Friday, March 16, 2018


I know some of my readers are wondering why I've been writing about wrestling so much these days and what it has to do with movies/film. Well...professional wrestling is technically episodic television and television is a first cousin/distant sibling to cinema, so in my mind that counts.

What you're about to read is the written version of my presentation on female managers for the Kevin Geeks Out show on Women's Wrestling.


I'm not here to try and debunk the fact that the basic/skeletal idea behind female managers & "valets" are rooted in misogyny & eye candy. I get it. It's professional wrestling. This is a boys club we're talking about. And with boys comes T&A. This goes deeper than just professional wrestling. The idea of placing a traditionally attractive woman next to a product (or wrestler in this case) to get sales is one of the pillars of capitalism.

Now...if you're a casual wrestling fan (or not even a fan at all), you're more than likely familiar with the late great Miss Elizabeth. She's famous for managing legends like Macho Man Randy Savage (her real life husband at one point), Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and a few others. But I never looked at Miss Elizabeth as a manager by definition. She never really managed. She was the epitome of "eye candy" or an accessory (I mean that with respect).



-a person responsible for controlling or administering all or part of a company or similar organization.

-a person who controls the activities, business dealings, and other aspects of the career of an 

-a person in charge of the activities, tactics, and training of a sports team.

Miss Elizabeth didn't really do any of the things listed above. Sure she stepped outside of her comfort zone every blue moon but for the most part she was the typical damsel in distress who was always getting hurt or always having to be rescued. She barely even spoke.

What I'd like to get in to are the few examples (of many) that kind of defied the prototypical manager role. Women who weren't concerned with their looks or being princesses. Or...if they were about their looks & being a princess, they were going to do so on their own terms...

"Sensational Sherri butting the boots...uh...heels to Superfly Jimmy Snuka

It was the basic idea of capitalism that got me to look at female managers from a different angle at a very young age. They were more like investors or businesswomen, and the (male) wrestlers they managed were their investments. The women were the ones in charge. In my mind, the men were the pieces of meat instead of the women.

Take Sensational Sherri for example. She was kind of like the "anti-miss Elizabeth". She got dirty, didn't care about her looks in a traditional way, and she stood up to men twice her size.

In this video below you see her attacking Rowdy Roddy Piper to protect her "investment" (Jake Roberts) who was losing...

It should be noted that Sensational Sherri was a professional wrestler before gaining notoriety as a legendary manager. She was tough...

I think it helps for women to have experience in the ring before becoming a manager. It builds character & toughness. It also helps when it's time to protect your investment.

"Jackie" is another example of a tough/non-traditional looking female manager who wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty and beat up men when she had to...

Jackie (Left)

Watch how proud she is of Kevin Sullivan after his match with this nameless jobber. She even proceeds to beat him up after the match is over. That, to me, is a true example of a good manager/investor.

Zelina Vega is a super recent example of a true manager that is more of an investor/extra muscle than an accessory.

Here she is with her investment Cien Almas

Zelina Vega (Right)

And here she is with her signature "hurricanrana" that she always does on the unsuspecting opponents to her investment when the referee isn't looking...

And we cant mention tough female managers without mentioning Chyna...


Not all female managers had the muscle or strength like the aforementioned managers so they made up for it by using foreign objects, which, depending on how you look at it, is more grimey than fighting with your bare hands.

Nancy Benoit aka "Woman"

Nancy Benoit/"Woman" took to using a cane to make up for her lack of muscles & fighting ability...

Missy Hyatt was another female manager that didn't have muscles or much fighting ability so she used weapons as well.
Missy Hyatt

In the video below you can see her using a whip to beat Sting...

And when a weapon wasn't available, managers had to use their brains to distract the referees to get another male "investment" to do the dirty work for them.
Deborah McMichael

In the video below we see Deborah McMichael distracting the ref in an effort to secure a win for her "investments"

There are many more examples of legendary female managers who broke the mold and defied the conventional qualities. But instead of showing examples of every single one, perhaps this piece will get some of you to go to YouTube to do some research on your own.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


On this episode, Scott & I were joined by PINNLAND EMPIRE contributor, Scorsese aficionado & personal friend; Rob Cotto

Listen as we discuss everything from slightly deep(er) cut Scorsese to the film career of Vincent Gallo.


