Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Samuel Adams Brewery Tour

I was never a fan of Samuel Adams Lager. Let me get that out first. It's a good beer, but I'm not a big fan of lagers. When they began making different varieties, I was very impressed, and now they make many of my favorite beers. So when I went to Boston, I had to stop in for a tour. It was well worth the wait- they have a great tour and you get to taste some great beer.

Abandon all thirst ye who enter here

Located in Jamaica Plain, the brewery is tucked into a small industrial park with a little organic cafe nearby, if you need to lay a foundation for some beer drinking. The brewery can't sell you six-packs or even glasses of beer, so don't fret too much; you'll have a small tasting glass (which you can keep) and you might get 3 or 4 tastings in.
When you're thirsty for more, you can walk down to Doyle's, about 15 minutes away. We went there while we waited for our tour appointment; this was the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, so when we showed up around 2pm we had to wait till 4:20 (dude!) to get a tour. They have a gift shop up front and a small museum of their awards, their many beers, and ephemera of beer history. It's a shame the laws don't let them serve beer.
Enter the tunnel of suds

But enough whining! On with the tour. You begin in a lovely room with hops growing like ivy around it. They teach you the history of beer, and the four ingredients allowed by the strict German beer laws- water, yeast, malted barley and hops- and let you taste some of them. The malted barley has a nice toasty flavor and the hops are bitter of course, for they give beer that refreshingly crisp bite.
From there you are led into the room with the mash tuns and the fermentation tanks. The brewery in Boston is their experimental one for small brews. Like Brooklyn Brewery, they need more space now and have a larger brewery elsewhere. This is still the biggest brewery I've been to. Our BrewHo (note the way the sign was cut off) told us the rest of the brewing process, answered some questions, and then got to the good part- "Y'all want to taste some beer?!" Why yes, we do.
This is not the way you get to taste beer

They have two tasting rooms so they can stagger the tours. They fill pitchers and pass them around, so if you're lucky and are at the end of a line, you can pour a few extra (sssh!). We got to taste their local-only Boston Brick Red Ale, a hoppy wallop of an Irish Red that I found much better than their plain ol' Irish Red. I had a few at Doyle's, too. Great beer- enjoy it, Bostonites, you lucky bastiges. Next up was an Irish Stout that isn't bottled either; I must say it was rather like fresh Guinness in Ireland. The same creamy head and a thinner, porter-like flavor with a good toasty foundation. I wish they bottled it!
Our friendly tour guides

Last was their Maibock, that favorite of seasonals, a crisp pale bock beer for Spring. They did a fantastic job with that too. My favorite is still Ramstein Maibock, but Sammy comes in at a close second. Sorry for the blue beer balls, but all of those are only available on tap. So get your butt to Boston and try some!
$150 beer!

They showed around their 24% alcohol Utopia beer, which won the contest with Dogfish Head Brewery over who could make the strongest beer. At $150 a bottle, I passed. If they let me have a sip for a few bucks I might have changed my mind, but instead they only let us smell it. What a tease! It did smell good, but for $150 I'll be getting Macallan 18yr Scotch whisky, thanks!
hooray for beer!

Overall it was a fine tour and worth the wait and the trip. Beer lovers owe it to themselves to make a pilgrimage here if you like their beers, they give a great tour. You get a souvenir tasting glass- made of actual glass- and memories of 3 beers you'll wish your local boozer had on draught. They helped kickstart the microbrew revolution, and they are still a force to be reckoned with.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Sex Drive



Every once in a while a movie that looks stupid will surprise you. And boy, did Sex Drive look stupid! But as you can guess, it surprised me with how good it is. It forgoes the sentimental bromance of current comedy for your more typical road trip formula, but still manages to be fresh, funny, and most importantly, fun. The tale of Ian hunting down internet poon in his douchey brother's "borrowed" GTO Judge, with sleazy pal Lance and "Girl Friday" Felicia in tow sees them in the expected crazy adventures, but the laughs keep it from being stale.

Poster looks like Dukes of Hazzard take a flying fuck at a rolling donut, but it's good.

