EricJ

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Everything posted by EricJ

  1. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    And I'd seen the original BBC Joss Ackland version of Shadowlands, and while Attenborough's 1993 Anthony Hopkins version was pleasant and all, it left me thinking, "Why did they make this??" Generally, in the 70's, there was a lot of "Old-movie parody/homage", some of it caused by the new mania for "That's Entertainment", and some by our troubled Nixon-era 70's picking on happy innocent TV icons for the crime of being clueless and mainstream, one of which icons was late-nite movies with local used-car ads. Even in late-60's/early-70's movies, when revival theaters were still around, movies and TV shows depicted revival-theater audiences as either a place for the bums to hang out during the day, except for one or two naive mousy dreamers who couldn't handle the modern world, and just sat watching Fred & Ginger all afternoon. (Qv. Woody Allen's character in "Play It Again, Sam".) At that time, if you said "Old movies", people literally thought there were only seven of them ever made: The Maltese Falcon, Stagecoach, Frankenstein, Angels With Dirty Faces, King Kong, Dawn Patrol, and Swing Time, only in color, with Busby Berkeley bathing-beauties doing leg patterns like in 42nd St...Oh, and something with the Keystone Kops throwing a pie fight.
  2. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Oh What a Lovely War (1969) - 👍👎 (mixed) Now that the weather's turning warmer, I can start going next door to our local library--whose DVD section inherited an entire 30-year downtown-storefront rental shop --and start browsing old movies there again. Managed to find this one, from the '69-'75 days when movies weren't allowed to make bitter satirical antiwar statements against Vietnam, and had to metaphorically pick on all the other bungled wars of the past instead, with WWI being a very, very, VERY frequent target. (Unless you happened to pick on Korea or WWII, but those were different movies.) The concept here, taken from a London stage musical at the time, was to musically satirize England's role in WWI through real vintage music-hall and soldier songs, with the abstract framing device of cutting between real battle scenes, and the stage's concept of depicting WWI as a flag-waving Brighton beach-pier Sunday outing for the middle and upper-class folk: Normally, "Absurdist/symbolist musical satire" would be the kind of thing you would sensibly(?) give to Ken Russell--But, since nobody mentions sex or religion, and spends their time in uniforms talking about king-and-country, they had to give it to Lord Richard Attenborough instead...Who, when he's not directing bitter satires of king-and-country, is one of the most frustratingly pedestrian directors in the business, who directs like he's flipping pages through the script, without any sense that there's some ultimate goal to the story: I was one of the few people in '82 who thought "Gandhi" was ridiculously heavy-handed, Robert Downey Jr. still thinks it was his own fault the frustratingly pointless "Chaplin" didn't get an Oscar, and I have less idea why Attenborough was picked for "A Chorus Line: the Movie" than for why it was made. When the movie works, it's a good historical Cliff-Notes for the events of WWI (we never got to study it in college as much, so I had no idea of the battles going in, or what happened after Archduke Ferdinand), but it's a long 2-1/2 hours, and both Attenborough and the play have enough time to make their points very early and very often: The usual targets--the upper class thought the War was more triumph for Britannia, the generals were out-of-touch lunatics, the soldiers knew they were on death-row--all seemed to be handled better and with more acidic satire (and just as much revisionist preachiness) in BBC's "Blackadder Goes Forth" Britcom, and I found old Rowan Atkinson lines from the show springing to mind in between just a historical songbook of little-known tunes.
  3. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Assuming you're talking about "Movie Movie" (1978), it was a product of what I refer to as "the Carol Burnett Show 70's", when audiences liked to trivialize "Old late-night movies" for their naive cuteness, but hadn't actually seen enough of them to make specific jokes about them. Which, of course, all changed in our culture once the VCR arrived, followed by cable. (For ex., the WWI-trailer parody: I don't think I've ever actually SEEN another WWI-flyboy movie besides the obvious Errol Flynn and "Dawn Patrol", and yet 70's jokes were convinced "old 30's movies" were flooded to the gills with them.) It's pretty obvious in the choices of old-movie targets (they had Technicolor musicals in 1933??), but all audiences had to laugh at at the time was the mangled-metaphor script, which was cute, but didn't compete with the Mel Brooks parodies that were still fresh in our mind at the time. Oh, well, here ya go--And it's on "free" Prime, too: https://www.amazon.com/Movie-George-C-Scott/dp/B07FK5DL1F/
  4. EricJ

