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Monday, August 22, 2011



You guys, if nothing else, this has been a lot of fun.

This was a long Summer - a looooooooooooooooooong Summer - but not one as laborious and dreary as I'd originally predicted.  On one hand, I managed to keep my niece alive for an entire three months, an accomplishment that, if you know me, was surely not a guarantee at the outset.

On another hand, I managed to get through a lot of my own work whilst caring for said infant.  Though at times my comfy little dwelling did indeed begin to feel cave-like, I never went insane (any more than I already am)!  This is to be applauded.

And on someone else's hand...I DID get out to see movies this Summer.  Man, did I ever.  Once we chucked the kid out I went on a filmic bender that I'm still just weaning myself off of.  It feels good.

But if you want to know the truth, my favorite part of the Summer was the Summer Movie Cave.

Mostly, it was just a once-weekly trivia question that took place on my Twitter account and resulted in someone getting a movie or two (or several) shipped to their residence in an extremely untimely fashion - apologies again for being so patently terrible at getting to the post office.  Writing out address labels just BLOWS, frankly.  And don't get me started on my local postal workers.  Where was I?

Right - but I digress.  This Summer, I got to feel like I was killing two birds with one stone.  Part one of that was entirely me making sure a few of you got to see/own some cool shit to make up karmically for the fact that I wasn't able to venture out to the cinema as much as I wanted to/used to.  And it's funny - the more people came along for the Summer Movie Cave stuff, the more many of them actively engaged me in discussion about an array of different films.  Which is all I could have hoped for, and it made me feel less like I existed in a pool of drying cement these past few months.

Part two is because of this: I spent 28 years of my life on the outside looking in on the world of making movies.  As I was growing up, it seemed very simple to me: I went to a movie and I either liked it or I didn't.  If I did, I just smiled the whole way home and then thought about the experience over and over and over until the NEXT time I went to the movies.  And if I didn't like it, I usually wondered why.  Sometimes, "That was just STUPID," was enough, but more often than not I found myself - even if just subconsciously - tinkering mentally with what might have made it better, or more interesting, or funnier, or...well, it was very upsetting occasionally.

But no matter whether I was entranced or upset, the connective tissue was always the same: man, I want to do that someday.

Well, half of you did or do that too, so you know what I'm talking about.  I think a fair share of us have spent enough time laying in bed looking up at the ceiling and thinking about what we would do if WE could make movies.

And then all of a sudden things changed for me, and for the last three years, I'm on the inside looking out.  And it's weird, because you're taught not to wish for something because you just might get it, implying that "it" isn't all it's cracked up to be.  Well, with a very few frustrating exceptions...I'm having a ball.  I'm going out of my way to make my now-profession exactly what I want it to be.  And it's better than any dream I ever had about it, because - warts and all - it's real.

And so, for lack of a better term, this has been one big, giant "Thank You".  Not just to the people who've participated in the game or sent emails and Twitters or who helped get the word out there along the way, but just to movie lovers in general.  I'm in the fortunate and absurdly awesome position I'm in right now because people love movies, and almost always to levels and for reasons they can't totally understand.  And you know what's wrong with that?  Nothing.  And sometimes, it makes sense to reward obsession for obsession's sake, and if I can give back to that just a teensy bit and have a good time in the process...well, fuck yes that's what I'm going to do.

So thanks for being movie fans.  Thanks for helping me get to where I am.  And thanks for playing along.

And with that, this week, we'll be giving away all of the following to ONE person only:

That's right: be the first to nail the trivia question at the end of this week and you get an X-MEN Trilogy on Blu-ray, a SUPERMAN Anthology on Blu-ray, a LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy: Extended Edition on Blu-ray and a LOST: THE COMPLETE SERIES on Blu-ray.  Why?  Because why not, goddamnit?  Stop asking questions and LIVE, man.

Now the downer note: if you were one of the previous winners of ANY of these four titles (both Blu-ray and DVD, in some cases), I'm sorry, but you're ineligible for the Final.  Gotta even things out, you know?

Also, this contest is going to work just a LITTLE differently for no real reason other than that I want you all to scramble a bit.  Just a bit.

1. The trivia question will contain two answers.  One will be an actor or actress; the other will be a film in which they appeared.

2. To answer the question correctly, you must name the actor or actress AND you must name the film in question AND you must provide a picture of (or a link to) the BLU-RAY COVER ART for said film in question AND you must use the #SUMMERMOVIECAVE hashtag.  All in one Tweet.

