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About EricJ

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  • Birthday 06/14/1964

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  1. So, do we change Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington DC, as well? (FTR, flying into John Wayne/Orange County instead of into LAX will save you several hours if you're trying to get to Anaheim for Disneyland. Just from experience.)
  2. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    For a second, I thought he was going to go into the Mike Myers SNL "Sprockets" sketch: "I have seen the American TV program 'Mister Ed': A man escapes his futile existence and loveless marriage by reaching out to the Freudian symbol of a horse--But soon hears voices, deep mocking voices that only he alone can hear...A gripping portrait of a man's tortured descent into madness."
  3. EricJ

    R.I.P. Peter Tork (1942-2019)

    One observation I'd heard about the Marx Brothers was that they were a "cross-section" of early stage-era American humor, playing off each other: Groucho was a motormouthed ad-libber for those who'd never seen Burlesque, Chico was a funny Q&A foreigner for those who'd never seen Vaudeville routines, Harpo was a clown for those who'd never seen the Circus, Zeppo had his brief time as Variety star, and when they fell into synch, you got a perfect mix. The Monkees were assembled to try and repeat the four "Hard Day's Night" Beatles characters, but the show's producers also didn't know which 60's "Young people" would be watching, and tried to create a crossover appeal: Davey was the bubblegum idol for the 12-yo. girls, Mike came out of the folk-rock movement, Peter was the flower-child hippie, and Mickey's vocals had an "angry" vibe that gravitated to the Yippie protests by the time he started singing antiwar songs and wearing tied-dyed dashikis...Basically a cross-section of 60's music and culture, and when they fell into synch for comedy and cultural-satire, you got a perfect mix. Er, Mike Nesmith was already a songwriter before joining the group, having already written "Different Drum" for Linda Ronstadt & the Stone Poneys. (As he parodied on the show. ) Not to mention a few of the Monkees' own later hits. They may not have played their own tracks on the albums, but Peter Tork's keyboards were usually his own.
  4. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    That's an interesting question, so leave it up to the film-culture Historian to ponder that one... .... ...AHA! I know! I would put the historical cutoff date to 1991, when he was still playing "Hip dudes" in Hudson Hawk, but a large part of the disastrously inflated budget was in tweaking his onscreen/marketing image to try and hide the fact that his hairline was obviously receding. (Yes. Not making this up.) He still had hair in 1988's Sunset and 1990's Die Hard 2, but after '91, he switched to his "bullethead" shaved look, and adopted more "bulletproof" comic-book personas to go with it.
  5. EricJ


    That's the same Foghorn picture I use when I troll Trump's "Mexico will pay for the wall!" tweets with: "The boy, ah say, the boy's so dumb, he thinks the Mexican border pays RENT." (Foggy was prophetic for his time.) As for Jake, think he already missed the obvious Emily-Latella thread disclaimer about forty-three posts ago, back on Page 1...Thirty-six of them Jake's.
  6. EricJ

    R.I.P. Peter Tork (1942-2019)