    Kings of the B's

    Although I haven't seen it yet, Larry Cohen--and his career that spans from "Hell Up in Harlem" to "Q: the Winged Serpent"--has finally been honored with his own cult-retrospective documentary, King Cohen (2018): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPblr7nKaYw And even if it was only for "The Stuff" (1985), it would be thoroughly deserved. 👍
  5. EricJ

    RIP 20th Century Fox

    Some do-- Bubbles happen when people overreact that something NEW and NEATO! they absolutely don't understand, but that Those Young Kids Are Into, will officially become "the Future" that will sooner or later replace every industry it touches, and even if you don't understand what you're buying, some expert in the field has been all over CNBC explaining why it's Too Big To Fail. The folks who dove into "Self-driving cars!" last year, "Bitcoin!" the year before, and "Alibaba!" the year before that are now looking at "New applications for AI!"...Whatever those are. And BION, eight years after Comcast/NBC/Universal decided to become a "media giant", and everyone first started cancelling their [censored] [censored]in' cable-bundle subscriptions that Comcast could wrap up tightly in a [censored] [censored] and [censored] [censored] [censored] [censored][censored] 😈, those same gullible investors are now wondering whether "Hey...This company says they're starting a new streaming service! This could be a hot area for startups!" 😓 Which brings us back to Disney and Fox, and why everyone went nutso over Filmstruck, just to thumb their nose at Netflix and Amazon: The more that real movies disappear off the third-party ex-00's startup services, because the studios became too guarded of their movie libraries, starved the third-parties out and forced them to fend for themselves with foreign "Originals", the more that streaming is going to become a Game of Studios, with Warner and Universal competing against the mighty Disney/Fox for their libraries' share of the streaming-scape...For movie fans, Winter Is Coming.
  6. EricJ

    RIP 20th Century Fox

    Thank you for being literally the FIRST person I've heard in the last year to comment on the Disney/Fox deal without mentioning: the X-Men Homer Simpson Deadpool Avatar Doctor Doom Star Wars Episode IV Alien/s When those are the first movies that spring to mind, our movie culture is in deep trouble. 😓 Me, I remember back in the late 70's, when Fox had their own weekly syndicated TV knockoff of MGM's "That's Entertainment", consisting of famous nostalgic Fox clips--That was always my image of the Fox studio, back when...well, why remember, when we have YouTube?: (Keep in mind, this was fall of '77, when any mention of Star Wars on TV was "Oh no, they didn't! 😮" As we can see, however, it was also back when Fox still considered Burt & Liza in "Lucky Lady" one of their "big" films.)
  7. EricJ

    CLEOPATRA (1963) - why the hate?

    Conversely, have any movie fans really watched this movie, as opposed to getting a little, ahem-cough, too wrapped up in "Liz"'s pop-culture Hollywood iconography, and wishing they could wear that Isis dress? 😓 (Remember, Michael Jackson was a Liz Taylor fan, too...) It's LONG. Taylor does a good performance, but this is probably the both the one symbolic good and bad icon for What Happened to the 50's-60's Roadshow Epic. It could be an hour shorter, but the more money the studio put in, the more they thought they had to deliver, until the opening hype was practically assaulting the audience with its Importance. Most Roadshow-Epics play better on disk, where you can take a half or hour at a time like a mini-series, with bathroom and seat breaks, than they did for those poor audiences, in the days before reclining seats and cup-holders. Ah, the days of AMC and Backstory--Fox was using AMC to promote their big prestige DVD releases (ah, the days when studios got excited about their big classic movies premiering on DVD...), and, similar to their Marilyn/Something restoration-doc, used Backstory documentaries to make their own DVD Bonus Featuretttes. And darn good ones, too. The budget problems were first remembered for Liz Taylor, who didn't want to do the project, asking for (Dr. Evil finger-bite) one mil-lion dollars in salary to scare them off, and getting it--Like Heaven's Gate, that started the press hype starting the "Over-indulgence" stories, playing up the Dick & Liz gossip, and the audience thought they got two stars' Mediterranean vacation wastefully throwing money at the screen. It's too good to be compared to HG, but it does have the same problem of the producers going "all-in" to protect their bet the bigger the production got and the more attention spent on set detail, and telling themselves more and more that the appeal of its Stars and its Importance would come to the rescue at the box office.
  8. And still a great tune for any house band daring enough on the guitar to jam on-- No matter.....WHAT instrument takes the solo: 😮
  9. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    I'm open on Channel D, however, and so was MST3K (in arguably one of their better episodes):
  10. EricJ