3. Good luck.

Seriously, you guys have helped make this Summer a hell of a lot of fun for me, and that's way better than the veritable Hell I was expecting.  Hope your was just as good, and again, thanks for playing along.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011



I am not going to lie: the last few weeks have been rough.  A little in a good way (work, and that I have it to do) and a little in a bad way, (fuck you, strep throat!).  Basically, I've been annihilated, but I know you don't care, so I'm going to make this short.  And then next week, our last Summer Movie Cave week, I'm going to write you a big, wet kiss goodbye and blow your fucking minds.

And luckily, this week's prize really needs no introduction.  What's said about the movies has been said.  What's written has been written.  There's nothing I can add...except that I'm giving away two of these:

Don't call it a comeback.

That's right: this week, I'm giving away two copies of THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY: EXTENDED EDITION.  If just having the theatrical releases on Blu-ray ain't good enough, by dammit, this had better be.

God luck, trolls.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011



First of all, I am sorry for going away for so long; I know there are tens of you that were shaken to the depths of your mortal coil by the Cave's absence.  The good news is: I'm now back!  But I'm going to keep this short as hell as I'm rather busy and really, really, really fucking important.

I've given away a very cool TV-related prize already and I decided there was room for one more before I blow the doors off this shit with the last two movie prizes of the Summer.  However, that don't mean this week's prize is no slouch, and I have a feeling that a hell of a lot of you are going to be pushing and shoving (Internetally speaking) to get your hands on this.

This week, the Summer Movie Cave is spitting out TWO copies of the PARTY DOWN Complete Series on DVD.

Simply put, this is one of the greatest TV shows ever, and I mean that sincerely.  It was a passion project for everyone involved, from the writers to the cast to the producers and on and on and on.  They generally didn't get much notice for it and had to produce it on a shoestring budget, and isn't it always under those conditions that the best stuff springs from?  In any event, it was note-perfect in writing and performance, and saying that it's one of my favorites is a hideous understatement.

If you're not a fan of the show, talk to someone who is and watch them go red in the face trying to explain their excitement for it.  If you're already a fan of the show, I'll expect to see you front and center on Twitter this Friday.

Next week we come back even bigger, and the week after that, for the final giveaway of the Summer...well, shit.  You're just not going to believe THAT one.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011



After a week off to rest its weary head, Summer Movie Cave is back.  There might be some of you that find this week's contest a step back from previous offerings - and that's OK.  Allow me to say, however, that if you are in this "some of you" group, you're a dickface.

Because I might be giving away just three two-film DVD packs this week, but these are no mere DVDs.

First up, in honor of my niece's (the original Summer Movie Cave catalyst herself) last week in the humble LaTulippe abode, I'm giving away a cartoon.  No, not PONYO - I don't hate you guys.  But rather, one of my favorite animated features when I was a kid: THE BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER.

This shit is adorable, especially the blanket.  Part of this is fuzzy, safe kid's cartoon.  But a bigger part of this is a dark, often scary parable about not only what it means to grow up, but to be left behind.  When I was a kid, there were few things more frightening...and I latched onto this movie like a swamp leech.  I remember specifically the day I recorded this off the Disney channel, and I can remember very clearly the day several years later when we had to retire the VHS tape, as I'd abused it like a stepchild.  Now, as an adult, it's been fun to watch my niece - much younger than I was when I first saw it - not only have fun with the colors and the sounds but to watch her put on the Serious Face when she seems to know, instinctively, that these little animated inanimate characters are in peril.

Animation in general can be too cutesy at times, too on the nose, and can shamelessly go for the lowest common denominator without ever actually becoming entertaining.  It can be "kids' stuff".  But the BRAVE LITTLE TOASTER is well above that level, and if you've never seen it, you're going to thank me.  If you win this week.  Which you probably won't.  But still.

The second film in this two pack is one of my all-time favorites - THE CABINET OF DR CALIGARI.

Immediately you might be thinking, "What the fuck, man?  You're teaming up a kids' movie with a surreal, creepy-ass German Expressionist film?  You're awesome.  What's wrong with you?"  And here's the deal:

There's no significance, no connection, no greater theme.  It just so happened that Kino put out an awesome DVD of the film and the shipments of it and BLT toaster showed up at the same time, and I figured what the hell.

I hope you don't know of and hopefully have never even heard of CALIGARI, because I went in with no expectations and it totally blew me away ten or so years ago.  Parts of it still creep me the hell out, and to this day I'm terribly afraid of the concept of sleepwalking thanks to Conrad Veidt's Cesare.