Ian (Josh Zuckerman, Feast) is that endangered species known as the high school virgin. His older brother Rex torments him endlessly; James Marsden actually out-Chets Bill Paxton, who perfected this type of character in Weird Science (full review). Ian spends most of his time chatting online with "Ms. Tasty," who lures him out to Knoxville to lose his virginity. His job is humiliating- he dresses up as a donut and walks around the mall, where kids glue dildos to his costume. It one-ups the pirate outfit Judge Rheinhold had to wear in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but the comparison ends there; this is more of a raunchy teen comedy.
James Marsden is hilarious as a homophobic douche.

Ian's best friend is Lance, the super-cad who looks like a young Dwight Schrute, but knows how to bed the babes; he's the jerk all the girls fall for. Ian's the "nice guy" who's been just friends with Felicia (Amanda Crew) for years, but can't seem to pull the trigger. He's too shy, she's too cool. Sure, you know they're gonna end up together from scene one, but the script manages to distract you from its formula with plenty of good character chemistry and gags. Once they hit the road, telling Felicia that Ian is visiting his dying grandmother- the fun starts.
Three newbs to watch for

They stop at a carnival, where Ian hits it off with a girl- and gets dragged into her Abstinence celebration. Lance finds a more willing partner who chains him to her bed in her parents' doublewide. The car breaks down and they get help from sarcastic Amish brother Ezekiel (Seth Green in a great cameo). They learn the Amish rite of Rumspringa, which sure seems a lot more like Spring Break than I remember from the documentary I saw, but it's more fun that way. Of course they get hauled off to jail, they have run-ins with crazy boyfriends, rock stars and road weirdos. Sometimes it veers toward skit comedy, but pulls away just in time.
Jebediah don' play dat.

The three kids are relative newcomers, but all do a fine job- even though James Marsden and Seth Green steal all their scenes. The vets wisely keep a lid on things so we're not wishing they came along for the rest of the road trip. Sean Anders (of the uber quirky Never Been Thawed) wrote and directed, and Sex Drive isn't quite as polished or perfect as it could be. Some jokes fall flat, but most work, and this is no cheap cash-in on Superbad's raging success, it's a charming yet raunchy teen comedy more akin to American Pie, but a little sharper. I think it's definitely worth a rental, and maybe even a purchase.




Rating: Tasty




Sunday, March 29, 2009

U Burger




I am constantly seeking a better burger than Five Guys, who are the bellwether for a "fast food" burger. And U Burger comes close. Unfortunately they are only in Boston, but if you're up that way they make a fine burger worth trying. They're on Commonwealth, walking distance from a nice set of bars.
U Burger's main strength over Five Guys is the pre-ordained topping selections. Five Guys has lots of toppings and they are all free, which is a bonus, but like Devo said- Free of choice is what you got, but freedom FROM choice is what you want, sometimes. Like when you're in a hurry. And U Burger offers some tempting combos. I had the All Star - a double swiss cheese burger with grilled mushrooms, jalapenos, BBQ sauce... and I added hot banana peppers, since Milky has been talking about them all the time. This was a spicy burger from the vaults of heaven.
They use a grill so they don't get the crispy char that Five Guys has, but they make a damn tasty burger with good quality meat. Never dry, but a solid beef flavor that tells you it's not too fatty nor too lean- just right. A soft Kaiser roll holds it all together soundly, keeping the many toppings in check. They have milkshakes and floats if you want one to wash it down- I opted for a birch beer. That's Malt vinegar next to the fries, crispy skin-on taters cooked just right. No Cajun seasoning like Five Guys, but these are quite good.
In fact, Five Guys is gonna be a hard sell in Boston near a U Burger. They'll be good competition, but the U's patties are bigger and the prices seem lower, at least compared with 5 Guys in NYC. I must say if they were right next to each other, I'd go for the U. Blasphemy I know, but they make a damn good burger!