    TV Land Awards Or TV Land Icon Awards

    Haven't been around for quite a few years now-- Wasn't an "awards" anyway, it was just a variety-show excuse to round up the last surviving rerun-icon actors in comedy sketches by Bruce "Star Wars Holiday Special" Villanch, and...what's the ol' fat fruit up to now, anyway? Is it true, DID he officially retire after that James Franco/Anne Hathaway Oscar disaster?
  11. EricJ

    Nickaloaden Kids Choice Awards 2019

    The same is true for any questions regarding Disney, TVLand, or Sesame Street. And frankly, just in the last few years, the network HAS become "Nickeloaden".
  12. EricJ

    Groovy Movies!

    I confess, I was having trouble thinking of any, until your avatar's Boob shot from Yellow Submarine (1968). Searching Amazon, a recent package of low-rent "Mondo" movies included a BFI restoration of Primitive London (1965)--Which promised its exploitation goers "shocking" sights of strip clubs, but only offered a documentary on the changing trends and attitudes of Swingin' proto-Beatles mid-60's London, including a segment on the Mods vs. Rockers rivalry, for those establishment folk who didn't know what our young people were up to.
  13. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Thanks to many Friday nights staying up with cable, I still have USA Network's Commander USA intro to the movie running through my head: "Gale Garnett--Sure, you know her, she sang 'We'll Sing in the Sunshine'! She's singin' a different tune in today's movie, though!" It's the low budgets of drive-in 70's-80's movies like these that used to creep the fertilizer out of me a kid/teen--Basically because our own nightmares are filmed on shoddy sound, faded color, amateur cinematography, non-existent editing, and a lack of background extras. And when it's something as strange as the they-don't-stay-down climax, they could have just hooked a camera to my head after a few bad burritos. 😮 (Well, they were correct about YouTube: "Duuude, you so totally did not break that brick wall with your face!...")
  14. EricJ

    Did anyone predict the Oscars?

    Are you...EXPECTING Captain Marvel to be nominated, or just venting at Things That Bug You? (Even as someone who likes Marvel movies, your spew wasn't far off, btw--The patient, ahem, mature moviegoer learns to take movies on a case-by-case basis. And yeah, I know what I said earlier, but we're dealing with the two opposite sides of the same coin.) Me, I say this every year--Usually in defense of the five-nomination rule (the one we got rid of after all those tantrums over Dark Knight and Wall-E not being nominated for Picture), and for getting rid of the Preferential Voting rule (the one that accidentally causes the second-place runner-up to get more votes, which, if you're wondering, is most likely HOW Green Book got the award): In our local theater growing up--an old downtown theater that looked like an old local furniture store or Italian restaurant on the outside, and a cozy-nook three-screen theater on the inside--there was a long (to me, anyway) corridor going off to the other two screens built as a new wing onto the antique-palace main theater in later generations. To decorate the corridor, they had framed collages of the Oscar-winner posters by decade, '29-'39, '40-49, etc...I might look at the 60's collage, with Lawrence of Arabia and Midnight Cowboy next to Sound of Music and Oliver, and think "Okay, two of those, I've heard of", and wonder about the other two. As a result, every year I get excited about what movie DESERVES to be on that Hall-of-Fame wall: I remember winning my betting pool against an entire film-class of students who were convinced The Killing Fields would be "powerful" enough to crush Amadeus, and when friends chortled "Ho ho, the Academy hates fantasy!...An elf movie against Clint Eastwood and Sean Penn??", my belief in the Oscars gave me the last laugh. And yes, I do know why Chicago won for '02. So, yeah, I'm PO'ed about Green Book too, but only because Black Panther, while not a great film, deserved to be on that wall--That was the film you'd want someone to be film-curious about twenty or thirty years later, while the critic-fueled Indie-attack of "Moonlight" and "Birdman" were....................................not.
  15. EricJ

    Sidekicks and Second Bananas

    And William Demarest, in any Preston Sturges comedy. Even when Sturges was forced to go "serious" in The Great Moment (1944), Demarest still runs away with the picture.
  16. EricJ

    Did anyone predict the Oscars?

