This Place Rules – A Review

[Editor’s Note: As usual, spoilers. Just see it cause you should support all things Channel 5]

I remember the first time I had heard the name Andrew Callaghan. A few years back I was having a discussion with someone about how stupid flat earthers are, and they were like “Oh yeah, did you see the video this guy did of their conference.” Thats all I had to go on. So, after some googling, I found it.

Immediately blown away. I missed the quarter confessions thing (as well established, I am not on social media. Definitely not instagram). This took me completely by surprised.

What sets Mr. Callaghan’s work apart (which has been well documented) is his lack of needing to convince the people he is interviewing that they are wrong. He lets their words linger in the air. I think this is substantially stronger than what Klepper does, for example.

The other effect of his technique is that I feel like you have a much better understanding of what the hell is going on in a time and place.

Like, it is one thing to hear reporting about antivax protests cropping up everywhere. It’s another thing to fucking see it.

I walk away from a Channel 5 video with a much richer understanding than I can get from an Atlantic or ProPublica detailed piece. I feel like I have a taste for who is on the ground and what is actually going on.

So, I have been hooked on Channel 5 ever since. I watch every video. I’m on the patreon. I will support whatever comes along. Being on the patreon, Andrew had mentioned that he was working on a movie for a while coming from A24, Tim & Eric’s backing company, and Jonah Hill. And that it was a completely insulated project, separate from the All Gas No Brakes fallout.

Out of no where, heading into this holiday season, came this:

I was overjoyed. I had heard a rumor that Channel 5 covered the insurrection, but this was the first confirmation. I watched it the second it hit streaming.

What we got is kinda what I expected, kinda something else.

Lets get this out of the way. Its good. Its basically Channel 5, but with more polish. More time with the editing and pacing. Feels like just a glossy Channel 5.

In a way, this is both good and bad. It makes for a really easy hour and a half to consume, but you lose some of that grit. The texture that gives the videos its binding. It’s sort of like a Channel 5 for everyone. A beginners guide to Channel 5.

Another thing I find fascinating about this project, I think this is the most Andrew has ever shown his hand. A shocking amount of people on the right love his content, because…I think they don’t realize he is documenting their stupidity.

Well, if they watch this and they can’t figure that out, no one can help them. He actually speaks his thesis out straight forward. That the only people who benefit from this right wing crazy are the people making money off the backs of the poor and disenfranchised. But, I think there is one fatal flaw to his argument….

He got COVID in late December 2020. He missed Jan 6th in its entirety. I think in a way, that completely weakens the denouement of the movie. Like its clear he is making the point that the grift went to far, but I think missing his usual insight from the people on the ground that day really weakens the project.

Like he confronts both a character established at the beginning and Alex Jones about their wrongs that lead to this (as much as he confronts anyone) and its clear their respective dodges are halfassed. His point is made it just doesn’t. Hit home.

The success of this project is still like the rest of Channel 5. The individual characters. Seeing these people in the wild is extremely insightful, but we are left in a place where I think the parts are greater than the whole.

Overall, I think we have something good here. Just not great. It could have been great if circumstances hadn’t weakened the result.

3/4 – I think his biggest achievement is still The People’s Convoy. Following it from beginning to end really makes it a success. This Place Rules just doesn’t hit that height.

Bad Santa – A Retrospective

[Editor’s Note: I did a trash movie last week. Lets give a true classic some love.]

Cut to winter of 2003. I was going to the movies a ton back then. I had seen the posters for this. Maybe even a trailer. Possibly TV spots. I cannot remember. But I remember my thinking on it.

Hard pass.

I feel like there were a bunch of those kind of “oh someone’s being badddd” kind of movies around. I was into being pretentious. But the wrong type of pretentious. For example, I didn’t even look at the director.

A HUGE movie nerd friend of mine saw it because he was Terry Zwigoff completionist (not that hard to do, plus Ghost World had just come out recently to that time).

He called me up right as he was walking out. Said something that became our standard for the kinds of movies we would recommend to each other.

“It’s the kind of movie we would have made if we had the money.”

Done. Sold. All I needed to hear. A few of my college friends came along and we all went to the show. I was always kind of worried recommending a movie. I really shouldn’t have been. EVERYONE was sold from the first minute.

Oh how do I love this goddamn movie. Let me count the ways.

First, that script is chaos incarnate. Holy shit it just cuts loose on the insanity. It most definitely is not that “oh someone is being baaaddd” script. In fact, they should have got a better title than Bad Santa, but it is what it is. Can’t argue with perfection.

