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Dune (1984) Movie Retro Review By D.M. Anderson

Dune Review

Director: David Lynch
Writers: Frank Herbert (novel), David Lynch (screenplay)
Stars Kyle MacLachlan, Francesca Annis, Patrick Stewart, Sean Young, Jurgen Prochnow, Everett McGill, Max von Sydow, Richard Jordan, Kenneth McMillan, Sting, Brad Dourif, Dean Stockwell, Jose Ferrer, Virginia Madsen.

Home Remedy

As someone who doesn’t have money falling out his ass, I try to cut corners where I can. This is also probably why my wife seldom sends me to the grocery store by myself anymore, even when armed with a list, because I’ll usually come home with the cheapest shit on the shelves. Whenever I’ve argued there’s no difference between Diet Pepsi and the store brand knock-off, she’s countered with, “Then why buy a Blu-Ray when the DVD is five bucks cheaper?”

Well played, Francie, well played.

While it’s okay to cut some corners at the supermarket, I learned the hard way over the years not to pick up bargain brands of certain products unless I wish to incur my family’s wrath. At my house, it’s Best Foods mayo or nothing. I brought home a jar of Miracle Whip one time and, based on everyone’s reaction when I pulled it from the grocery bag, you’d have thought it was a human head. When it comes to dog food, my wife brought it to my attention that chicken products are bad for Wheaten Terriers, so simple Dog Chow is now out of the question. Have you ever tried to find dog food that doesn’t contain chicken? It’s like looking for one Waldo in a sea of other Waldos, and when you finally do find that bag o’ cluck-free kibbles, be ready to dip into your child’s college fund.

In my house, the same best-or-nothing mantra applies to ice cream, salad dressing, cereal, pain relievers, butter, juice, pancake syrup, lunch meat, cheese and feminine hygiene products.

Regarding the last item on that list, I’ve since flat-out refused to ever buy them again on my own. Not that I’m embarrassed or anything, but I live in a houseful of females, all of whom now endure their monthlies (yes, fear for me). Whenever someone’s cycle would start without warning, my wife used to make the stupid mistake of trusting me to venture to Walgreens for these items with instructions regarding which brand and type. However, there are more varieties of napkins and tampons than there are stars in the heavens. Directions for assembling IKEA furniture are less confusing than the obscure labels and charts plastered on these products, which minutely differentiate one type from another. As a guy with no personal frame-of-reference regarding menstrual maladies, of course I’m gonna pick the cheapest thing which most closely resembles the instructions handed to me. After all, pads are pads, right?

Hence, one of our bathroom cupboards is filled with feminine products purchased by yours truly that no women in my house are willing to use. I suppose exchanging them for the right product was an option, but I’ve since found other uses for them, such as makeshift coffee filters, killing spiders and wiping dust from my precious home theater system. In fact, there are websites which show a variety of alternative uses for sanitary napkins. Seriously.

As other thrifty homebodies can attest, you can save a lot of hard-earned cash by turning worthless items into something handy. Used coffee grounds make great garden fertilizer, Coca-Cola is an effective toilet bowl cleaner, the Nickelback CDs you’re now ashamed to admit owning make terrific retro-hip beverage coasters for your next shindig, and those old dirty pillowcases are perfect for the idiots in your life who’d benefit from a pummeling by a sack of doorknobs.

Then there are myriad home remedies which can cure what ails you. A stick of butter applied to a burn provides immediate relief (unless you’re on fire, of course), snorting a few lines of Drano will clear those sinuses right up, and punching someone in the stomach will temporarily help them forget about that migraine headache. I sometimes suffer from bouts of insomnia, but since this only occurs occasionally, it doesn’t make much sense to spend ten bucks on an entire bottle of potentially-addicting sleeping pills…not when I’ve got my trusty old DVD copy of Dune handy.

Helmed by the perpetually psychotic David Lynch (who turned down Return of the Jedi to direct this), Dune is an all-star trainwreck that bombed in theatres when initially released in 1984, but has since found a sizable cult following (like most of Lynch’s films, actually). It’s based on the classic novel by Frank Herbert, one of the biggest sci-fi douchebags this side of Harlan Ellison. I say this because back in 1983, Iron Maiden recorded a song inspired by Dune and respectfully asked permission to title it after the novel. Herbert’s publicist responded with, “No. Because Herbert doesn’t like rock bands, particularly heavy rock bands and especially rock bands like Iron Maiden.”  Never mind the fact Maiden was huge at the time and Herbert hadn’t written a relevant novel since Dune was published back in 1965. In fact, Maiden’s song, retitled “To Tame a Land,” likely turned more young readers onto this old fart’s novel than the now-legendary Hollywood flop which effectively killed any chance of Dune ever becoming a film franchise.

