Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Straight-forward, no-frills documentary about people (of all ages) enjoying various polka festivals in the US in the early 1980’s. And…that’s about it. Lots of enjoyable shots of people dancing and a few random quick interviews with polka fans talking about different polka-related subjects. My favorite being the high schooler talking about how she fantasizes about walking into her high school with a giant boombox blaring polka. Goddamn, how awesome would that be? How is it that an imaginative filmmaker hasn’t turned that idea into a scene in a movie or an entire movie itself? And, if they have…I need to see it!

Anyway, at only 51 minutes, IN HEAVEN THERE IS NO BEER? goes by quickly enough, but honestly it feels more like a well-made home movie than an actual hard-hitting investigative documentary. Nothing wrong with that though, that was probably the intent of the filmmakers. To simply capture the events as they happen naturally.

No smart phones or tablets, lots of happy people dancing their brains out and sweating all over the joint, a polka pool party, a polka awards banquet, awesome vintage fashions and hairstyles, early 1980’s human bodies, a male wearing female clothing without some brainwashed toughie on social media having a complete mental breakdown about it, great camerawork, people of the same sex happily dancing together and nobody giving a fuck, lots of catchy polka jams that I actually found myself tapping my handsome toes to.

Even if you’re not into polka, IN HEAVEN THERE IS NO BEER? is still an interesting little film that left me wanting more.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

8MM (1999)

Private dick Nicholas Cage is hired by a wealthy widow to discover the origin of a seemingly one-of-a-kind snuff film she found in her recently deceased husband’s private safe. Following the lead of the physical film stock itself and some missing persons resources, Cage soon finds himself in the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. While there he teams up with porn store cashier Joaquin Phoenix. Together, Dick Cage and Porno Boy visit multiple top secret underground porno flea markets and watch pornographic VHS tapes together. Eventually, Cage ends up in a house by the cemetery that is decorated inside with not one, but two Danzig posters.

For an older film, 8MM has aged alright. I originally saw it opening weekend and remember smirking at Cage’s over exaggerated cringes when he first watches the snuff film and the goofy sanitized portrayal of porn.  But, I guess, my handsome brain has chilled out over the decades cuz this time around I found the film to be a solid 6 / 10.

Medium pace, promising mystery plot device that fizzles out, impressive cast, disappointing final act that isn’t even close to being as fucked up as it should have been, drug out ending that goes on for too long, surprisingly very little nudity, incorrect subtitles on the blu-ray, questionable musical choices, a small amount of blood, zero gore, no cheerleaders, a Jane’s Addiction shirt, good acting that sometimes teeters on overacting.

There are many ways that 8MM could have been a better film, but for what it is, it’s an okay time-waster. I double-featured it with PRETTY WOMAN (true story, just in case there's a Las Vegas betting line on what my next review will be), but it’d probably make a better double-feature with A SERBIAN FILM or even season 1 of True Detective.