Sam Raimi's first directorial gig since the last "Spider Man" last night, "Drag Me To Hell."

She was probably also at the phish concert.
I've long adored his campy, cheesy, and brilliant horror spoofs, "Evil Dead," "Evil Dead II" and "Army of Darkness." So I was looking forward to seeing his first return to the genre where he cut his teeth since making the giant-budget "Spider Man" trio.

I have to say I was a little disappointed. Perhaps it is a matter of setting one's expectations too high, or perhaps it is that the genre is best suited to a low budget. Or, perhaps, it is that Bruce Cambpell did not even have a cameo. I am not going to describe the plot too much - because there really isn't one. That is never the point of these movies.

Raimi's original low-budget, over-the-top films owed much of their charm to their absurdity and self-deprecation, yet still were groundbreaking technically. The famous scene from Evil Dead II where Cambell is fighting against his own hand is frightening, hilarious, and somehow believable. Drag Me To Hell featured modern production and much better special effects, but the result was often flat.

The best scene in the movie came early on, in which our hero, Christine, is attacked in her car and consequently cursed by the gypsy pictured above. A young woman fighting off a crippled old lady with a stapler? Brilliant. But things kind of deflated after that. The frights were simplistic, and the enemy was intangible and impotent. Most of the demon's chills came in the form of rattling kitchenware, billowing curtains, and an occasional nightmare. So while the sets were lush and lavish, they were a backdrop to relatively uninteresting proceeedings.

There were some positives, most notably the fortune-teller character who Christine consults throughout the movie in her efforts to free herself from the gypsy's curse. He got all the good lines, while most of the other characters were pretty flat. Another scene where Christine meets her boyfriend's parents also has some priceless moments. But unfortunately these bright spots were overwhelmed by a rather plodding pace and pretty uninspired action.

At the end of the day, it was an okay movie. At $30 million, it wasn't exactly a big-budget film either. But Evil Dead II, which was made for $3.5 million more than twenty years ago, did far more with far less.

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