(make sure to check Rob out on Wrong Reel and don't forget to follow the Zebras on twitter at @ZebrasPod)


Wednesday, March 7, 2018


On the latest episode of Zebras, Scott & I talk Dogtooth, Annihilation, battle rap and joke about diabetes. There's also a special appearance from a Zebras regular.


Thursday, March 1, 2018


On episode 44 Scott & I are joined by friend & fellow podcaster Warren Wade Anderson to talk about everything from Steven Soderbergh & Paul Thomas Anderson to Belly & Freddie Got Fingered.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018


On episode 43 we delve in to Black Panther and stop mid-cast to watch a movie then come back to finish recording.


Thursday, February 22, 2018


That clip that you just watched is very important because it sums up the very real punk attitude of Phil Brooks AKA CM Punk who is, in my opinion, one of the greatest professional wrestlers ever. have to understand that before authentic Punk personas like CM Punk came along in the early 2000's, WWE/Vince McMahon's idea of “punk” was a gimmick like The Nasty Boys...

...Pretty generic right? They look like villains from a Police Academy movie or a Double Dragon video game. You know? Just give 'em dirty clothes and slap some graffiti in the background somewhere and they'll look “punk”. But we all know that's not authentic.

Sidenote – I mean no disrespect towards The Nasty Boys. They're a legendary tag team and some of the nicest guys I've ever met...

But they're more of a street punk persona than like punk punk persona like all the characters we've seen so far tonight. And that's what CM Punk was/is. Both him and his wrestling persona/character are truly punk. Hence the name. Stone Cold Steve Austin once said in order for a wrestling character/gimmick to work you have to be yourself just turned all the way up and I think CM Punk took that quote to heart.

For example – CM Punk is drug free. In the punk world that's Straight-edge.

He Incorporated the idea of being straight-edge in to his character so much that it became a popular symbol/t-shirt.

And I know merchandise is all about capitalism and making money (which is kind of the opposite of punk), but at least the message behind being straight-edge/drug-free is a positive message. I mean let's be real here, kids & impressionable young people are the ones buying most of the wrestling merch so you gotta give Punk some credit for bringing a Punk-based drug-free ideology in to the mainstream...

His Pepsi tattoo is rumored to be a reference/nod to Minor Threat member Brian Baker. When asked about his coca cola tattoo Brian said “I just like coke.” When Punk was asked about his Pepsi tattoo he simply said; “I just like Pepsi.”

But these are just light examples of CM Punk bringing his punk ideology in to wrestling. It's time to go a little deeper...

Whats one of the most defining things about punk & punk music?

Going against authority. Fighting the system. 

CM Punk did that on the highest level. It should come as no surprise at this point that he is someone who doesn't do well with authority. Instead of making enemies with other wrestlers backstage, CM Punk made enemies with his bosses. The people who wrote his checks. There are countless examples of CM Punk clashing with "the suits" in the WWE office but I'm going to get in to my two personal favorite examples...

CM Punk was a fan of wrestling long before he became a wrestler himself. Here he is as a teenager at an autograph signing with Stone Cold Steve Austin.

From day one, CM Punk never had the traditional body of a popular pro-wrestler. He's an average sized guy when compared to the average big man wrestler. This is why that video clip at the start was so important because he called out all the famous traditional big men of wrestling like John Cena, Hulk Hogan & The Rock. A big part of CM Punk's persona (both in real life and in the wrestling ring) is that he had a chip on his shoulder from always being told he couldn't make it as a wrestler because of he was too small.

Small & medium sized guys like Rey Mysterio, Macho Man, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and countless others kind of paved the way for him.

CM Punk recognized this and he always made a point to pay respect to the smaller-framed wrestlers who came before him. It just so happens that CM Punk's in-ring homages to certain wrestlers also doubled as a giant dirty punk-stench middle finger to the authority figures in the WWE.