Next week the Summer Movie Cave will be taking another quick hiatus as I must go be present in and then ruin my Cousin Justin's wedding, but we'll (and by we, I mean there's fucking one of me here) be back with a vengeance the week after, and the rest of the stuff you'll have a shot at this Summer is just going to kick ass.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011



OK - sick as a motherfucker this week.  This will *actually* be short.  Two things:

1. If you were a Summer Movie Cave winner in the last two weeks, your stuff will be shipping soon, I promise thee.  Between the Vegas jaunt, work and basically being crippled by my own immune system, I haven't gotten to the post office.  But I will get there, goddamnit.  I will get there.

2. This week, I'm giving away FIVE copies of A SERBIAN FILM.

I love testing myself with "shock" cinema.  Some of it is fun and well-made, but not really "shocking" (HOSTEL).  Some of it doesn't near live up to the hype (CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST).  Some of it kicks you in the parts under your bathing suit to the point where you're impressed but you want nothing to do with it ever again (SALO).  Some of it is hilarious in its very existence (HUMAN CENTIPEDE).

And then there's A SERBIAN FILM, which makes all that other stuff look like Disney shit.  If you haven't read about it, don't do so - to be properly roughed-up by it, going in blank is best.  If you HAVE read about it but haven't seen me, it's worse than anything you can read.  It was the talk of SXSW; it got a Spanish film festival organizer thrown in jail for showing it; you're probably never going to get to see the totally uncut version of it on DVD or Blu-ray.  And it's one of the very few pieces of media of any kind that has actually made me almost physically ill.

The reason I watched in the first place is because I couldn't believe what people were saying: that, despite the imagery and content, this was a good film that actually had meaning and wasn't just shocking for the sake of being shocking.  About an hour in, as some of the worst stuff was going on, I was a believer.  It's not just a good movie, it's an excellent movie, and the point of the film is metaphorical, subtextual and right there on the screen in front of you all at the same time.  In that, it's something of a triumph.  And I'll never watch it again.

A note about this week: you MUST be 18 or older to play.  I'm not taking any chances.  Also, these are Blu-rays of non-US regions, but they DO play on PS3's.  I have heard they will play on almost any Blu-ray player, though a couple of the special features are PAL and will not work.

OK, I'm off to try not to die now.  Good luck this week, and thank you for potentially letting me ruin your life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011



Yes, OK, this is the Summer MOVIE Cave, and up to this point I've only been giving away movies.  This week, that changes.  Here are the reasons:

1) I own one of what I'm giving away this week, and it's really awesome.  Someone else should be able to bask in just how awesome it is, especially if they're also a fan.  And doubly especially if they're maybe NOT a fan - yet.

2) I'm going to Vegas this weekend.  It was supposed to be for a bachelor party, but that unfortunately was moved to the East Coast, and a two-day trip for me was going to turn into a five-day trip, so I couldn't make it.  Also, they were still going to charge me for the Vegas room I had already booked for one night.  Also, I feel as though giving something away a mere evening before my trip to Vegas provides me with instant karma that I plan to cash in right around the vicinity of the blackjack tables inside the Palms hotel.  Also, I realize that admitting my complete lack of actual altruism probably negates any real karma that might have been earned I had been earnest about such.  Also, fuck off and stop asking questions.

3) LOST is probably my favorite piece of entertainment in the last ten years - film, TV or otherwise.

LOST, to me, seems to be the ultimate experiment in, "We've got an idea here of what we're going to do, but let's throw all this shit against the wall, see what sticks, and if they give us a Season Two, we'll figure it out from there."  And you know what happened?  They did.  And that's what great writers do.  Sure, maybe it ended up being a much bigger monster than they anticipated, and maybe they got overwhelmed at times trying to tie it all together, but ultimately...MAN, did it ever work, at least for me.  And yes, I'm one of the people who loved the last season and especially the last episode.

I can't remember any show in recent history that left me stalking my television in the way that LOST did.  Every week when that logo floated across the screen and the familiar quick-shot score kicked, I was rapt on my couch, stomach full of butterflies.  When it was over, I was positively rabid for it to be the next week already.  And usually yelling something at the top of my lungs.  I think the "NOT PENNY'S BOAT" moment might have left me emotionally crippled for upwards of five hours.  And every week, after I recovered, I scoured the Internet endlessly trying to keep up with the discussions and the reactions and the theories.

And that's the thing...once I really got into it, this ceased to be *just* a TV show.  Working in the industry, peeking behind the curtain...I'm one of those people for whom the magic of it all is occasionally (no pun intended) lost.  You start to watch things as a writer, as a developer, etc.  I never had that problem with LOST.  It totally swept me up and carted me off, and damn if I'm not grateful for it.