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Haunting in Connecticut

I apologize, I'm one of the idiots who'll make shitty horror movies like The Haunting in ConnectiSHIT profitable, and thus promise a new batch next year. My sister wanted to see it, and since my best friend and girlfriend are both pussies and don't like scary movies, I went to see it with her. And I assure you, you are better off watching the trailer 20 times and saving your ten bucks.
As usual, the trailer has all the decent stuff, leaving the other 90 minutes very lacking. It is very loosely based on an episode of the Discovery Channel "Haunting" series, which was based on stories of people who lived in a haunted mortuary. So it's as "based on a true story" as Disney's Pocahontas was, including the talking raccoons. We meet mother Sarah Campbell (Virginia Madsen) as she drives her son Matt home from a long journey to the cancer clinic. Matt (Kyle Gallner) has unspecified terminal cancer, and gets sick on the long trips to and from the clinic where he is getting experimental treatment, so his mom wants to move closer. This leads her to a bargain house rental, a dingy and dilapidated house that the landlord says "has a history." She takes it.
The problem is that almost immediately, enough weird shit starts happening that there's very little build-up. A side effect of Matt's treatment is possible hallucinations, but he doesn't want to tell the doctor, in case he gets taken off the meds. He gets MRIs and radiation, but some magic treatment that lets him keep his hair, in 1987. He's afraid to tell his mom about the visions- pallid people in the corners, blood on the floors, faces in the window of the locked basement room he chooses as a bedroom. But he behaves strangely enough that any sane parent would know something is wrong.
The movie is played completely straight, and the drama is layed on thick. After all, it's about a kid with cancer who gets haunted by evil apparitions. And his Dad is an alcoholic, too. It's like an angsty goth kid's wet dream, and Matt has a grim attitude befitting a Tim Burton protagonist, without any of the style. Soon Matt is sleepwalking and opens the secret room next to his bed, finding a disused mortuary. "I guess that's why it was a bargain." But of course, they don't move out. And soon Matt begins feeling possessed by a presence that lurks in the house, and sees the horrific rites that were performed on the mortician's table- bodies scored with mystic symbols, their eyelids snipped, the bodies wrapped like mummies.
There are other kids in the house, but it's unclear who's brother to who. A little boy and girl exist to play hide and seek in the spooky house, and cousin Wendy (Amanda Crew, Sex Drive) is there to be a girl. Crew is one of the few memorable actors, though she isn't given much to do. One day during hide and seek, they find a box of photographs and pages tucked in the floorboards, and some grim souvenirs from the dead. Wendy decides to research it at the library, and learns the house's dark history- not only was it a mortician's workplace, but the man was also a medium- and held seances with a boy named Jonah, who was supposed to have a strong connection with the dead. Then one night they all died of "unknown causes" during a seance.
We see photos of ectoplasm and memento mori- photos of the dead- to creep us out, but it doesn't really work much. After the first 30 minutes of creepiness, the wad has been shot and the rest of the scares are silly or derivative. I can't believe I've written about it this long; it's only 90 minutes, but felt like 2 hours. Because there's more- Matt meets Reverend Popescu (Elias Koteas) at the cancer clinic, who is more of a paranormal researcher than a religious figure. He comes to the house and finds evil in it, and tries to exorcise it. Mysteries are revealed! There are evil ghosts and good ghosts, and damn it's starting to sound like an anime or some crap a kid daydreamed up. Matt's cancer gets worse, and he decides to exorcise the house in his own way.
And sorry to ruin it for you, but the ghosts cure Matt's cancer. I'm not kidding. The script, such as it is, is written by two guys whose last collaboration was that Snoop Dogg horror flick Bones, and a first-time director. It's a tedious film that you'll be begging to end, with no one to care about. It's tough to have a cancer kid in a movie and make him be unsympathetic, but Matt is such a typical teen douche that I found myself wishing he'd get complications.

