EricJ

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Everything posted by EricJ

  1. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    I've been waiting for a Blu-ray upgrade, but think Criterion used the public-domain Hal Roach TV sources, that added music and sound effects. (Came out in a double-feature release with "The Bank Dick", which is now back with Universal.) ...Anyone know if the original film sources are public-domain either, or also Universal?
  2. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Any back to back comparisons with Maurizio Nichetti's spoof The Icicle Thief (1989), where a director sees his award-winning (and scene-specific De Sica-parody) bleak Italian neo-realist film aired on TV, only to be interrupted by annoyingly cheery commercials?
  3. EricJ

    Barbara Eden (1931-2018)...?

    Unlike the better-remembered "The Jetsons" (George was a freakin' crab!), The Flintstones had a brilliant sense of the same overstated "Sarcasm ad absurdum" satire that The Simpsons became better known for, only with more surreal screwball/wisecracking cartoon silliness in place of Matt Groening's cynical bile toward all of the common man. In our house, we grew up with so many Flintstones lines beaten into our heads (and drove our parents crazy with them), they became as quotable as the Chuck Jones cartoons--One of our favorites was when Fred gets a job as school-bus driver, and one of the parents on his route is a suspiciously Ethel Merman-like mom and her plain-Jane daughter: "This is my daughter, little Rosalie Gypsum--She's gonna be a big star someday! Show 'em your new ballet step, Rosalie:" (bwoing, bwoing, bwoing!) "She does adagios, too!" "I wanna be normal, like all the other kids!" "Shaddup and do your soft-shoe for the nice man--A-one, and a-two:" (bwoing, bwoing, bwoing!)
  4. Which reminds me of my grumble about the scary-but-funny underrated guilty-pleasure House (1985), with William Katt and George Wendt, always being confused with the "Feature length Wacky-Japanese-Commercial" horror House (1977) (Although that still comes in second to sharing Sepia's gripe about "Avengers" discussions turning out to be about Marvel superheroes, and not Mr. Steed & Mrs. Peel.)
  5. EricJ

    Do You Watch TCM Underground Often?

    (Although some might distinctly dispute that point. 👎 ) I must ask: They've had disco movies on TCMU?
  6. EricJ

    Do You Watch TCM Underground Often?

    Yyyeah, pretty much. The gimmick when it was released was "The first tongue-in-cheek slasher spoof!", which is up for debate. That was my point, about the MGM Orphans, especially on Amazon and Hulu (also considering the original movie was from Hemdale, one of the "orphaned" MGM-acquisition studios, which is why "Platoon" and "Hoosiers" are also cropping up like kudzu every danged where you look): ...Oh, don't worry. You'll FIND it. 😓 If it isn't on Amazon Prime (and it is), try PlutoTV or Vudu On Us, where it's never not playing.
  7. EricJ

    Do You Watch TCM Underground Often?

    Terminal Man? Yeah, might want to record that one, for the benefit of the fast-forward button. I remember when they showed that to our rowdy all-night sci-fi audience, and...the result wasn't pretty. Fun, in a way, but not pretty. (They also showed Lawnmower Man the year it opened, and even then, it was the definition of So 90's. Now that I've got a Playstation VR helmet, I might go back and snicker at 90's movies' depiction of "Virtual reality". )
  8. EricJ

    Do You Watch TCM Underground Often?

