2022 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge Day 31: The Proposal (2009)

31. RETIREMENT PARTY: Watch any movie with a character named Kevin in it. Bonus points if it has a badass movie dog.

I mean, this is not a Halloween movie but the Scarecrow Challenge has asked for a movie with a Kevin in it and a dog and I didn’t want to watch Balto and to be honest, my wife has made me watch this movie at least once a week since I’ve known her.

Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is the Canadian executive editor-in-chief of a New York book publishing company that everyone hates and she’s fine with that. No one hates her more than her assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds), who gets most of her abuse. Her boss — Michael Nouri! — tells her that her visa renewal application has been denied due to visa term violation and she faces deportation back to Canada, losing her job and her life in New York City.

So why not marry Andrew? Why not go back to his hometown of Sitka, Alaska, a place where his father (Craig T. Nelson) is the businessman who pretty much owns the town? Then there’s his mom (Mary Steenburgen, who I think was contractually obligated to be an attractive mother in every 2000s movie) and grandmother (Betty White, who this movie seems to be made for). Also an ex-girlfriend (Malin Akerman) and Oscar Nunez as Ramone, who works every job in town, including waiter, shopkeeper,  minister and male stripper. Things work out fine because this is a romantic comedy from 2009.

As for Kevin the dog, he’s a White Eskimo puppy played by four dogs, Flurry, Sitka, Nanu and Winter, who were also in Hotel for Dogs. He almost gets taken by an eagle, which is pretty scary when you think about it, because he’s way bigger than my dog and man, I don’t want to explain to my wife that Cubby got taken by an eagle, particularly after how many times she made me watch this.


18. A Death March Horror Film (a group of people go on a trip and slowly get killed one by one, but keep moving).

I had no idea what to expect out of this movie. The poster gave me The Town That Dreaded Sundown vibes and that’s never a bad thing. Yet for some reason, I just never watched this. Director and writer Christopher Smith really shoots for a high bar on this one and I was astounded that it came together so well. I barely want to discuss what happens — I mean, I have to, that’s what this site is all about — because as quickly as you figure out what’s going to happen next, the movie’s smart script pulls the rug out.

Jess (Melissa George) is a single mother who is invited to take an ocean cruise with her friend Greg (Michael Dorman) and his closest comrades Sally (Rachael Carpaini), Downey (Henry Nixon), Heather (Emma Lung) and Victor (Liam Hemsworth). A sudden storm flips their boat and Heather is lost at sea and the survivors make their way onto an abandoned ocean liner that somehow still has fresh food — Death Ship? — called the Aeolus, which is the name of three mythical characters that have been confused even by experts. That — and the nature of the number three — will be very important for what happens in this movie. Yes, it’s a triangle.

I’m really astounded by how well this came together and how dark it gets. I really thought it was just going to be a slasher on a cruise ship and I can’t even tell you how happy I am that I gave this adventurous movie a chance.


MILL CREEK DVD RELEASE: Through the Decades: 2000s Collection: State of Play (2009)

Based on the BBC show, State of Play is the story of Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck), who believes that his mistress Sonia Baker didn’t kill herself, and reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe), who get caught up in the conspiracy of murder that follows.

The true villain? PointCorp who has a monopoly on government surveillance and defense contracts/ They’ve used the Patriot Act to privatize American security and now look to get even richer from mercenary activities in the Middle East and even within our country.

Cal ends up conflicted, as he holds stories about his friend’s romantic dalliances, all while other papers make money from them, angering his editor Cameron Lynne (Helen Mirren). It’s also suggested that Collins’ wife Anne (Robin Wright) was part of a love triangle between the two friends.

There’s an interesting conceit in this movie, as all of the many tentacles of this conspiracy are revealed: if you do great things in your life, is it morally acceptable if you had one major failing?

Originally, this movie would have reunited Fight Club stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. Schedules conflicted and that’s how we got Affleck and Crowe. I think it’s funny that Crowe is playing a character from East Liberty and is even referred to as a yinzer in the script.

The Mill Creek Through the Decades: 2000s Collection has some great movies for a great price like Nurse BettyOne Night at McCool’sSpy GameThe Emperor’s ClubThe Shape of Things21 GramsBaby MamaThe Hitcher and Cry Wolf. You can order it from Deep Discount.

Double Duty (2009)

A decade after her action film efforts, former pro wrestler Mimi Lesseos co-wrote another film, a movie in which she plays MJ, a career Marine who suddenly is no longer on active duty and must become part of the civilian world.

This could be a quiet study of PTSD and how the military doesn’t prepare its soldiers for anything other than killing. But instead, Mimi can’t get a man so she gets hypnotized into being able to become a sex kitten at the snap of someone’s fingers, so this feels like a Harry Novak movie plot yet never gets sleazy.

Also: Tom Sizemore is her love interest.

Also also: Connie Stevens is in this.

Also also also: Karen Black is in this?!?