1 jump scare out of 5

Friday, March 27, 2009

I Love You, Man

The bromantic comedy will be remembered as one of the biggest genres of the noughts, and John Hamburg's I Love You, Man may not be the best of them, but it is very funny, and pokes fun at the homoerotic implications of the genre itself. Paul Rudd is Peter Klaven, a man engaged to be married to love-of-his-life Zooey, but there's one problem- he doesn't have any male friends to be groomsmen, or even a Best Man.
So instead of your typical rom-com where the lead seeks members of the opposite sex to bond with, he goes on man-dates, and tries to befriend someone in time for his wedding. See, Peter's always been one of those guys who made friends with women more easily. Now, I was raised in a household with 3 women and no other men, but I've always found that anyone who doesn't have any friends of their own sex has some sort of issue; we never find out what Peter's might be, but Rudd plays him against his usual smart-ass, sharp-witted type as a sensitive nebbish whose favorite day ever eas when he and Zooey made a summer salad and watched Chocolat.
This makes him a hard sell as a friend to the average guy; as expected, one of his man-dates gets mistaken as a gay romantic interlude. In fact, the movie, and Peter's character, reminded me a lot of In & Out, Frank Oz's coming-out comedy with Kevin Kline. John Hamburg also wrote the Meet the Parents soon-to-be trilogy, and Along Came Polly; the script isn't quite perfect, but it didn't remind me of any of those films, and that's a very good thing. He teamed up with Larry Levin, writer of the Dr. DoLittle movies, for the screenplay, and it's rather amazing that something this good came of the coupling.
Peter tries to befriend his fiance's girlfriends' husbands, and Jon Favreau is great as the dickish typical hubby- he has a "Guy's night" of poker, sports and beer-chugging games that he invites Peter to; you can imagine how that goes, when Pete's more comfortable making root beer floats with chocolate straws for Zooey's girlfriends. When all seems lost, he meets Sydney Fife- Jason Segel from Forgetting Sarah Marshall (full review)- a scruffy, blunt and in-your-face kinda guy who shows up the open house for Lou Ferrigno's home, that Peter's trying to sell. Sydney's only there for the free food, but he helps Pete read some guy body language to see who's a serious buyer, and who's there to impress girl. And who's doing the one cheek sneak, hiding a fart.
I liked Segel in Marshall, which he also wrote- and he sort of steals the show here, since Rudd isn't allowed his usual snappy banter. Rudd is still quite good, and it was wise to break stereotype, but Firecracker, a big fan, was disappointed with the character. He's the straight man (though that's sometimes ambiguous) so the rest of the cast gets most of the good lines, which there are many. The movie has a slow start, but stick with it; once Segel shows up, the comic energy is pumped to a higher level, and Rudd has more chance to shine as he loosens up and becomes a man's man. They bond over a love of Rush, start a two-man band, and his friendship starts interfering with the upcoming marriage, of course.
The story doesn't come to a perfect conclusion, but there are plenty of laughs along the way. Lou Ferrigno has a big cameo, which I liked a lot. Lou doesn't get a lot of work these days, and it was nice to see him play himself. I met him at NYC Comicon this year, when he was in the autograph line for 5+ hours. Not the best circumstances, but I've had a soft spot since liking the Hulk as a kid, and then seeing Pumping Iron as an adult. There's a battle with an aggressive real estate agent at Peter's job, and family fun with Dad (J.K. Simmons from Juno, Oz, and Spider-Man's Jonah Jameson) and Andy Samberg (Hot Rod, SNL) as Peter's gay brother. The supporting cast are all really good, and help hold Rudd up as he deviates from his tried and true wit to a straight-man.
I think what I liked best was that this is the most bromantic of the bro-coms, and can only be topped with a gay rom-com like Jeffrey. Maybe it's time the bromances calm down a bit, and just become comedies; us 30-something nerdy bachelors have enough movies to make us feel special.

Rating: 3.5 brossieres out of 5

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Conan the Destroyer



Conan the Barbarian is one of my favorite movies, and definitely in my top 3 for fantasy films. John Milius and Arnold Schwarzenegger took Robert E. Howard's dark hero and created a much-copied genre in film- the grubby, barbarian-style fantasy. And a mere 2 years later, Richard Fleischer and Arnold destroyed it, in the aptly named Conan the Destroyer. What happened? Milky and I watched it to see how fantasy moves were destroyed until Peter Jackson brought them back.
Hollywood hated the fact that Conan was for adults. Kenner even made Conan action figures in prep for the movie, and when they saw the bloody violence, sweaty sex and cannibal soup of the snake people, they quickly renamed him He-Man, and we got the Masters of the Universe (full review). Dildo DeLaurentiis then figured he could make even more money with a more child-friendly version, so he brought Richard Fleischer on board for Destroyer. The guys who wrote Ralph Bakshi's ode to Frazetta, Fire and Ice wrote a script that got trashed by Stanley Mann, whose best movie was The Silent Flute (aka Circle of Iron) with David Carradine. Conan's character is thrown out the window, and he's written as a musclebound oaf.

Comedy Conan!