    It's NOT--Motel Hell likely only showed up as one of the "MGM Orphans", as, like "Night of the Lepus", it's been showing up every danged elsewhere on streaming in the past few year or two, as many of MGM/UA's Cannon, American International and other late 60's-early 80's B-acquisitions have. I'm all for the idea of TCM Underground; conjures up the old 90's "TNT Monstervision", back when Joe Bob Briggs used to host it, and which TNT promoted with clips of "5,000 Fingers of Dr. T.". But on one of the other streaming channels, Vudu Free Movies On Us tried to spin off their "Impact" streaming channel of rare underground B-movies, and within a few months, their lineup soon degraded to the exact same twelve MGM/UA/Cannon movies over and over. Including guess-which. If we see "Lifeforce", "Night of the Comet" or "Return of the Living Dead" show up as Underground Movies, you'll know the orphanage has claimed another movie-broadcast victim. After Hours, "Kafka-esque"? Actually, that's a good point, never thought about it that way. (And After Hours has also been a lot more visible lately, with the new 80's-Paramount wing of the orphanage.) I just took it as a general "nightmare comedy"--and Marty's got a great sense for comedy that we don't see very often--but CtToI, it does follow the exact same structure of a Kafka story, only played for midtown-New Yorker laughs. A few years ago, everyone was struggling to follow the plot of Scorsese's "mindbending" Shutter Island (2010), which was so bald-faced and flat-out Kafka fan-fiction, one of the characters in the script even accuses the villains' plot of "That's the Kafka-esque brilliance of it." Okay, Marty, we GET it, you read him in college. Still, unlike Woody Allen's fan-fictions of Bergman, Fellini and Chekov, Scorsese could at least create a Kafka comedy...Don't see that every day.
  9. Nah, they'd never do a remake-- It's not a struggle-out-of-bankruptcy MGM/UA property, like the Magnificent Seven, Ben-Hur, Poltergeist, Robocop, Total Recall, Amityville Horror, Carrie, Scarface, Death Wish, Thomas Crown Affair, Rollerball and Clash of the Titans remakes. (Only streaming fans have started to notice the Suspicious Link.) From the archival screen tests, early favorite Paulette Goddard would've stepped up to the role.
  10. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    "Your play, Sam, put down a card." "All right, don't rush me, Ah'm a-thinkin'! (beat pause) And mah head hurts." Basically, this one was stuck between the doomed Hiroshima metaphor of the first movie, and Ishiro Honda's move to more whimsical, fantastic subplots starting with "Mothra", leaving this one as neither fish nor fowl (nor lizard). Never mind that it was stuck between the B/W first film and the later "fun" color ones. It wants to be "Doomed science" continuing the Dr. Serizawa plot of the first movie and doesn't know how, and it wants to be "Lighthearted kaiju fun" and doesn't know how. Basically, it doesn't seem to know WHAT the heck it's doing, which, as noted, is why the fans rarely look it up outside of completism.
  11. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Probably because the mask's fixed expression doesn't make the monster look "fearsome", but more like he's saying "O-kayyy, that didn't work, how do we put this thing back on now?"
  12. EricJ

    star trek the mess

    No, she was fairly sexy, but given that Trek1 and Nighthawks were her only two big (unfortunate) roles before sinking back into TV and B-movies, there isn't much else to say about her career. Trek1 originally came out of plans to do a revival TV series, and bald-Khambatta was going to be the new regular sexy-alien character--But those never happened, so they killed off her character and the new Stephen Collins first-mate, in the movie, and Kirstie Alley took over as a female Vulcan in Trek2 when they were wondering whether to kill off Spock. Looks exactly like the old Smith Opera House in Geneva, NY, which had been reduced to being the local movie theater, when I grew up in the next town over. Say "Theater" to kids today, and you'll hear whines about cineplexes and cellphones, but this is the definition I remember. This was back in the mid-70's, though, before we moved away, so seeing Star Trek II for the first time there would have been one of those life-seminal moments, with or without Shatner.
  13. EricJ

    Burt Reynolds (1936-2018)

    Even McDonald's had to bow to the superiority of the Wendy's burger with their "Arch Deluxe" back in '99, but all anyone ever complained about were the ad campaigns, which were messed up in literally half a dozen ways. ---- Back on the subject of Burt's filmography: With everyone complaining about the Great iTunes Purge this week, and jumping onto their blogs with their shocking discovery that--gasp!--they never really owned the movies they bought on iTunes! 😮 --it's a good time to point out that I tried going back to look up the original first "Cannonball Run" movie on Amazon/Vudu, and had to go up the street to our local library to find it on disk instead. Apparently, the first movie wasn't anywhere on streaming...This looks like a job for Captain Chaos. (For some reason, though, "Cannonball Run II", where half the race is substituted by a cartoon, and Frank Sinatra never seems to be in the same shot with any of the other characters, is readily available and everywhere on streaming, but that didn't help me, as I'd already seen it.)
  14. EricJ

    star trek the mess

    You...STARTED...with Trek1: the Motion Picture?? 😱 The one fans have written off as "never existed"? Well, that explains the childhood trauma. If there was ever indeed a "mess", albeit not the shambling, unholy one that Trek5: the Final Frontier was. Time to wash the brain and start over. (If it makes you feel any better, director Robert Wise said he'd never seen the show in his life before directing Trek1, either.) You might want to start with the one the original poster was ranting on about in the first place thinking everyone in the world had already seen, as most of them have: Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan (1982). Not just the best of the Trek movies, but widely considered to be the best movie adaptation of a TV series ever done, period, and the rest of the Trek series, JJ Abrams included, spent the rest of its days trying to escape its shadow. When "Into Darkness" basically homaged half the script, you know it's a Potent Quotable. Then you'll understand why fans always talk about the "even-numbered movies" (ie. the ones written by Nicholas Meyer), before going on to the cute #4, the darn-good #6, and the #8 that finally did Trek:Next Generation justice. 🖖
  15. EricJ