To say Dune is convoluted would be an understatement. Upon its release, Universal felt the need to provide ticket buyers with a two-page glossary of terms used in the film, apparently forgetting nobody can read in the dark. Unless you’ve actually read the book, the story itself is perplexing enough to make 2001: A Space Odyssey look like Flash Gordon. It’s also bloated with about 12,000 characters to keep track of, their dialogue & actions sometimes making little sense without your book and glossary handy. Speaking of dialogue….it is really fucking bad, especially the overuse of character voiceovers in a futile attempt to clarify what’s going on. As for the performances…they range from low-key & earnest to godawful & over-the-top. The same could be said about the special effects. Except the sandworms, of course. Those things are awesome.

Still, I’ve always kind of liked Dune. Sure, it’s long, slow and hard to follow, but there’s also an ethereal quality to much of its imagery and music which I’ve always found somehow relaxing, particularly during the first half. For me, watching Dune is like receiving a therapeutic massage while new age music drifts throughout the room. Actually, I don’t recall the last time I watched the film in its entirety because it usually lulls me to sleep before the first sandworm even shows up. That suits me fine because Dune gets really stupid during the second half.

All of which means Dune serves a useful purpose in my household. As a teacher, I typically get so used to staying up late during the summer that it’s difficult to hit the sack early on those nights just before returning to work. But rather than rely on synthetic sleep aids, all I do now is pop in Dune, turn off all the nights and nestle into the couch with a blanket and a beer. More often than not, I’m soon zonked and snoring like an toddler on Benadryl.

Regardless of what one thinks of the movie, Dune is often pretty to look at (except for the whole heartplug scene) and the soundtrack is wonderful, the only decent thing Toto ever recorded. If you’re one of those still inclined to write it off as another overwrought Hollywood disaster, might I suggest keeping a copy around as a safe, non-addictive alternative cure for your insomnia? As a home remedy, it’s ultimately a lot cheaper and you’ll still wake up feeling refreshed…probably with the “Prophecy Theme” stuck in your head. 

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Cult Of Chucky (2017) Movie Review By Darrin Gauthier

Cult of Chucky Review

Director: Don Mancini
Writers: Don Mancini (based on the characters created by), Don Mancini
Stars: Allison Dawn Doiron, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif 

Plot:  Chucky returns to terrorise his human victim, Nica. Meanwhile, the killer doll has some scores to settle with his old enemies, with the help of his former wife.
Running Time: 91 Minutes
IMDB Score: 5.2

Why I Watched It: It’s Chucky for goodness sake, you really have to ask?

Random Thoughts: I must confess I haven’t seen Curse Of Chucky, that’s the only Child’s Play/Chucky movie I haven’t seen. This film carries over pretty much from curse now they do cover it so I wasn’t lost where the story was going.  I will say this you have to give everyone involved credit for keeping this franchise alive.

What I Liked: It’s really more of the same, I liked the fact that they not only brought back Andy but also the actor Alex Vincent, he was back in Curse and is in Cult as well.  I like how the franchise as gone full circle now.  For my the best part of these films is Brad Dourif as the voice of Chucky he always seems to be having a blast.

The acting here is kind of a mixed bag but I do like Fiona Dourif as Nica, she’s very good and she has to do a lot of the heavy lifting and she’s in a wheelchair.  What she does that’s so good is she keeps her character and for the most part the movie grounded cause the film itself is a bit over the top and at times silly I mean you have a kid’s doll running around killing people.

The thing that the Child’s Play franchise has done so well over the last 4-5 films is have the horror but mix it with a dark almost black comedy now this one is more horror than comedy but it’s there, this one like the rest is a strange weird film.  I also think it was a good idea to have this film set in a mental hospital, what took them so long.  The setting is well used and it gave Brad Dourif the chance to make a One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest joke.  I also think it was smart to really use the idea that’s it not the doll but the spirit of Chucky that does all the damage, it can be in anything and it opens up the franchise.

What I didn’t Like: As I said the acting is a mixed bag, this is a made for DVD streaming movie so it’s a bit cheap and you can see it, the supporting actors aren’t great and the mental hospital is almost empty a lot.  Also the script is a little off,  some sub-plots go nowhere and the middle does drag.

Now Jennifer Tilly is in this but she’s a glorified cameo at best, good to see her cause she has meant a lot to the franchise but you can see her getting cut back as they go more horror than comedy.  I felt they should have given her more to do.

Final Thoughts: It’s a Chucky movie and on that they delivered not the best of the series but it does a nice job of keeping the franchise fresh and a going for more films, the ending does set up more films.

Rating: 6/10