Also, Ill say, I think the problem with those movies is what works here. It doesn’t go far enough. This movie definitely goes far enough. Billy Bob’s Santa at one point is in the middle of committing suicide and basically doesn’t so he can beat up a kids bully.

I’m getting ahead of myself. The performances. Hell, lets skip Billy Bob cause he is doing a variation on the Billy Bob role and it totally works. Ill even skip Tony Cox who is the actual acting weight behind the movie. Lets jump to the two best performances in the movie.

Bernie Mac and John Ritter

The line reads. The face. I mean this is fucking comedy WORK. I love that fucking expression so much I gif’d it. Got damn I WISH both these giants lived longer to do more work together. Amazing shit.

Like that one scene became a regular quotable. “Well Sure, Santa fuckin someone in the ass…” *COUGH*


That movie friend I mentioned above. Once I saw it, he told me that he wished he would have thought of the eating oranges (or metamucil later in the movie) as the recurring bit for a character.

Everyone does their damndest, but this movie only makes me want more. More from these chracters. More from these actors.

The story itself is as fucking dark as you want it to be. But you are sort of in on the whole ride. It doesn’t alienate. The first half is carried by a sense of wonder. How far can this Santa character defile himself? The answer is way further than you think, often, and in ways you flat out didn’t think of before. Or as Tony Cox’s character puts it…

What carries it in the second half is one of the weirdest fucking redemption arc’s in the history of the hero’s journey. I mean look at this shit.

Amazing. Glorious.

The movie ends with the perfect resolution of our main character learning how to be just enough of a better person to live a touch cleaner.

It is a debauchery with a heart of gold.

Previously, Scrooged was my go to Christmas Black Comedy. I mean I still watch it. But this movie. This is a champion. Ill even watch it out of season cause it is just that good.

One last thought, I think much has been said of what you can’t do in comedy today. I personally think you can do everything you want, you just have to be smart about it. This is a smart trip into a land of liquor, assholes, and anal. Great shit.

4/4 – If you haven’t seen it. You fucking should. You are missing out on something that should be in regular rotation for you every christmas. Either that, or you won’t shit right for a week.

A Christmas Story Christmas – A Review

That’s right. I watched it so you don’t have to. Here’s a trailer.

Someone sent me that. I thought it looked like shit. But I have a severe love for In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, so I figured fuck it. Lets watch the cash in.

I don’t know what you expected but…

not good

For only slightly different reasons than you would expect…

Lets get the good out of the way. Peter Billingsley can still do this part. To be honest, for being the kind of movie where they bring all the previous cast back that either 1) are still alive and 2) are still acting, they all do a shockingly decent job. All the kids and Zach Ward bring their A game such as it is (one or two have fallen off their chops, but not as bas as you would think). This is easily the only redeeming facet of the movie, and not enough to carry it, and I am happy all these kids get a WB check.

Ok, lets get to the shit. This film like…tries… not to be a fucking cash grab. They try to elevate themselves to the original material level, and….like you can see where they are going. They want to make this the Young Adult (ish) version of Ralphie’s future, but it just….doesn’t work.

For one thing, they have to hit ALL the member berries. You know the thing. Fucking movies out here filled with REMEMBER THIS. This movie does a thing I haven’t seen another movie of its type do where it hits like…2 seconds of the audio or music queue. Like there is a scene where Ralphie is in his old attic, looking for christmas decorations. He passes the bunny slippers outfit from the first movie, and the dialogue “He looks like a deranged easter bunny” goes over the track.

And its fucking nausea inducing. Like every time they do it (and they do it often) it takes me out of whatever shit of a story they do.

They are also DESPERATE to be as good as Jean Shepherd was. They are trying to write this film from that perspective, and they flat out don’t get it. The biggest recurring joke in the movie is “Oh, the kids are all bar rats now. Oh no! A call is coming in, hope its not a wife looking for someone….”

Like, they WANT to hit that nerve but just fall flat. There is a Ralphie fantasy sequence within the first FIVE minutes of this movie.

The direction is just ripping off Bob Clark. Same with the set design. The music is now just the original film’s score + pop Christmas tracks. Not in a stand out way. In a very boring way.

Like…there is a universe where this could have been MUCH worse. Instead its like, slightly not as bad as Christmas with the Kranks.

Unlike other nerds on the internet, this existing doesn’t ruin Bob Clark’s original film for me. Hell they already had TWO other sequels of A Christmas Story that you wont remember. Might as well add it to the pile.

1/4 – At least all the kids got paid. That’s the important part. Skip it. It’s shameful.

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