    Even as someone who LIKES the Oscars--or at least the respectable five-nomination kind we used to have before 2005--you get to the age where you think, "How young was I to still try predicting Oscars?...High school?" Think it's usually around the adolescent age, when A) emotions of anticipation for something you want are higher than normal, before the hormones cool down, and B ) anything you like is looked down on as too "unimportant" by authority, and you need the social validation of having a group agree with its importance. It is literally not enough just to say "I'm looking forward to (...) in November." It's okay to predict Oscars once the nominations have been released (as in, NOT from the Golden Globes lists), but if one is still caught up in predicting "What movies coming out in 2019 are sure Oscar favorites?", we're dealing with a very literal and figurative "Grow up." (I remember a whole generation of pre-release gun-jumpers learned their lesson the year they banded together behind "Kevin Costner's going to make history again with another Picture-Director-Actor sweep for 'The Postman'!"...Okay, I see a few older folks cringing at the back. )
  17. EricJ

    Sidekicks and Second Bananas

    [anonymous praise of Arthur Hunnicutt, including later work on TZ episodes] I feel as if the "The Hunt" TZ episode had originally been meant on paper to be an over-the-top shaggy-dog Beverly Hillbillies tall-tale, for one of their lighthearted "funny" episodes-- But Hunnicutt plays his role SO un-ironically Appalachian-grizzled, it turns the entire atmosphere of the episode 100% straight, into another one of Earl Hamner's colorful down-home pre-Waltons back-country stories. One of the few times Arthur got to be top banana in a story, and I'd always spotted him in his second-banana roles ever since.
  18. EricJ

    Wizard of Oz favorite character

    "Can't I go with you and see all the crowned heads of Europe?" "What, do you know any?...Oh, you mean the, er, (points to sign)." I've also started watching Uncle Henry's few scenes at the beginning, and how he could be a minor farm character, but still hide enough Midwest savvy to heckle Miss Gulch: "Oh...She bit her DOG, eh? (gate-slap!)" (For Dorothy, he must have been the "good cop" to Aunt Em's farmwife-efficiency.)
  19. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Hughes, who tended to make his movies in bunches, liked the Dragnet scene (which was pretty much all critics and audiences liked from it too), went ahead and wrote an entire movie just for Culkin next, and you...probably might be more familiar with that one.
  20. EricJ

    Best movie ever

    So...no Monty Clift movies, then?
  21. EricJ

    Worst Movie Musical Ever Made!

    I'll let the others slide (and only a heart of stone would not cringe at seeing Rex Harrison as the doctor "whimsically" sing a love song to a seal in drag), but as for CB2, I must take exception that there are no bad Sherman Brothers musicals. I've tried to find one, and there AREN'T...Even "Huckleberry Finn" has its Sherman moments. I can even remember tunes from "Snoopy Come Home", whether I want to or not. But especially when you take the three that were arranged by Irwin Kostal (Mary Poppins, Chitty, Charlotte's Web), who could hitch up a full studio orchestra and turn even the flimsiest Sherman song into pure magic. Qv. the title tune from "Charlotte's", or the Entr'acte from Chitty. 👍 I will admit, however, that "Slipper & the Rose" tests the theory, and I have not, as yet, been able to track down The Magic of Lassie (1978). The Wiz tried hard, and could have turned Diana Ross and Michael Jackson into gold, but had Sidney "Wrongway" Peachfuzz at the helm, just because producers thought "Well, he knows NYC!". And The Pirate Movie is not just bad, it's Australian bad...That's a whole different dimension, even leaving aside any comparison to the better "real" Linda Ronstadt/Kevin Kline movie it stole. And similarly, The Apple is not just "foreign"-bad (as in "And boy, was it foreign..."), it was Menahem Golan's idea of "What a musical is"...That should speak volumes right there. Now, I just have to track down a copy of Golan's Mack the Knife (1989) version of "Threepenny Opera". Eleven years after the question no longer needed to be answered: Weird, depressing (I keep hearing Wally & Andre's discussion on "Some sentimental SS officer in love with St. Exupery's story"), sappily embarrassing for Gene Wilder, and would have been my choice, if not for Richard Kiley letting loose his Full LaMancha on the title tune...And grab the Kleenex when he does. 😥 Not a great moment for Lerner &....D'OHH!! How could I forget Paint Your Wagon (1969)? How could ANYONE??
  22. EricJ