I mean, Conan wasn't that smart in the first one, but he wasn't a drunken, easily led dope like he is in this one. We meet him with his new buddy Malak (Tracey Walter, Repo Man), a fellow thief. They're running from a bunch of heavily armored horsemen with nets, who want to capture them. After Conan hacks them to pieces, we see two others watching from horseback- Queen Taramis and her guard Bombataa (Wilt Chamberlain, never in a feature film before or after this mess). They want to hire Conan to steal a mystic horn, with the help of Princess Jehnna (hottie Olivia d'Abo, Bolero). She is a virgin marked with a sign, and is the only one who can safely touch the key that will release the horn.
How come your breasts are always bigger than the women's, Arnold?

Milky remarked, "Good idea having Wilt Chamberlain guard a princess's virginity." And yes, I imagine Olivia d'Abo was probably #10,001 on Wilt's list. Queen Taramis (Sarah Douglas, Ursa from Superman II) hypmotizes Conan (see this post for an explanation) with her mesmerizing eyes and makes him think she can ressurect Valeria, and give him his own kingdom for his troubles, so he joins right up. Conan is now a sucker. A few seconds later, Taramis tells Bombataa to kill Conan as soon as they are done needing him.
"Don't worry, Wilt has pledged his life to defending your hymen."

On their journey, they return to the city where Conan punched the camel in the first movie- and this time it spits on him! So he punches it out again. It's there that they pick up Grace Jones, that iconic singer and horrible actress who's also responsible for appearing in one of the worst Bond movies, A View to a Kill. But like Arnold, she's got presence. She kind of sticks out here, but Zula fits the Conan universe from the books well. She'd be a Kushite she-warrior. She's chained up in the center of town, being harrassed by the townsfolk who have branded her a brigand. Conan being wise and fair, cuts her chains and lets her have a fair fight. She swings a stick around like a pro, and wears one of the least goofy helmets in the movie. A worthy comrade.
Conan and Zula in a lighter moment.

It's unfortunate that the only characters who return from the first movie are Arnold, Mako, and the camel. And Mako doesn't even remember Conan. They rescue him from some cannibals, with Fleischer's trademark swordfights- the zing! of a blade and a head flying up is mostly what you get- and "Akiro" pledges his sorcerous skills to the barbarian. By the mid-80s, movies began having plots like video games. Go from city to city, collecting your party. Find the spooky wizard's secret island. Hack hack hack. heal heal heal.
Malek trying to put ointment on Zula's axe wound.

It was a real bad idea watching this right after Conan the Barbarian, which has some of the best set design ever. The cities look real, even when they are models; the castles and markets look like they fit in, and the Towers of Set stick out like ancient Churches of Scientology. Ron Cobb did a fantastic job with the production design. The demons that Valeria must save Conan from don't look that bad, but boy does the animated "bird of smoke" look silly in this one. It looks like it has cartoon stink lines radiating from it, as it carries sleeping Jehnna off to the wizard's castle. Bad idea mixing animation and models in the same scene without knowing what you're doing.
Stinky smoke bird

It's even worse once they get inside. The inside of the castle consists of nothing but a huge pillar with a spiral staircase, and you can see the change in color of what's a matte and what isn't. But who cares? Conan is about the fights, right? WRONG! The sorcerer has Jehnna locked in his bedchamber, which is past a hall of mirrors. When they approach, he sees them in his crystal and whispers, "too late." I assumed this meant he broke her mystic cherry, but no such luck. Evil Wizard reminder- if you capture a virgin who has to stay a virgin to complete her quest, why not? You're an evil wizard, dammit. Are you gonna wait and ply her with champagne Polanski-style? (Olivia d'Abo was only 14 when this was filmed. Oh, I went there).
For a virgin, she dresses quite provocatively.

Conan gets trapped in the circular room of mirrors, and soon 12 red-robed figures appear, then meld into one Giant Lizardman with Man-Boobs. For some reason, he doesn't have scales on his chest, and we're subjected to flabby wizard tits. It is my conjecture that they are the true source of his power, not the mirrors. Conan and the Man-Boob Lizard have a lame pro-wrestling style fight, where Arnold gets to scream AGGHGHAAAAH!!! a lot, which is always my favorite one-liner of his. HastAGHGHGAAAAA la Vista, baby. I won't tell you how he defeats the Wizard, but let's just say Conan never appeared in a sequel due to 84 years of bad luck. There's actually a nice effect when Toth-Amon (a real wizard name from the Conan books, woo) decides to touch the Key he's been guarding, and light spills out of his eyes and wounds until he goes pop like the weasel. Pat Roach plays Toth-Amon- he was Brytag in Red Sonja, the big bald mechanic in Raiders, and many more memorable big galoots.
He is only vulnerable in the moobs, Conan!