The end credits play over a song called “Ms. Mimi” written and performed by Mimi. Sadly, this is her last movie and I honestly want more. So much more. I want a movie where she and Cynthia Rothrock fight for a good 78 minutes.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Anacondas: Trail of Blood (2009)

Originally airing on SyFy on February 28, 2009, this movie was somehow topped when that network crossed it over with Lake Placid.

Dr. Amanda Hayes (Crystal Allen) and Peter Murdoch (John Rhys-Davies) are back from the last movie and the evil elite rich guy has figured out how to inject that baby anaconda from the last movie with blood orchid serum that allows it to continually regrow cells, because if you have created a monster snake, why not make one that can’t be killed because that seems like the kind of plan that often works.

The thing is, Murdoch has bone cancer and he thinks the blood of that snake can heal him, so he sends out a team of tough guys that will most assuredly get killed by snakes to get that blood orchid snake plasma cocktail.

I kind of love that after all this work, Murdoch injects the serum, gets over his cancer and then a snake decapitates him.

How did I watch four of these movies? Why did I watch four of these movies? OCD is weird because you only feel completeness when you tackle challenges and surpass them, but I’m not doing anything good for humanity. I’m in a basement watching snake movies and drinking too much Pepsi. Someone stop me.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Triggerman (2009)

The sequel to Doc West — actually they are both edited from an Italian TV series — Triggerman finds Terence Hill back as Doc West and playing in a gambling tournament in the town of Holy Sands with the goal of using the profits to build a hospital. However, not every payer has the town’s best interests — or even good sportsmanship — on their minds.

In Germany, this was called Doc West – Nobody schlägt zurück (Doc West – Nobody Strikes Back) to cash in on Hill’s famous series of Nobody movies. As for star power, Paul Sorvino is back as the sheriff.

There are two of those players who demand the most attention. The first is the evil Dutchman (Mark Sivertsen, who often plays cops but is obviously not one in this film) and Debra “Tricky” Downing (Ornella Muti!). 

You shouldn’t expect the heights of Hill’s Italian western heyday in this movie, but his fans should make a meal of this. In fact, they should make his famous beans that he eats in every movie, starting back in They Call Me Trinity and continuing in so many of his films, including My Name Is Nobody.

On his web site, Hill was actually interviewed about all the beans!

Q: In They Call Me Trinity, we see you eating beans for the first time in a movie, then they became ‘famous’ and a feature in most of your films…

A: Yes, I had to eat a lot in this scene… By the way, I still like to eat beans today! The audience enjoyed that scene so much that I had to keep eating them in following movies…

Q: What are the ingredients of the original bean-dish?

A: It is spicy! For the sauce you need chili peppers, olive oil, tomato sauce, onions, salt and a lot of pepper! Fry the onions in olive oil in a saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and cook until the beans are tender.

Here’s the recipe from Food 52:

Terence Hill’s Beans

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and green parts, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed lightly
  • 6 pancetta rashers, sliced into ribbons
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups red kidney beans
  • 3 cups chicken stock or water to cover
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Poblano peppers, soaked, seeded and chopped roughly
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bunch flatleaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups dry but fruity red wine
  • salt and pepper
  1. Soak the beans in water overnight or bring to a boil and allow to rest in water until it is cold, discarding water in either event.
  2. In the olive oil, gently saute the scallions, the garlic, and add the pancetta, cooking over medium heat until the fat runs a little.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir until it has lightly caramelized. Add the drained beans, with enough chicken stock or water to cover them.
  4. Add the sugar, the peppers and the herbs, stir, and cover.
  5. Cook gently until the beans are fork-piercable tender, adding additional stock or water from time to time.
  6. When barely tender add vinegar and red wine. Cook, with lid removed, until the wine has been absorbed.
  7. Add freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Doc West (2009)

Made for Italian TV but shot in English in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Doc West is all about Minnesota “Doc” West (Terence Hill, who co-directed this with Giulio Base) is preparing to send money to a boarding school cross the country when robbers steal everything in the post office. He tries to chase them, but ends up saving a boy named Silver from a rattlesnake and losin their scent.

Silver tells Doc that the gang probably went to Holysand,a place where they learn that Silver’s stepfather Nathan Mitchell (Boots Southerland) has set a fire and is in the middle of battling with rival rancer Victor Baker (Adam Taylor). They’re stopped by Sheriff Roy Basehart (Paul Sorvino) and school teacher Denise Stark (Clare Carey).

After a poker game with Siver’s ranch hand Garvey (Alessio di Clemente) lands Doc in jail — he’s accused of cheating which isn’t true — he ends up fixing Sheriff Basehart’s back problems and winning his trust. Over another game of poker, West tells Basehart that he was a doctor, but had killed a patient while drunk. He vows to never drink or touch a scapel again and rides the west, looking for work so he can send money to his daughter Estrella.

West becomes integral in redeeming the town through his adventures with Silver often getting him in trouble. This movie seems similar to the lighthearted films that Hill is known for and would make a good family introduction to the Italian west. Speaking of family, one of the writers was Marco Barboni, son of Enzo Barboni, who directed the Trinity movie that made Terence Hill a worldwide name.