    "Why am I always the dummy?" Because you were good at it, Pete--It takes the right delivery to be one of the great "dim" characters in sitcoms, and you can't play dumb without being smart enough to do it. (Sorry, that's one of the complaints I always had about the show, "Head" and Bob Rafelson taking out their own fatigue with the "kiddy" TV series on the audience. Don't blame us, we KNEW what we were watching, and we liked it.) Boyce & Hart claimed they were trying to write "imitation Beatles" songs for the first episodes, and thought "Wasn't there a 'train' in 'Paperback Writer'?--'I can meet you at the station', something like that?" There wasn't, and a classic was born. "Paperback Writer" is one of the few Lennon/McCartney songs that has a catchy standout guitar riff, and any time anyone asks me my favorite Beatles song, I pick that one because, quote, "it has a great Monkees-like guitar riff in it". That's how you could tell the two groups apart. He was the genuine representative Peace-&-Love San-Francisco Hippie, and put a good mainstream face on the "movement", while Joe Friday on another night was preaching against the wrong kind. I remember Tork appearing at the beginning of one episode to promote his new crusade of "The 'Hippie' movement is dead!", ie. that if the word was causing everyone to get so upset, maybe they should just all try calling themselves something else instead. And anyone who claims "The Monkees couldn't play their own instruments" has never seen Pete on the keyboard: And a great sense of humor, too...But:
  7. As for me, I love old movies, I like Audrey Hepburn as much as the next heterosexual guy, and I STILL wanted to slap Holly Golightly upside the head with a wet trout. 😠 And Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is okay, but Marilyn wasn't quite up to speed with the over-the-top humor of the original musical--They'd practically handed Marilyn the chance she'd always wanted to be a good sport and lampoon "Her"'s image, and she didn't quite seem to be in on the joke. (Now, "Seven Year Itch", OTOH, Billy Wilder gives her just enough to work with, and her character is Nice rather than Dim, which surprised most first-time viewers ready to make feministic PC crusades against The Dress Scene.) With most old-movie 'phobes, it's not that they don't want to see old movies, it's just that they're still carrying around their parent's 70's jokes dismissing "Late night movies" as trivial, silly, outdated, cliche'd, etc., without realizing where those traditions first came from out of our troubled Nixon era. (When to be happy or sentimental about past times was just pathetic escapism for those who couldn't cope, and cynicism was enlightenment...) Ask someone to picture "Musical", for example, and they'll probably picture the Smoke number from Esther Williams' "Million Dollar Mermaid"; ask them to picture "Noir", and they'll imitate Humphrey Bogart from "Maltese Falcon", ask them to picture "30's comedy", and they'll think the Keystone Kops were still running around back then. The trick is, how do you find the right movie to counteract that, and make them deservingly feel like schmucks for it? 😈 The use of Singin' in the Rain, for ex., has already been mentioned as the best pre-emptive strike against "MGM Musical" cliche's, "The Music Box" is the right strike against "30's comedy", "The Searchers" for those who think all westerns were a white-hat amalgam of John Wayne and Roy Rogers, etc... ...Remember, we're trying to help people who DON'T KNOW ANYTHING. Why are we considering them a threat?
  8. EricJ