Now they have the Key, on to the next level! Bombataa- probably named after Afrika, the guy who sang "World Destruction" with Johnny Rotten- isn't very good at hiding Queen Taramis's real plans for Conan. They get attacked by the Queen's Elite guard, including Sven-ole Thorsen, who played Thorgrim, the guy with the big fuck-off hammer from the previous movie. They have a protracted and anticlimactic battle, which ends with Bombataa taking a few swipes at Conan, too. What the fuck, dude? His only response is, "I thought you were going to hurt the girl." But why did the queen's guards attack us? "Um, not on her orders!" Okay, it's all good, brah!
While the previous movie gave us memorable lines like "Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women!" and Thulsa Doom's endlessly quotable psychotic cult leader babble, here we have to settle for seeing Conan drunk and stupid, saying things like "give me the promise I was kingdomed!" He sounds a lot like pot-head Arnold from the Conan the Barbarian DVD commentary. It's really embarassing to watch Conan graduate from the pit fighter born of the Wheel of Pain, who survived the Tree of Woe (sort of) and nearly single-handedly took down the Cult of Set, into frat boy Conan, who's only good for comic relief. Most movies have a comic relief character, but here we have Malak, Grace Jones and Mako all mugging it up, plus our hero. It almost feels more like Olivia d'Abo's movie, because she's about the only character we can take seriously. Or maybe we're just staring at her boobs (Dude, she's 15! So what, she's like 40 now).
"This spell requires mandrake root... and Metamucil!"

They steal the horn from its incompetent ancient guardians, and Mako gets to have a Wizard Battle. Wizard battles involve lots of groaning, and from behind closed doors might sound like Old Man Wizard needs more fiber. But as always, Mako can do anything and we'll forgive him. Hell, they should have made a spin-off TV series with him. But all his groaning is all for naught, as Bombataa traps them with a rockslide and spirits Jehnna away for her virgin sacrifice. In the director's cut I like to imagine that Jehnna wasn't a virgin when he brought her back to Taramis. I just can't see Wilt playing such a kiss-ass to the Queen. But that's what he is.
AGGHAHAAH!! #7

He's really only in the movie so we have someone huge to fight Conan, and the barbarian is finally pissed when he realizes he's been swindled. So he heads to Taramis's castle with his friends to fuck her shit up. He kicks Wilt's ass so handily that you wonder why we thought he was so bad-ass with his spiked and beaked mace, but we finally get some bloody fighting, with Bombataa chomping Conan's ear off, as they wrestle and stab each other. Zula and the rest are left to save the girl, and unfortunately, saving the girl in this case means Releasing the Rampaging God Dagoth, Who Is Pissed Off That There's No Virgin in His Cheerios.
The folks at www.arnoldheight.com use this to say he's on'y 5'11"
The end is really the best part of the movie- Dagoth is a huge slavering web-footed reptile with a rhino horn for a nose. It was Andre the Giant under the make-up, so Dagoth is a massive lumbering beast. Can Conan defeat a god? You're damn right. Bare-handed, too. Now that's the Conan we remember, the guy who succeeds because he doesn't think he can fail. It's too bad that after he tears Dagoth's horn out, he didn't stick it up the dead god's ass and kick it out his brain. That would have been something.
Pro-wrestling with the gods

