Friday, March 16, 2007

Movie: Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006)

In college, I roomed with a guitarist in a metal band. A great guy. He explained to me that bass players the world over loved the theme from Barney Miller because it gave them a chance to shine. Sadly, there are few requests for it.

That limited I’m-with-the-band experience is one reason why I’ve always found Tenacious D funny. Consequently, I laughed all the way through their first movie, even though it’s dumb. Really dumb. On a scale of one to five, with one being sober as a judge and five meaning deeply ridiculous, Pick of Destiny rates a B+. That’s how dumb it is.

Here’s a quick test to see if the movie is for you.

1. Do you know who Ronnie James Dio is?

2. Does the prospect of a poster of Mr. Dio coming to life fill you with anticipatory glee?

If your answers are yes, rent it now.

Books: The Worst Pulp Novelist Ever?

In Seattle’s alt newspaper The Stranger, Paul Collins remembers Leo Child, “the worst pulp novelist ever,” on the tenth anniversary of his death. Child went from ghostwriting Hollywood bios to churning out titles for Holloway House.

His signature accomplishment is The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman, which “has the reputation among aficionados as the most craptastically awful book ever written.” Collins says it’s “an extremely loose adaptation of an Italian schlock-horror film.” If I had to guess, I’d say that film is, um, The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman, one of the many Waldemar Daninsky movies made by Paul Naschy.

The notion of any writer trying to capture the weirdness of a Naschy film on the page boggles the mind. At the very least, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers should name an award in his honor.

Magazines: Famous Last Words

I read the final issue of Premiere, although I fully expect the magazine to be revived within five years. (If they can bring back Tab ...) The last page is a brief interview with Jeff Daniels, who’s asked how he feels about being remembered primarily for Dumb and Dumber. Daniels responds:

Listen, over the weekend I saw soldiers at the Walter Reed hospital – no arms, faces blown up – and every single one of ‘em quoted Dumb and Dumber. Later, I was told that those were the first words one guy had said in three days. So that’s my answer: “Absolutely, it was worth it.”

Not a bad way to bring down the curtain.