    Film Watching Preparation List

    Only in the case of the Peter Jackson "King Kong", the Disney "Muppets", or that upcoming Goosebumps-knockoff about the house with the clock in its walls. She's sure got nice...bones! (looks around to see how many fellow geezers are pretending not to remember that)
  16. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Why bother with YouTube, when it's on Blu-ray? Or, it is on my shelf, anyway. There are a few much-persecuted films I will defend to the death, and Street Fighter is one of them, not least for Julia's performance--Which goes well beyond "Going along with the gag", and all the way into "Having a grand old time with it". For every bad videogame movie adaptation you can think of, this is one of the good ones, in that tongue-in-cheek writer-director Steven deSouza actually played the arcade game with his kid, and had some background about what made the characters so appealing--That may be the secret everyone else was missing. Intentional tongue-in-cheek (eg. the Flash Gordon movie or the 60's Batman) is very hard to pull off, let alone make instantly quotable. I...get the sense you haven't played the original game? (Which is possible, as it's from the 90's.) There are so many Easter eggs from the arcade game deSouza slipped in, you just have to give him credit.
  17. EricJ

    Barbara Eden (1931-2018)...?

    Uh, the reason we're all quoting classic Bob Newhart Show lines was that somebody had misread Bill Daily's obit last week, which Jeannie co-star Eden was still alive to comment on? How, we don't know, but she still looks amazing. 😊 A change of title may be needed, but it also helps to read previous posts. Actually, he was an American version of "Til Death Do Us Part"'s Alf Garrett--who had just as many East End Brit-bigoted things to say about Pakistanis and Europeans--back when Norman Lear was picking the bones of every classic Britcom and trying to make them "relevant". Ohh, was Lear a pest, until the Cheers/Taxi sitcoms came along. Although most Sanford & Son fans who got their first look at "Steptoe & Son"'s Wilfrid Brambell in "A Hard Day's Night" probably know that already. (And got the joke about Grandfather McCartney being "very clean".) Fred Flintstone, of course, WAS very intentionally an offshoot of Ralph Kramden, to the point that the writers even remade classic Honeymooners episodes and homaged the "String of polopponies" gag in one of them.
  18. EricJ

    Barbara Eden (1931-2018)...?

    The two great "football-rivalries" among rerun fans are The Addams Family vs. the Munsters, and I Dream of Jeannie vs. Bewitched. (There's also Dick York vs. Dick Sargent, but that's too easily resolved.) There is a great discussion about the former for a later time , but as for IDOJ vs. Bewitched, the issue is always that Bewitched's Samantha rarely did any of her own magic on the show--She wanted to be a normal suburban housewife, and only uses it to cover up, keep up appearances and protect her husband's Mad-Men job when everyone else, eg. Endora, Serena, Uncle Arthur, and other antagonists, show up to start causing mischief because they don't like suburban whitebread normies. Jeannie, OTOH, did exactly what she wanted, and was too impulsive and hopeful to be persuaded--esp. from Major Nelson's perspective--why that could ever be a bad thing. The network had to tone down her more directly-forward impulses into more innocent schoolgirl ones in the first black-and-white season, after Tony takes her bottle home in the first episode, establishes the separate sleeping arrangements, and Jeannie still tries to pink-smoke herself under the door back into his bedroom before Tony kicks her out again. (Again, fans of a certain iconic Japanese anime character will notice uncanny resemblances, and even deliberate homages, as in one episode of the anime where the characters have a school costume party, and guess who dresses up as what...)
  19. EricJ

    Barbara Eden (1931-2018)...?

    If you look at the original Bob Newhart pilot episode ("P-I-L-O-T", where Bob and Emily discuss having children), the writers' original idea for Howard Borden was very different: He was still going to be the recently-divorced swinging downstairs neighbor of normal intelligence, but a bit of an unlikable jerk, who wielded the "power" of reminding everyone he was president of the building's condo committee. At that point, they also didn't yet have Jerry in the script to take over the lovable-jerk-bachelor duties. "Say, Bob, I'm trying to write a jingle for our airline's contest...What rhymes with 'Landing gear'?" "'Have a beer'?" "Thanks. (opens refrigerator) But I still need a good rhyme." "Shut the door." "Oh, another good one!" "What have you got so far?" "So far, I've got, 'Landing gear, landing gear, landing gear, landing gear, have a beer, shut the door.'"
  20. EricJ

    Barbara Eden (1931-2018)...?