While Conan the Destroyer is an order of magnitude greater than Red Sonja, it was still an enormous disappointment. Conan went from being a vengeful warrior who was a little wet behind the ears, to a legendary swordsman who's mostly a drunken idiot when he's not killing people. Couple that with comic relief like Malak- who's useless in a fight unless he can jump behind you on your horse and stab you in the kidneys- and not one but two non-acting celebrities, and even if the script wasn't toilet paper you'd be in trouble. The original story was published as a graphic novel called The Horn of Azoth, and I remember reading it when it came out. Now, THAT story would have been awesome on-screen. But Dino DeLaurentiis didn't like leeches, so it got scrapped. I'll give him credit though, he's produced a lot of stinkers, but many great adventure movies. And he's still doing it at 100 years old.
The film looks decent- Fleischer directed epics like The Vikings and his DP was Jack Cardiff, who's made beautiful films like and even Black Narcissus, The African Queen and even Rambo: First Blood Part II. The DVD doesn't show it off real well, being nonanamorphic and dull. Was 1982 the last of the golden years of the '70s? I think so. And will be posting about it soon. Seeing how Conan changed from awesome to awful in 2 years just proves my point.


Beers Required to Enjoy: 3
Could it be remade today? Sadly, yes.
Quotability Rating: Low
Cheese Factor: Fromunda from Crom's loincloth
High Points: Great end battle.
Low Point: Fat, drunk & stupid is no way to go through life, Conan.
Gratuitous Boobies: Nope! Olivia d'Abo nearly pops out of her dresses a lot though.



F.J. Doyle's Braddock Cafe










I'm sorry that I've been very lax on the "beer" portion of my quadruple promise of "movies, beer, hotdogs and boobies" to you. I was recently in Boston just before St. Patrick's Day, so I'll be making it up to you in spades. We went for the Samuel Adams brewery tour, and while we were waiting, we walked to a nearby bar in Jamaica Plain called Doyle's for short. It's got some history, a great beer selection, and plenty of character.




It's not uncommon for bars to festoon their walls with collected ephemera, but Doyle's has some history up on the walls. World War 2 propaganda telling us the enemy has ears, sketches of JFK, and their collection of memorable beer bottles. The bartenders are like Formula One race car mechanics. A glance their way and your order is taken, over the din of the customers, put on separate tabs with little ado or confusion. Ask for a car bomb and you'll be rebuffed, as "they been breakin' the glasses on me." Rough hood at night, maybe. We had them anyway, with chunky rocks glasses alongside our pints of Guinness. It was St. Paddy's day weekend, after all. The Guinness tasted almost as good as it did in Ireland. Maybe Boston has a quicker shipping lane, or just has dibs on the freshest batches coming stateside, but it honestly tasted better than some draft I had a week before in Brooklyn. The Irish town comes out on top.
Being so close to the brewery, you know their Sam Adams' beer is fresh too. They have the local-only brew, Boston Brick Red Ale, and a fine brew it is. Kicks the arse off Sam's regular Irish red- a hoppier taste and a fuller body. Built like a brick red shithouse redhead ale, more like it. The White Ale is a fine brew as well- one of their newer varietals, and worth a chug or six. Look out Blue Moon, we may have seen you standing alone, but now you have some competition. The Harpoon Celtic Ale is a good pour as well. Just hoppy enough to perk your ears without going all IPA on you.
The crowd was lively; we ran into a photog from Men's Health, doing a piece on the up-and-coming neighborhood. I'm beating him to the punch with the power of the internet, but I think his pro rig will give you better snapshots of this joint, so check it out in the grocery aisle in a few months. Doyle's certainly has atmosphere- the huge clock over the dining room entrance looks more like a factory time clock. You got no excuse when it's last call. You were forewarned. Cushy barstools and shipworthy wood for the bar, gouged and well sanded by a million beer-hoisting elbows. There's no brass rail to rest your feet at this end- this is a workingman's town, boy-o. That's the old man section. Take it on the hoof.
Didn't have a chance to grab a bite but the patrons seemed to enjoy their meals. Ours was a liquid luncheon, in prep for the tour. Brewery tours are best enjoyed with a wet whistle, lest you find the samples too skimpy. I regretted having to leave Doyle's so early, and hike the half mile to the brewery, through colorful row houses with Camaros being worked on in the driveway. Beast called it sketchy but I think she just didn't want to walk. So if you're in Boston, visit Sam Adam's Brewery- a few blocks down & over is Doyle's. Sam can't sell you his beer, but Doyle can. He serves it fast and friendly, and will even oblige you if you want a party girl drink like a car bomb. I can't say if Jamaica Plain is "up and coming," but if I moved near it, I know where I'd drink. Doyle's.



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