Macho Man & Bret Hart are two of CM Punk's favorite professional wrestlers. They influenced him. Macho Man & Bret Hart also had very real personal issues with the WWE and left on initially bad terms (Macho Man was rumored to have had an affair with Vince McMahon's daughter while Bret Hart was screwed over by Vince MacMahon during his last appearance on WWF television). For years Vince MacMahon wanted nothing to do with The Macho Man or Bret Hart after they left the company and CM Punk knew this which is why he liked to reference said wrestlers in the ring in the most not-so subtle ways. He knew it would piss off Vince McMahon and the WWE corporation as a whole.

For example – The Macho Man Randy Savage (who died before making peace with Vince MacMahon) was known for his famous elbow off the top rope. So, as a way to stick it to Vince, CM Punk would sometimes imitate the Macho Man's famous move in matches...

Similarly – CM Punk would sometimes wear pink & black ring attire to shoutout Bret Hart's famous ring attire. Again – there was a lot of personal animosity between Bret Hart & Vince McMahon. CM Punk's pink trunks were his way of trying to piss off "the suits" who had personal beef with Bret Hart (It's like CM Punk wasn't going to let the WWE forget the legacy of these legendary wrestlers no matter how hard they tried)

Now...for those of you who don't know, CM Punk no longer wrestles. His punk attitude became too much and he left the company on pretty bad terms and has yet to return. Instead, he did another punk move and, at the age of 37, stepped in to the world of mixed martial arts. And just like his early pro-wrestling career, he had a lot of naysayers, skeptics & cynics about his future as an MMA fighter. But in true punk fashion, CM Punk fought back at every opportunity. True he lost his one & only MMA fight to date, but I doubt most people would step in to the world of mixed martial arts in the their late 30's with a body that's been battered from pro-wrestling for the last 20 years.

I'm going to leave you with this video clip where, in true punk fashion, CM Punk calmly fights back in an interview where he was being made fun of because the interviewer thought that a professional wrestler could never make it as a mixed martial artist. This is a great example of Phil Brooks' punk attitude.

Friday, February 16, 2018


In the latest installment of The School Of Tarkovsky we're going to take a look at some more moving imagery that may or may not have been an influence on more recent films (if you haven't checked out the first entry make sure to check it out here).


Not only are both films below semi-meditative coming of age films, the but imagery of a child holding an apple or looking down well is very similar (it should be noted that The Pink Smoke's John Cribbs' once called The Spirit Of The Beehive "Tarkovsky For Kids")
Ivan's Childhood / The Spirit Of The Beehive

Like The Spirit Of The Beehive, The 400 Blows is another coming of age story with similar shots to Ivan's Childhood...
Ivan's Childhood / The 400 Blows

There's obviously no way of knowing is Rian Johnson is a Tarkovsky fan but this shot from Brick is way too similar to the above shot in Andrei Rublev
Andrei Rublev / Brick

Same with Tarkovsky's Stalker...
Stalker / Brick

Ivan's Childhood / The Headless Woman
This shot from The Mirror always reminded me of Ringu/The Ring
The Mirror / Rungu

The Mirror / Sudden Manhattan

Andrei Rublev / Post Tenebras Lux

Nostalghia / Tree Of Life

As I've stated in previous entries - Claire Denis did work on Tarkovsky's films in the past so perhaps some of that rubbed off on her (or maybe not)
Andrei Rublev / Trouble Every Day


We decided to drop two episodes in one day to make up for the mini break we took a few weeks ago.

On episode 41 we interview Ekaj director Cati Gonzalez...

On episode 42 Scott & I catch up to discuss everything from Uma Thurman to Prayer For The Rollerboys.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


Dark Song director Liam Gavin was kind enough to sit down and talk with us about everything from “grief horror” & the New French Extremity to Nicholas Roeg & the “post-horror” label.

This was a great discussion that I know you all will enjoy (sorry we've been m.i.a. for a few weeks)

Thursday, February 1, 2018


I first met John on the set of High Maintenance when it was a Vimeo show. A mutual friend of ours was working on it and asked us to be extras. I had just finished working an overnight and I was dumb tired, plus I ate two mcgriddles and was feeling extra Swayzed out. We played casting directors for Stomp, that musical where everyone makes dance beats out of the environment. I kept on asking dude who he was, if he was from Mastic Shirley and how we knew each other. I am still not sure how we know each other.

