Unsafe on Any Screen: Cinematic Sleaze and Cheese

by Scott Phillips

 “Unsafe on Any Screen” is an unpretentious movie guide filled with reviews of lesser-known cult movies and an occasional big budget gem. Filmmaker and ex-video clerk, Scott Phillips wrote a movie column for an underground newspaper in New Mexico. He has no qualms about admitting when he likes something, even if it’s Pierce Brosnen as 007. But his knowledge of underground cinema goes beyond casual, and Phillips comes up with an excellent mix of knowns and unknowns. Phillips has a great understanding of the hierarchy of reasoning behind why these movies are important to him; movies can be enjoyable for a variety or reasons. The reviews hit home without irony or too much attitude.  The mark of a good movie guide for me is when the highlighter comes out for an anticipated trip to the video store. “Unsafe” is a must have for people who like to read about movies.

Unsafe on Any Screen: Cinematic Sleaze and Cheese

204 pp. RE Vardeman (publisher). $9.99  


Publick Occurances #12

Publick Occurances is an A #1 portrait zine to begin with. But #12 is a metal themed issue, and for fans of the genera, it’s hard to put down. The source material issue is old issues of Kerrang and Circus. Martin’s drawings are a unique blend of dark scale animation and realism. Portraits in #12 include a range of personalities from glam superstars like George Lynch of Dokken to lesser-known heroes such as Tom Warrior of Celtic Frost. A who’s who of metal, this issue is focused and essential; a must have for metal heads. 

Danny Martin is so punk he doesn’t even have a website, but can be reached at bullmooseallstars@yahoo.com. Microcosm publishing also carries Publick Occurances.


Mike Judge returns to the workplace in Extract 

 Mike Judge has slowed his pace a bit in the new comedy Extract. But for a director who has elevated his maturity level a little, Extract still showcases Judge’s edgy brand of humor. Joel (Jason Bateman) owns a food extract factory. He is married to Suzie (Kristin Wiig) who has become bored with her freelance routine steeped the suburban security that the success of their additive business has provided. Bateman and Wiig are a good match. Their unique character deliveries still shine, but both appear to be playing their parts muted a bit, creating a strong illusion of a young couple in the process of slowing down. The plot is a series of misadventures prompted by the confounding logic of Joel’s friend, Dean (Ben Affleck). Affleck is not one of my favorite actors, but he is particularly funny in the role of the loony friend. He brings a subtlety to the “wacky friend” device that is often abandoned for cheap laughs. Affleck’s take is a slow burn, not only making the character believable, but also occasionally convincing the audience that some if his hair brained logic applies. David Koechner is also a stand out as a droning neighbor who tirelessly awaits Joel outside is house and never provides a window for him to exit the conversation. A low point is Kiss bassist Gene Simmons’ performance as Joe Adler, a telephone book lawyer whose limited scenes contain one of the smarter uses of a testicle joke. Simmons is stiff, and it is clear that a more dynamic actor could have delivered humor. Still in all, Extract is clever, contains a terrific supporting cast of sketch show regulars, and shows that Judge’s brand of humor holding up. Comparisons to Office Space (1999) are inevitable, but Extract is an original comedy and Judge continues to have a knack for humorously exploring American ennui. 

I had some great finds at the Hotel Congress Record Show last week. For no reason, here are a few sides being worked into The Groove Tomb playlist: 


The Temptations- Puzzle Piece 

In my continuing interest in the early 70s transition of Motown vocal groups, I ran across Puzzle Piece at the record show. More songs in the vein of Cloud Nine where the band’s vocal talents are mixed with elements of funk and psychedelia. These records come cheap and are worth exploring, especially for weekend afternoon hanging.



The Infections- Kill…

This slab of snot from Rip Off records also appeared at the show. These early era Rip Off releases are always A1. A favorite is a Japanese band called The Registrators. The Infections rocks just as hard. 



B.B. King- The Blues

King might be too much a part of the cultural landscape for people to consider too much, but this early recording is raw and ratchety. This record is a reminder of his street cred. 



The Carpettes- Small Wonders 

Singles collection from an English trio with a punk/power pop sound.



The Box Elders- Alice and Friends 

Latest release on Goner Records. A sort of trashy, distorted take on 60s pop. 



Ike Turner- His Woman, Her Man: Volume One 

A retrospective of the funky years.  


Jean Jacques Perrey- The Amazing New Electronic Pop Sound of Jean Jacques Perrey

Awesome Moog exploration.  



Bunny Wailer- Blackheart Man 

Bunny Wailer’s first solo album reflects the standard of reggae from the era of the end of the Wailers.


Nobunny is coming to Hotel Congress on September 20th. If you are gonna just be sitting around masturbating waiting for the Beatles’ Rock Band to come out, you might as well come to the show.