Tag Archives: crime

D.B. Cooper

D.B. Cooper is the alias of an unidentified man who successfully hijacked a plane on November 24, 1971. ”Twas the night before Thanksgiving and D.B. Cooper had a meticulous plan. He bought a plane ticket with cash and shortly after takeoff he told a flight attendant that he had a bomb in his briefcase. He demanded four parachutes and two hundred thousand dollars in cash. His demands were met, he released some hostages, and arranged for the plane to go to Mexico. At some point during the flight he jumped out of the plane with the money and two parachutes, never to be seen again. It was and still remains the only unsolved case of air piracy in commercial aviation history.

Whether or not he survived is unknown. But this was a man with a plan and he’s become a legend. The FBI investigated the case for more than forty-five years before giving up. He inspired a slew of copycats, none of which were successful. It’s a fascinating story and Hollywood has been slacking on telling his tale. Someone needs to make a movie about him. Maybe Kevin Spacey can play him. His schedule is pretty open these days.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Be Careful Out There

My girlfriend lives in the Tenderloin, which is one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in San Francisco. Yesterday we were walking to the store and we passed by a homeless guy in a wheelchair going the opposite direction. We crossed the street and we suddenly heard screaming from behind us, right where we just were. Screams aren’t that uncommon in the TL where crackheads and crazy people run rampant, but this was different. It was someone screaming in terror. I turned around to see what was happening. 

I saw a blonde lady on the ground behind the cars parked by the curb. She was screaming but I couldn’t tell why until a guy ran past me towards the girl. He was yelling “No! No way! Get off her! Get off her, man!” I knew something was wrong so I told my girl to wait and I ran after the guy to see what was up. The homeless guy was no longer in his wheelchair, he was on the ground bear hugging the blonde lady as she was screaming for her life. The homeless guy saw that he was surrounded by a bunch of angry bystanders and he let her go as more people showed up and surrounded him to keep him from going anywhere. She got up, crying and sobbing, completely terrified. I stood between her and the homeless guy who slinked back into the wheelchair. Suddenly I heard screeching tires and a bike cop appeared out of nowhere. 

 I looked around and was surprised at how many people were all around us. The street was empty a moment before, but now there were about thirty people all around us. There were cellphones out taking video, everyone asking everyone else what had happened. The blonde lady knew she was safe now and she explained that she was walking by him when he stood up out of his wheelchair, grabbed her, and pulled her to the ground. The cop detained him and I hung around for a few minutes to make sure the blonde lady was ok. I asked her if she needed me to call anyone for her. She pulled out a cigarette and a nice crackhead came up and gave her a light. I overheard another crackhead scolding the creep, saying things like “You piece of shit, what if someone did that to your mother? Or your sister? Fuck you, man! You fucked up now!”

A couple more cops showed up on the scene. Nobody asked for my statement and me and my girlfriend eventually walked away talking about how crazy the whole situation was. It was broad daylight and we had just walked past that guy. He could have attacked my girlfriend if I wasn’t with her. I didn’t like the Tenderloin before and now I really don’t like it. I’m always going to feel uneasy for her to walk around her own neighborhood. I want her to carry Mace or a Taser at all times but I know that she might not have time to use it. Her most effective weapon would be to scream bloody murder like the blonde lady did. Her screams saved her life. 

So be careful out there. The world is a dangerous place. I saw how fucked up some people can be. But I also saw how good some people can be. A lot of us ran to help a complete stranger. They were young and old, all different races, some were homeless and some were in business suits. That’s great for humanity and all, but the lesson to take away is that it only takes a second for a scumbag to fuck everything up. That blonde lady is lucky that there were good people there to save her but she’s never going to be able to walk down the street feeling safe again. She’s scarred for life. 

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Wounds (film)

The Wounds is a Serbian film that I never would have heard of if it weren’t for a Serbian guy that I work with. It’s about a kid named Pinki growing up in Belgrade with his best friend Švaba during the Yugoslav wars. The two friends embrace the criminal lifestyle and their only goal is to be infamous. They evolve from kids into criminals over a few years and the movie is realistic and depressing and you are compelled to watch.

A lot of the movie gets lost in translation. This is a period piece as much as it is a gangster film, and I’m admittedly a little rusty on my Serbian history. But one thing that is universal are characters and emotions. You know who these characters are and you know what they are feeling. And when shit happens to them, you can relate to them.

The movie begins with Pinki riding shotgun with Švaba. The conversation is somewhat casual, but you can’t help but notice that Pinki is riddled with bullet holes and there is an air of tension between the two. The movie flashes back a few years to a younger Pinki and Švaba as they joyfully bully their tagalong friend, Dijabola. They constantly pick on him and ridicule him and throw fucking rocks at his head and laugh as the tears and blood run down his face.

Dijabola’s sexy mom is a TV reporter that works for a show called Puls Asfalta (or Pulse of the Asphalt). She interviews notable persons of the criminal underworld and she turns them into stars. One criminal named Dickie wants to be on the show desperately, and he’s crazy enough to get on it. He introduces Pinki and Švaba to crime and mentors them to be as crazy and ruthless as he is. The time comes when he teaches them everything he can and they no longer need him.

The friends descend deeper and deeper into despair and killing and violence means nothing to them. They only want respect and they try to get it by appearing on Pulse of the Asphalt. They both want to get with Dijabola’s sexy mom and the jealous feelings cause Švaba to shoot Pinki a few times, and the movie is back to the opening scene. Now you now why Pinki was all shot up and why there was so much tension. But the movie’s not over yet. Now you have to experience the climax. Instead of telling you what happens, you should just kill an hour and forty minutes and just watch it now. You’re not that busy, so here you go.