Does anyone really know anyone?

We talked about Titticut Follies, the merits of Werner Herzog's narrative films (particularly the delightfully moribund Stroszek), and Les Blank over cigarettes and Ramen noodles.
I wanted to quit smoking but he was super into smoking. I like wanton disregard for health and other types of unhealthy but hilarious behavior. He told me made a movie about how to keep smoking and I wanted to see it because it sounded tight. He emailed me his movies that night and I watched all of them. They are short and easily digestible. I find his movies to hit the notes that I like to look for in art and life - Tao simplicity meets a panic attack. How To Remain Single appeals to a withering social sense of decency. Escape From Park City shows the incredulous nature of the Sundance Film Festival, but is also hysterical and soul quenching if you have a soul (not everybody does). The Road To Magnasanti highlights the decline of New York using a Sim City experiment as a jumping off point. That movie destroyed me and made Marcus hate New York more than he already did.

I could continue to describe all of his movies but you can watch all of them in under two hours, so you should. You should watch them because. they are brief enough that they fit into our modern ADHD mind's needs for easy consumption and constant stimuli (i.e. mad short). and they are great, duh.

When my fiance ( used his films as a teaching tool for young teenagers I asked him to send me a brief description of what he does and I believe it to be appropriate:

I like to shoot on cheap, available media because too much production kills spontaneity. My two requirements for a camera are that they turn on quickly and have a great zoom. I don't like when films feel like they need to be a certain length in order to reach an audience. Films have to have purpose before anything else. Money was a serious hurdle until I realized you don't need it. Release your films for free & people will eventually catch on if they're worth anything. Gotta keep moving.


-Scott Thorough

Amidst the organized chaos and awkward goings-on within the cinematic universe of John Wilson, we often find hidden imagery & messages almost like something out of John Carpenter’s They Live. Some messages come off as warnings or signs of caution (“The Hunt Is On”). Other times he offers words of encouragement & positivity (“chill out”, “relax” or “life is getting better”). I consider Wilson to be a New York City filmmaker. The hidden messages in his movies could be for anyone but being a New Yorker/someone who lives in New York is a little extra. New York City is a hard place and we sometimes need both words of encouragement and warnings to be on guard.
Temporary Color
Escape From Park City
Road To Magnasanti
Road To Magnasanti
How To Remain Single
The Spiritual Life Of Wholesale Goods
The Spiritual Life Of Wholesale Goods
How To Keep Smoking

A lot of the hidden messages & words of encouragement are often taken from an ad or a commercial which leads in to our next category...

Product placement is all over John Wilson's work. The idea of ironic product placement and familiar labels shoved down our throats is certainly nothing new but Wilson’s approach is slightly refreshing and a little comical. I for one try my best to avoid stuff like Mcdonalds and microwaved food (I’m much healthier now), but every once in a while I find myself wanting a bagel bite or a quarter pounder which is a struggle a lot of people face (especially folks on the go like New Yorkers).
How To Live With Bed Bugs
Escape From Park City
Escape From Park City
Escpe From Park City
How To Remain Single
The Road To Magnasanti
The Road To Magnasanti
How To Remain Single
How To Keep Smoking
How To Keep Smoking
How To Walk In Manhattan

Much like previous Cinema Of… Alums (Abel Ferrara, Jim Jarmusch, etc), the majority of John Wilson’s films represent New York City. But what sets Wilson’s exploration of the big apple apart from the aforementioned filmmakers is that he’s from a newer/younger generation. We’re no longer in the romanticized world of street artists, junkies, squatters & no wave music. We’re now in the era of overpriced rent, paranoia & non-stop high-rise construction.

To really emphasize how I feel about New York City, here is an excerpt from a piece I wrote for The Pink Smoke last year on Michael Haneke's The 7th Continent.

I can't even really talk to a lot of people about my disdain for New York City because everyone blindly loves it here and can't fathom why someone would strongly dislike the so-called greatest city in the world. I find it sad & hilarious when the same people who defend New York City’s “charm” are the same people who are always tired, frustrated & broken because of New York City. Makes no sense to me. I mean think about it – part of the charm of New York City is that it’s rough, grimey & dirty. That’s not charming.