You can watch this on Tubi.

Scare Zone (2009)

Scare Zone is open just three nights a year in the midst of a rundown strip mall, but it’s Oliver’s life’s goal to make it great. Each year, he works to create a scare team that makes the horror as real — and fun — as possible for the people who line up multiple times to take it all in.

But this year, someone is out to make it as real as possible. Deadly real.

The team that made this movie worked on attractions such as The Bourne StuntacularShrek4DPirates4D!Fear Factor Live and Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular for Universal Studios Florida.

Director and writer Jon Binkowski had a great opportunity when making this movie: “The Universal Orlando Resort had built an awesome haunted maze right in the middle of one of their sound stages for Halloween Horror Nights. And, because they wanted to feature the attraction in a late November theme park convention, the maze was going to just sit there for 3 weeks doing nothing. So, my team and I leapt into action! The script practically wrote itself and it was a blast shooting for three crazy weeks on the Universal soundstage.”

Perhaps you’ve seen a similar setup in movies like Hell Fest and HauntScare Zone came first, playing festivals, Hulu and being released on DVD in 2009. Now Terror Films has re-released it and it’s a fun little slasher that can boast of having an early role for Neil Brown Jr. from Straight Outta Compton.

I kind of like that Claire (Arian Waring Ash) is a goth girl who works at both a scare zone every year as well as a Christmas store. There’s a really disquieting scene where she shows off how she cuts her arm for one of the guys and it has a really sexual tone that may or may not be turning him on. She’s probably the best part of this other than the effects.

Scare Zone will be available on the Terror Films Channel on May 27 before its Digital and VOD release on June 3. For more information, visit the Scare Zone Facebook or the Terror Films website.

Dire Wolf (2009)

Santa Mira has dealt with body snatchers and latex masks that make kids’ faces explode into worms and bugs, but now it has a dire wolf problem. Actually, it has half a dire wolf problem, because a research facility has combined a human being with a dire wolf — where did they get a dire wolf in the first place? — and it has, of course, escaped to kill people.

When you have a gigantic wolf who gets blood and gore everywhere, it helps to have an OCD sheriff played by Maxwell Caulfield and Gil Gerard as a military man on the case. This was also known as Dinowolf, which may be a better title, but it’s not like I wouldn’t watch it if it had a worse one. I’m in full Fred Olen Ray overwatch mode.

There’s also a deputy pining over his ex but I’ll be honest, I watched this movie as I would have when I was a little kid: I was only here for werewolf-based slaughter of human beings. Good news: I got everything that I wanted.

Bonus points for ripping off the ending of the original The Thing to kill the practical effect werewolf, which looks ridiculous in all the best of ways.

You can watch this on Tubi.

APRIL MOVIE THON DAY 24: Magadheera (2009)

Director and writer S. S. Rajamouli had a wonderful inspiration for this movie. He told Idlebrain: “My father Vijayendra Prasad prepared a story for a film titled Jagadeka Veerudu with Krishna as hero in the direction of Sagar. They didn’t like that concept and it was turned down. I was working as an assistant to my father at that time. I always wanted to do that story and it required huge budget.

When I was granted big budget from Allu Arvind for Charan’s movie, I picked this subject up. I watched DVDs of Alfred Hitchcock’s TV series before making Magadheera. What intrigued me is that he reveals the entire plot in the beginning and still be able to maintain the suspense by showing how the protagonist does it. It became an eye opener for me. That is the reason why I revealed the story of the movie right on the film’s launch.”

The reincarnation theme is about four people:

Kala Bhairava (Ram Charan), a valiant warrior and bodyguard for the royal family who is reborn as motorcyclist Harsha.

Princess Mithravinda Devi (Kajal Aggarwal), who is in love with Kala, who refuses to admit it, and returns as Indira.

Ranadev Billa (Dev Gill), the leader of the army who lusts for both power and the princess, reborn as Rajasthani monarch Raghuveer.

Emperor Sher Khan (Srihari), who wants to conquer the kingdom, and the fisherman Solomon.

The film may start in 2009, as  Harsha meets and falls in love with Indira. Meanwhile, Raghuveer has also become enraptured by her and is the first to realize that all of their fates are intertwined. It takes a near-death experience — and the murder of his father at the hands of Raghuveer — for Harsha to relive his past, including an epic chariot race and a battle to defeat a hundred of Khan’s soldiers that ends in tragedy before we come back to the present, a place where no one’s fate is set.

Just like Karz, reincarnation is central to this movie. It’s also a film packed with CGI and big ideas. It was so popular that it became the first Telugu film in India to have a blu ray release. Even in the U.S., on just three screens in New Jersey, it made $150,000. It may also feel a lot like Gladiator and 300, but the idea that it’s pushing to look as grandiose as those films left me exhilarated. The battle against the one hundred soldiers is just incredible and must be seen.

You can watch this on YouTube.