    2019 Oscar Nominees Announced

    First time I heard Kirsten Lopez's song in the movie, I kept thinking "Why are they singing Frozen songs in Mexico?" 😛 If it was up to my vote, I would have picked something catchier, and more appropriate to the tone of the movie that got less screentime, like "Mi Corazon" at the at the end--But all through the movie, I felt as if studio publicity was dangling a watch in front of critics' and voters' eyes saying "You WILL nominate this for Best Song...It's better than Cats, you'll sing it again and again..." Only problem was, it was just such a non-song, and being justified with "Well, it's so central to the plot!", that I explained it to one fan with "Imagine if they'd picked Rapunzel's flower-incarnation song as the best song from 'Tangled', rather than 'I See the Light'--Yes, we hear it repeated throughout the movie, and yes, it's 'central to the plot', BUT..." So, yeah, as "shade" goes, we're talking Total Solar Eclipse, and thoroughly justifiable, too. 😎 (And TBH, you can draw an ethnic line between those who sniffled in raptures of family sentimentality over "Coco", and those who...didn't. Most white people didn't, but it wasn't altogether a bad movie.)
  9. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Enter the Dragon (1973) Wasn't a Bruce Lee fan up to this point; just continuing my quest to put all those great unseen iconic 70's movies in full context--Cleaning up yet another 70's movie on Netflix I felt I already knew every scene from without having seen, having already seen 1985's ghetto comedy The Last Dragon and being able to quote the Zuckers' scene-specific Airplane-parody in 1977's Kentucky Fried Movie from memory. (This is not a chawade!...We must have total concentwation!) As for the former--a salute to the urban-black grindhouse cult love for the movie, that also inspired Carl Douglas 70's songs about kung-fu fighting--it's easy to see why a black audience identified with the movie as much as the Asian audience did: Enter was the producer's "big" attempt to bring Bruce Lee out of Hong Kong's silly bargain-basement chop-socky, and into the more polished production of an American B-exploitation budget, and the American producers hedged their bets--Lee is here only one of three martial-arts rebels to try to infiltrate a villainous drug lord's secret island army (hired by MI6 operatives and his old dojo master), backed up by standard Blaxploitation hero Jim Kelly, and roguishly obnoxious bet-hustler John Saxon. Whichever ethnicity you identify with, they all get equal time here, and there's as much equal star time devoted to Kelly as the cool, cool hero in the first half of the movie as to Lee, who gets the climactic last third to himself. For those not into the "real" HK films--with their linguistically challenged dubs and their near Super-8 film stock--this is not one of those movies; it's American chow-mein, which makes it a good introduction to the genre. What will also strike first-timers (like me) is that Bruce Lee was more than just a fighter who made goofy faces and sounds with his kicks, but also had a sense of his own star presence. He'd already been in Hollywood since the 60's, and had experience alongside the Green Hornet, so he had enough acting chops to know how to create a character out of his image: The hip, self-assured teen-rebel on foreign ground, always ready to strike a rebellious last laugh against anti-Chinese racism or any showoff philistine who dared question the spiritual devotion of Shaolin training. A year before, Lee had reportedly developed the "Kung Fu" TV series for himself, as young rebellious prejudice-victim Caine, but CBS decided to hedge their bets with Western actor David Carradine instead. Watching Lee's star quality, Enter's a good quintessential introduction that makes you wonder how much better a series we would have gotten, outside of the home product.
  10. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Raiders was about an iconic film style, Last Crusade was about a marketable character...The Indy movies never recovered after we were expected to remember his name. No fair!--No posting without telling us where you FOUND it!
  11. I was probably exposed to more classic and obscure movies on the local station, and spent the rest of my formative years trying to find out what it was I watched, when the TV Guide wasn't handy. (Took me thirty years to identify Eddie Cantor in "Kid Millions".) Back in those days, movies were literally filler, for stations that had to kill two hours in the morning, afternoon or late night, and you clicked channels because you'd never know what you'd find--But now, stations are too corporate, too provided with syndicated talk/news, and only have money to spend on building up their news divisions, to even bother with filling time for time's sake. And if they need something at 2am, the friendly local Infomercial will pay them for their time. Used to be the independent UHF stations that needed plenty of miscellaneous filler between baseball games, but thanks to Fox, CW and MyTV, there ARE no more independent UHF stations. That's why it's hard to teach kids to read if you close all the libraries.
  12. Yeah: Turn off THAT cartoon, for a start. Basically, the Millennial treats the "old film" the way the sixth-grader treats the Shakespeare play or the Charles Dickens or Mark Twain novel he's been assigned in English class: Oh, no. It's old. It's one of THOSE things. He's been forced to sit down and analyze why his grownup teacher thinks it's so Important, and it probably won't even have a plot where things happen. And then, if he actually pays attention, things do happen, and he's reading all the way to the end...Because that's why we're still reading Dickens and Twain a hundred years later. If, like the Sarge, you browbeat some stubborn Millennial twenty years younger than you into why he "should" watch movies that are Better For Him than the Marvel ones, he's going to think you're handing him an Important movie that's Good For Him...In a word, he thinks you're going to make him watch "Citizen Kane", and write a 20-page essay on Orson Welles' use of unique editing and camera angles, like any actual moviegoer ever freakin' cared. (Literally: I repeat, get in an old-movie discussion with one, and you WILL eventually hear the K-word thrown back at you. Twenty bucks if you don't.) ...What you have to conquer is not Ignorance, but Fear and Terror of the Unknown.
  13. EricJ


    Well, he did have that brief time in real-estate investment: But things didn't turn out well, and now he's putting his money into new Digital Streaming networks and content. 😛
  14. EricJ

    2019 Oscar Nominees Announced

    Probably because they're still wondering whether that constituted an actual song.
  15. No one knows why (well, I do--Show them another snarky wisecracking Comden & Green musical next, like "Band Wagon"), but "Singin' in the Rain" is always THE first movie to show the mythical Someone Who's Never Seen Old Movies Before. That's "The" as in, THE. Not Kane. Not Scarlett. Not Dorothy. Not Travis, Norman, Maria or Atticus. Just Don, Cathy, Cosmo & Lena. Think Singin' may be unique in that it's literally the last thing the old-movie decade-shamer expects: Five minutes into the Hollywood premiere, and Don's "Dignity" story, and the hooked moviegoer--and his bemused reaction of "Wait, this is, like...funny!"--realizes it's not going to be the psychotically smiling diving-bathing-beauty movie he pictured in his arrogant imagination when you said "MGM musical". Muahahahaaa...Why no, it ISN'T, is it? 😈

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