Seriously, why is it that whenever something awesome happens in New York City (the kind of awesome stuff that could only happen in New York City like a great concert or a cool event at a museum) all you hear is; “Only in New York”. But when something shitty happens (the kind of shitty thing that could only happen in New York City like ridiculously overpriced rent or garbage everywhere on the street), all you hear is; “well that could happen anywhere. Don’t put that on New York City!” Fuck that double standard. Modern-day New York City is a terrible place that is only inviting to folks who are well off or believe in the false myth of what it is. I honestly see no reason for anyone to move to New York City unless you have a well/high-paying job. Everything is overpriced & expensive. There are too many people. It’s crowded. And whats worse is that New York City is overcrowded with mostly rude assholes. There are certainly rude assholes everywhere but its heightened when so many flock to the same place. It’s easy to avoid assholes in Atlanta or Miami because there are less people there. Things are more spread out. But you can't really avoid them in New York.

There’s nothing more annoying than when people come to visit and gush about how great New York City is when they’re only visiting for a week (or less). Try living here and experiencing this every day. Are people over the age of 15 still really impressed & amazed at all the blinkly bullshit in midtown Manhattan?

And before you go and get all offended (because we all know no matter how “tough” New Yorkers claim to be, they’re some of the most sensitive crybabies on earth especially when it comes criticism of their precious city), I was born in New York City (Queens to be exact). I’ve lived in New York City for a total of 20 years out of my 36 years of life thus far. So I’m a New Yorker by default and feel I have the right to complain and voice my opinion.
How To Live With Bed Bugs
How To Live With Bed Bugs
Road To Magnasanti
How To Remain Single
How To Keep Smoking
Road To Magnasanti
How To Walk In Manhattan
Temporary Color
Road To Magnasanti

John's films are very much his own but from his use of text (Jonas Mekas) to technology/modern gadgets (Chris Marker), you can see shades of filmmakers that came before him.
La Jetee / Escape From Park City

Walden / Road To Magnasanti
The Red Desert / Road To Magnasanti
The Red Desert / How To Quit Smoking

A sub-category of John Wilson’s vision of New York city is the post-9/11 world we live in (you can also still feel the residue of Guiliani-era New York City). When you isolate all the images of (the very real) police officers in the films of John Wilson it looks quite unnerving (walk through Penn Station at random times of the day to see exactly what I’m talking about).
How To Clean A Cast-Iron Pan
Escape From Park City
How To Remain Single
Road To Magnasanti
How To Keep Smoking
How To Walk In Manhattan
How To Remain Single

You almost cant put it in to words but on a basic/surface level, John Wilson has a talent for awkward humor. Whether it’s the uncomfortable fumbling voiceover narration, the quick zoom-ins, the iphone cinematography, or the random shots of people riding the train, I find myself chuckling quite a bit at his movies. To get a better sense of what I’m talking about, it’s probably best to just watch some of his films below

Temporary Color
Temporary Color
Escape From Park City
How To Act On Reality TV
The Road To Magnasanti
How To Remain Single
The Spiritual Life Of Wholesale Goods
How To Remain Single
How To Keep Smoking

The (sometimes) loneliness & misery found in John Wilson’s films are specific to New York City and nowhere else (this is dangerous for someone like me who feels beat down by New York because I enjoy watching Wilson’s films but sometimes feel a little depressed afterwards because they really hit home). Like I eluded to earlier, New York City is no longer the romanticized place it once was, but the dirt, filth, grime & crevices are still there. And outside of all that, there’s a huge feeling of displacement and not belonging in Wilson's vision of New York City which some poeple relate to very much.

Escape From Park City
The Road To Magnasanti
How To Remain Single
How To Remain Single
How To Keep Smoking
The Spiritual Life Of Wholesale Goods

How To Walk In Manhattan
How To Keep Smoking
The Road To Magnasanti
Escape From Park City
How To Remain Single
How To Remain Single
Temporary Color
How To Live With Bed Bugs


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