    Reminds of the line from the episode where Rob tries to get Ritchie and next-door Millie's son to play "real kids" in front of a Little League baseball wall for a commercial on the Alan Brady Show: Laura: "You mean Ritchie can't act?" Rob: "Well, with a week of coaching, he could probably play the wall..." Keep your Cosmo Kramer, Howard Borden was THE definitive lovable-dim sidekick: "Say, Bob, have you seen my son? He was supposed to be playing hide-and-seek in your bedroom, but I can't find him anywhere." "Did you look under the giggling pile of coats on the bed?" "...Ohh, so THAT'S why they were giggling!" (exits) Although she did graduate to similar sweet-unspoken romantic leads for George Pal, in "7 Faces of Dr. Lao", and "Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm". But, since we know she was alive as of last Tuesday (and that Dick Clark would have killed to get whatever Eternal Youth formula she's still using), any use of the past tense refers to the film roles. And some of it was flat-out brilliant. (And by "some", I mean Dick Van Dyke, the first three seasons of The Flintstones, and, of course, The Addams Family...Three sitcoms whose humor was at least ten years ahead of their time.) I Dream of Jeannie was not prime scriptwriting by 60's standards, but the characters had fun. I tried going back through the series again, and only those versed in classic Japanese anime will know why I laughed myself silly watching Eden's dangerously and impulsively force-of-nature optimistic Jeannie constantly pursuing her Darling Master, and sabotaging his NASA-bachelor dates with other girls. Anyone who thinks Jeannie was a "male chauvinistic control fantasy" has very likely never watched the series in his life. 😲 A good episode to start with, to sum up the basic idea, is "How to Be a Genie in Ten Easy Lessons", from season 2: Where Tony sighs, "Why can't I have a normal genie like Aladdin got?", and buddy Roger (the late Mr. Daily) jokes, "Well, maybe she never read that story." Tony realizes maybe she hasn't, buys a copy of Arabian Nights, and tells Jeannie to read the book while he's at work and study up on "how a genie is supposed to act". Unfortunately, Jeannie doesn't first open the book to Aladdin, she happens to open it to the story of the angry genie let out of the bottle: "'And the djinn said, 'Why, in my anger, I would--'...(continues to read with horror)...Oh, I could NEVER do such things!" So, when Maj. Nelson comes home, and insists that Jeannie act "straight out of the book", Jeannie reluctantly agrees, and has him chained over a pit of crocodiles.
  21. Now, if you want to talk about changes to Malmud's book, try the ending... Also, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was that much more annoying when pointing out that F. Scott Fitzgerald's original story was a short story, only a few pages long, and basically a summary.
  22. But it will be rooted in their educational subconscious nevertheless--After all, there is a generation who will swear on bibles that the 2002 version of The Time Machine is, quote, "better" than the 1960 version. 😱 No relation to those who think that the '03 live-action Peter Pan is one of the, quote, "best" versions of that story ever done, including the Disney. (And cannot be persuaded that Hook did not fly, Wendy did not have a repressively-PC "Aunt Millicent", and Nana was not Beethoven from the John Hughes comedies.)
  23. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Actually, part of it seemed realistic, in that Milos Forman wants to deconstruct the hippie movement as a group of hipster parasite slackers bumming in Central Park, who worked out all the aggression against their parents by taking it out on any of the easy-target "Establishment" symbols who happened to pass by, and throwing the usual cosmic babble out when anyone did accuse them of slacking. BUT, he also wants to show how much of regular society was taken in by the "myth", and keeps cutting to happy Establishment-trapped dweebs grinning at our heroes' frolics with looks of "Golly, something different just happened...I wish I could be so free-spirited too! " Which as I dimly recall from the time (though I was too young to parse most of it) was pretty much the case. Still, if Forman set out to depict Williams and his crew as obnoxious and unlikeable, he seems to have accomplished his goal.
  24. EricJ

    All Hallow's Eve Film Fare

    I have an annual pile of rotations: "Young Frankenstein", for ex., gets swapped out with "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein", on alternate years. Also, I'm still waiting for "Curse of the Demon/Night of the Demon" to be released on Blu-ray, so that can take its place as Halloween tradition. But in addition to Charlie Brown, Ray Bradbury provides my two holiday anchors every year: Disney's "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (1983), swapped out alternately with Hanna Barbera's 1993 animated "The Halloween Tree" (available on Warner Archive):
  25. I could go into my usual gripe about how Paul Thomas Anderson in "There Will Be Blood" was so role-model struck by one supporting character from Upton Sinclair's "Oil", he threw out the rest of the book, made up an entire story about how mean and cool and badass he wished he could be like the character, kept the entire plot of the book offstage while filming "everything else that happened" so he could turn the story into his usual snipe at fake preachers, and pretty much completely ignored any remote point about oil-worker unions that the author was originally trying to make. On the other side, you could devote a whole thread to "Buy the Title & Run" overmarketed 00's-10's children's-book movies that have absolutely, positively, obnoxiously, NOTHING to do with anything that happens in their original books: Shrek, Peter Rabbit, Stuart Little, The Polar Express, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Night at the Museum, Where the Wild Things Are, the list gets longer every Christmas, and leaving out the Paddington movies, those are just the American ones. And then, for a laugh, look up Amazon and see what happened in Ian Fleming's original James Bond 007 novels.

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