I’m a movie guy. For me, cinema is the ultimate archive of humanity’s last gasp…an archive and a mirror, reflecting back to us our best and worst qualities, impulses, desires and proclivities. On a personal level, the films I’ve seen throughout my life are like mileposts, each movie has a connected memory attached to it; the small story of how I came to watch it, what ways it affected me and where I was at that point in time (physically and mentally). For the next 365 days, I am committing myself to see – at least – one film a day, which I will not only review but also diarize my associated thoughts. Why do I choose the movies that I do? How did I feel when I made the selection? Was some sort of anxiety gnawing at my chest? Did I just ingest a poisonous tuna melt from the unreliable diner down my block?

Here are the rules – there are no rules, journalistic or otherwise. The genre/era of film is of no consequence…only the reason why I picked it. It can be something I see in the theatre, but more likely it’ll be a streaming deal. I don’t have cable…so probably a flick off YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or iTunes.

It’s a grand experiment, to be sure. At the end, I hope to gain some insight into how our daily lives influence the reasons we watch the movies we do, and in turn, how the movies we watch influence our daily lives. I think I’ll call it…shit what do I call it? Daily Movie? Nah…too mundane. My Movie Year? Nope…too…somethingLiving With Movies? Sounds like I’ve got a disease.  Hmmm…how about, 365: A Cinematic Sojourn? Now, that has a bit of class – and alliteration. I think I’ll go with that…for the time being anyway.

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29 June 2017
11:45pm

The malaise still has the vice grips on my mental health, but I’m fighting the good fight. There is an incremental difference, enough so that I was able to muster the wherewithal to pick up a cooling baloney and cheese sandwich from my bodega. I had it in bed livestreaming CNN. Trump isn’t helping the situation. I need a jolt…hook me to a car battery! Maybe a horror movie might help. I’m not specifically a fan of the genre, but once in a while I get a yen. Hmmm…yen. Maybe I should’ve had ordered Chinese. They skimped on my baloney at the bodega. I hope this isn’t a trend. Alright, I found something on Netflix called Havenhurst… something about an alcoholic and a spooky halfway house. I’m in. Ok…here we go – I’ll see you on the other side.

Review: Havenhurst (2017)

Seriously? Jeebus mamaloocha what a piece of garbage. I mean, I understand that the genre isn’t exactly known for its cinematic integrity, but this trifle was the pits, boy was it ever. It’s not really deserving of an in-depth analysis…more like the proverbial 2-word Spinal Tap review – Shit sandwich. Still, I’ll toss off a few tidy thoughts.

Julie Benz plays an alcoholic named Jackie whose friend goes missing. They met in rehab. We know from the opening of the picture that her pal is a coke fiend who has been killed by some supernatural force in her apartment. Jackie is concerned, she reaches out to who we assume is an ex-boyfriend. He’s a cop. He’ll look into it. She moves into her friend’s apartment…it’s a half-way house. A laughably spacious apartment in Manhattan, obviously based on Rosemarie’s Baby. Such a space would rent for $6,000 a month — easy. Strange things start happening…but you never become engaged in the events as they unfold – at a drugged pace. Julie Benz plays the role with all the intensity of a quarter pound of lox. The whole endeavor is a soporific morass. A somnambulist’s journey to the center of oblivion. The tenants of the building who ‘break the rules’ are being killed…only an eviction notice is left behind. Julie’s friend broke the rules…she was a drug addict. Other rule breakers include a prostitute and a pedophile. There is a young girl in the building who Julie befriends, or vice versa. She’s a foster child living in an abusive situation. It’s ok…her foster parents break the rules and are ‘evicted’. What’s up with the building? Is it haunted? No. An old woman runs it. She’s the key.

The big reveal is too moronic to even be preposterous. The apartment building is a house of horrors…mechanically set up to torture and murder its inhabitants – those who step out of line. The old woman and her two psychotic sons are behind it all. They kill bad people…prostitutes, gamblers, pedophiles, drug addicts…it’s a morality tale. Julie figures it all out, but not in time. She pays the price with her life. The ex-boyfriend arrives too late. The old bag gets away with it and asks the little girl to join their merry little family. She accepts. The film commits the greatest sin of the horror genre — it’s boring…excruciatingly, untenably, mind-numbingly boring.

Final Verdict: Much like my skimpy baloney and cheese…shit sandwich.

How I feel: Utterly unaffected…it wasn’t even good enough to be bad.

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About Author

Lives in Manhattan around the corner from a diner which serves poisonous tuna melts and adequate java. My dissections, commentaries, and occasional rantings have been published by a wide range of online sites, pulpy outposts, and fugitive rags.

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