This was also a significant show in that it was one I did NOT follow from the beginning; I had to catch up on several seasons of the show via DVD.  I'd never done that before, and honestly truly underestimated how lucky we are to be living in a time where TV shows make it out as acquirable media just a few months after they've had their on-air run.  I hate the idea that I might have had to watch the show WITHOUT having access to the first couple seasons as much as I do the idea of having never been able to watch the show at all.  And as I mentioned in point #1 above...I couldn't be more excited that someone who never gave LOST a chance when it was on the air might potentially win this week, and therefore be exposed to it.  And potentially be as blown away as I was.

Less than a year ago LOST: THE COMPLETE SERIES was released, and holy Christing shit, I couldn't have ordered one any faster than I did.  It comes with, obviously, all the episodes from every season and a whole bunch of behind-the-scenes bonus content encased in a temple-shaped box.  It even has a slew of cool little extras, like the game that Jacob and the Man in Black are often seen playing.  And I want you to have one.

Now a lot of people have done some very polite complaining that I've only been giving away Blu-ray stuff, and so far, they're right.  So this week, I'll be giving away not just one LOST: THE COMPLETE SERIES Box Sets, but TWO - one on Blu-ray, one on DVD.  And I'll be asking a specific, different trivia question for each one.  So that's two trivia questions this week, two chances to walk away with one of the coolest physical media box sets ever created.

Haven't decided if I'll bend the rules a bit and ask LOST-related trivia questions or if I'll stick with film stuff, but either way, there will be some relation.  And either way, Thursday is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011



I am the possessor of decidedly less time for "things" these days, so this entry is going to be short.  Not that I think anyone is clamoring for more or even reads this blog, really, know.

According to the terminally awesome Flickchart (WARNING: sign up for that site at your own peril, as you will absolutely toss away dozens of hours on it in the first week), A CLOCKWORK ORANGE is my fifth favorite movie of all time (just behind SHAWSHANK, TOP GUN, THE PRINCESS BRIDE and FIGHT CLUB and just ahead of LOVE ACTUALLY, BOOGIE NIGHTS, SE7EN and THE USUAL SUSPECTS).  That's a relatively accurate Top Ten and a damn accurate Top Five.  And if you'll notice, ORANGE is the oldest movie of the bunch by 15 years.

And here's where I'm going to grind some people and lose others: I just don't care about most of the "classics".  My parents weren't movie buffs by any stretch of the imagination, and I didn't have any older siblings, so there were few people around to expose me to the wonders of pre-1979 cinema.  Thus, I had to seek out my own interests, and those interests usually fell within whatever I could rent at the video store that didn't look like a crappy black and white love story.  I wanted color, I wanted action, I wanted laughs...and when I DID get the chance to see a classic, I generally wasn't impressed.  Though I will admit a certain fondness for THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS.  It's stuck with me to this day.  For every movie like CITIZEN KANE that I eventually saw and loved, there are ten GONE WITH THE WINDs that I can only barely tolerate.

In a couple weeks we'll have a conversation akin to this about "classic" horror films, which I think is the most forgiven genre for shitty films.  For every unbelievably awesome movie like HALLOWEEN or PSYCHO that's actually scary and entertaining the whole way through, you have stuff like TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET that have some really terrifying elements but are overall crap movies.  And that's where I'm going to lose most of you.

Back to the point: it was rare in my preteen/teenage years when an older movie stuck with me, and boy, if there ever was one, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE was it.  I wasn't too much of an angsty kid, but I had my periods of complete loathing assholery, and I very much connected with Alex because he was out doing all the things I could never do but sometimes, in the darkest parts of my mind, really wanted to think about doing.  Thankfully, the closest I ever got to that was hitting lightning bugs with a wiffleball bat, something I still feel guilty about 18 years later.  Anyway, I can credit A CLOCKWORK ORANGE with opening up my mind to "old" films, finally realizing that there were people out there who had been pushing the envelope and weren't just making what amounted to horribly expensive and overacted stage plays.  And it made me explore the catalogue of Stanley Kubrick.  And also, the film just turned 40 years old.  So this week I'm giving away three of these:

From what I understand, if you already have the CLOCKWORK ORANGE Blu-ray(s), there's not a whole lot of new stuff on here.  But it does come with a copy of STANLEY KUBRICK: A LIFE IN PICTURES.  Which is motherfucking awesome, especially if you're a Kubrick fan.  And the steelbook or whatever the hell it's called that encases the discs themselves rocks.

Now I sort of teased that next week I'll be giving away something undeniably wicked, and you'll want to tune in for that.  Trust me.  But have no fear: anyone who wins any of the CLOCKWORK ORANGE discs this week will still be eligible for next week's giveaway.  So make sure to take a shot this week.  If you don't, you might be totally "lost" next week.

Wow, that was just as long as all the other posts.  I'm crap at not being long-winded.