This movie is comparable to City of God. But in The Wounds the main character embraces crime and celebrates it. In City of God, the main character resists crime and fears it. Pinki is not a bad kid, but he still chose to be a criminal. He’s not as coldblooded as Švaba, but he doesn’t back down from anything,

The movie is very sexual. I guess sex and violence go hand in hand as far as entertainment is concerned, but still, holy shit, this film is sexual. Pinki starts by stating proudly that he masturbates, and he does so furiously and frequently. As he starts to rise up the criminal ranks, he starts fucking prostitutes. In front of Dickie and Švaba and Dijabola. And they’ll take turns and watch each other and comment. Pinki and Švaba go skinny dipping together and have no qualms about being naked together but will still insult each other by calling the other one a faggot. Pinki never has a girlfriend. He’s had sex, but he’s never made love. And there’s a difference.

There is a whole subplot involving the family lives of the two friends. Pinki lives with his parents. His dad is stuck in a dead end job in the military. He gets no respect and not much of a paycheck. When Pinki turns to a life of crime, his dad is desperate enough to ask him for work. Švaba lives with his grandma, and there are quite a few funny scenes with her as she ingests drugs and partakes of their lifestyle in the sweet and innocent way that only old ladies can accomplish. When she asks for a cigarette, they offer her a joint and call it an American cigarette. When she sees Pinki doing lines of blow and asks if it’s prescription, he responds it’s Columbian and she joins in.

This movie is subtitled, but it still sucks you in. After a few minutes you are hooked. There are a lot of references to Serbian history that will go over most people’s heads (including my own), but that doesn’t make this movie any less impactful. The movie ends on a down note. It’s not a happy way to sum up the story. But it’s the realistic way to end it. That’s how it ends for most people that choose that lifestyle. I’m trying to be vague here. Just watch it and see how you feel. By the way, the main actor died in 2000 while serving in the Serbian military under mysterious circumstances. You should honor his memory by seeing his work. I can honestly say that this is the best Serbian movie I’ve ever seen.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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City of God (film)

Some movies change your life. This is one of them. It’s the story of a kid named Rocket and his struggles to escape the crime and gang activity that surrounds him in the City of God. It’s a Brazilian film and all the dialog is in Portuguese with English subtitles. A lot of people are thrown off by movies that require reading, but this is one of the best movies of all time, so don’t let a little reading deter you from experiencing this film.

The movie starts with a chicken escaping some gangsters. That’s the ideal way to start any movie by the way. The gang is running after the chicken and they cross paths with Rocket, our main character and narrator. Rocket thinks that the gang wants to kill him and the films jumps to a flashback to explain why.

It begins with the tale of the Tender Trio who spend their days doing small robberies and heists in their slum town called the City of God. Rocket’s older brother is Goose is one third of the trio, the other members are Shaggy and Clipper. The Tender Trio share their loot with the citizens in exchange for protection from the police. A young hoodlum named Li’l Dice wants his shot at the big time and he plans a hotel robbery with the Tender Trio. He’s too young to participate so they make him the lookout. Instead of keeping an eye out, he shoots the fuck out of the hotel occupants. The slaughter draws the attention of the cops and marks the end of the Tender Trio and the rise of Li’l Dice.

The movie jumps forward a few years to the ‘70s. Rocket is busy trying to stay out of trouble. He’s developed an interest in photography but is more preoccupied with losing his virginity. Li’l Dice is more preoccupied with power and wants to control the City of God. He changes his name to Li’l Zé and starts to kill off all the drug dealers to get their turf and customers. Li’l Zé’s partner in crime is Benny. While Li’l Zé is ruthless and cruel, Benny is popular and cool. He’s still a gangster, but he’s not bloodthirsty.

Zé takes over all the competition, except for a dealer named Carrot who is friends with Benny. There’s a brief period of peace for a minute, but then a gang of street kids called the Runts don’t respect the fact that there’s a new boss in town. Zé has a recruit kill a Runt to send a message. Zé also decides that he wants all the turf and wants to kill Carrot, the only thing stopping him is Benny.

Benny dies because that’s what happens when you live by the gun. And Carrot knows that Zé wants to kill him, so he starts to recruit an army. Carrot joins forces with Knockout Ned. At one point Knockout Ned was a peaceful citizen, but then Zé raped his girlfriend, killed his brother, and tried to kill Ned. So there’s a little beef between the two.

The movie moves into the ‘80s, with Carrot and Knockout Ned’s army continuously engaged in combat with Zé’s army… the sides keep recruiting and getting more firepower and the violence continuously escalates. Rocket gets an opportunity to photograph Zé and it gets published in the newspaper. Rocket thinks that his life is now in danger, and the movie comes back full circle to the beginning with Li’l Zé’s gang chasing a chicken and running into Rocket, and him fearing for his life.

What happens next is cool and I won’t give it away. But you should have seen this movie already. In fact, why haven’t you? It should be required viewing. That’s my new rule; you can’t watch any more movies until you see this one.

On the surface, the movie is about crime in the slums of Brazil. If you dig a little deeper, you realize that’s its just the exploits of a horny kid trying to get laid in the slums while occasionally having run-ins with the criminals that control his city. He’s on a quest to lose his virginity, but he doesn’t try very hard and often sabotages his chances.

Most of the actors aren’t actors. The majority are from real slums, some even from the real City of God. They were sent to actor’s workshop for a little while so they wouldn’t suck on camera, and the end result is a film that feels real, that feels like a documentary. Some of their performances will haunt you.

See this movie. Right now. It’s practically a perfect movie. The only downside is that it is subtitled. If it weren’t for my occasional drunken laziness influencing my rating, this would be a perfect score. If you are tired or drunk you don’t want to deal with reading subtitles. But if you are alert and sober, give it a go.

Critically Rated at 16.5/17

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