    Print the legend...

    I'd been digging up reruns of the old Jack Webb-produced 70's Blue-Book "Project UFO" series, fresh off the Close-Encounters 70's UFO craze, on YouTube--And while I remembered it from my childhood as one of those "cool sci-fi shows" of the decade (aw, man, if they ever cancel "Powers of Matthew Starr"!), looking at it again, I was struck with how much Webb and the ex-Blue Book producer/consultant had designed the show to rationally debunk UFO sightings, with at least one explainable sighting explained in each episode...And, like Dragnet's Joe Friday giving his sad "Whadda we do with 'em? 😓 " head-shake every time some disgruntled citizen said "Why don't you police do your jobs for us taxpayers??", star William Jordan, doing his dead-on Webb imitation, would do the Sad Friday Head-Shake every time some average jerk-citizen in the episodes would say "It's all a big government coverup! When are you Air Force guys going to tell the people the REAL truth about what's in Area 51??" That caused some problems for NBC, which had been hoping for a Neato Spaceship show for the kiddies--So, in the second season, Jordan's character was replaced, and while the fictional Blue Book investigators would still bust one sighting per episode and leave another one Unexplained, the ratio of "Unexplained" sightings began to rise in the second season, and even the Explained ones would have an ambiguously backpedaling "...Or WAS IT???" last shot deliberately tacked on by the network just before the closing-credits freeze. Think that comes under the heading of "When facts become legend..."
  23. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    TGC confused the living heck out of everyone when it came out, since it was originally pitched as just another generic Paramount fantasy-gimmick action-cop comedy for Mel Gibson--Until Paramount thought the script needed a punch-up, so they brought in Eddie Murphy, fresh off of ad-libbing his way through the equally generic "Beverly Hills Cop" (which had originally been written for Sly Stallone), and let him motormouth-destroy this generic action-comedy for more box-office money. Which is what confused everyone in the audience: All the other actors on screen are taking the script gimmick absolutely at face value, while Murphy just "huuhh-huuhh" Murphy-chuckles at the ridiculousness of its all, proudly refuses to play along, and sets out to write his own script to the movie instead, like some live onscreen MST3K heckling of it by its own actor: (If, like the actors, you're taking the whole story seriously...you're just not in on the joke. )
  24. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    For some reason, that last bit reminds me of Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child (1986) ("If I'm the Chosen One, we in a lotta trouble..."), and think they beat you to it.
  25. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Why are they (kitschily) parodying old-movie iconic 50's potboilers about Mildred-Pierce/Mama Rose moms and Bad-Seed kids? Keep in mind it's an off-Broadway musical...'Nuff said. Just hint that they might be spoofing You-Know-Who Dearest, and watch the Lorna Hanson Forbeses come running. 😓 (And if it's showing on BroadwayTV, and never got a movie, it's probably an obscure one that only had a few weeks. I've never heard of the Harry-Potter-spoof OBM "Puffers: the Musical" either.) On the subject of obscure musicals on streaming (and Amazon and/or double-paywalls at that), I remember seeing my first NYC Broadway musical as a kid in the early mid-70's, and for some reason, wanted to see Stephen Schwartz's The Magic Show, even though Doug Henning had already left the production by that point. Was meh-okay--in addition to being the show that put me off of 60's/70's hippie Stephen Schwartz musicals--so I don't know whether I quite have the courage to watch an ancient Showtime concert production that Amazon Prime recently dug up from late-70's cable pre-history. Just making the point that the musicals that never got to movies are usually the ones still floating around on cable video, unless they have corporate tie-ins like "Newsies" and "Shrek".

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