EricJ

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Everything posted by EricJ

  1. Well, now you're making me feel guilty, if I don't paste on some "Because they're low-tech Internet-illiterate dolts to still think Change.Org's fanboy site is a Real Thing, and Martin Scorsese isn't going out and starting a more influential big celebrity-activist film-preservation movement himself??" (I mean, yes, Barbara Streisand never got on the "Warner, release Zack Snyder's uncut Justice League!" bandwagon, but you'd think she'd at least have heard of the site by reputation...Celebrities may or may not be "stupid" for liking Filmstruck in their small amount of spare time, but CHANGE-FREAKIN'-DOT-ORG??????????? You would literally have more luck with one Twitter post.) Gee, sometimes these discussions can really put posters in a corner... 😯 ...Oh. Okay--THAT'S how you're supposed to do it. Whew. Stupidity temporarily averted. And while the press will focus on "They're taking away my one source of movies!!" ( 😓) if Marty, or Peter Bogdanovich, or John Landis, or Leonard Maltin, or somebody in the preservation community can get on this, they can hopefully spin the Larger Abstract Issue off of the selfish-grownup "Don't take away my Friday-night thing!", and back onto the larger unspoken corporate issue underneath that's subconsciously triggered so much of the public hysteria in the first place: Why Vintage Movies Are Vanishing Off of the Rest of Streaming, and if so, Where Are They Playing? Which is just in time to start taking on the new '18-'19 reality that Digital DRM has now been given up for dead and "replaced" by Streaming's popularity, and how much of a movie-free rival that's now going to be to Physical Media's recovery--DRM was originally going to be the "Disk-crusher", but Streaming is seen as "the new TV", and TV-broadcast movies and Blu/DVD always got along together very well. We just have to redefine the basic issues out of the ashes.
  2. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    The Swarm (1978): I confess I actually go pretty easy on Irwin Allen--The idea of hating disaster movies is still rooted in our cultural DNA from our early 80's, and the group-think that "There, 'Airplane' made them all go away, so now we don't have to talk about them anymore!", that makes me want to look up the great big-studio 70's epics out of forbidden curiosity. My parents never wanted to see "Earthquake" or "Towering Inferno", and we weren't that interested in them as kids either, so a whole decade of 70's cinema passed me by, only for me to savor as a home-theater adult. I've looked up most of the Airports and the Charlton Hestons on video, but had never gotten around to Irwin's Folly until the online disk community started going crazy last month for the Blu-disk restoration on Warner Archive's site. (Just watch the social-media blog and Twitter accounts go NUTS for pop-nostalgia every time Warner Archive resurrects Looker or Supergirl, or Shout Factory resurrects Return of the Living Dead on Blu--That's what kept physical disk alive all these years. ) So, with no more Instant Archive to rent it from, figured I'd lucked out when Amazon Prime's seemingly random bin got the title for streaming without notice, fanfare, or official box-art--That's the kind of title that disappears off of Prime just as suddenly, also, ahem, without notice. I'd seen the movie giggled over since the Golden Turkey 70's, thought it was just a lot of mass zeitgeist-giggling from the era, and settled in for my usual righteous defense of culturally-persecuted overlooked titles, but no: Holy CRAPOLA, is this one bad, even by 70's Irwin Allen standards. I'm trying to find a name for movies like these..."Ozymandias movies"?--Nah, too pretentious: Movies where a name director/producer was riding so high off of a few past hits, he got the unlimited expense account and keys to the studio sandbox, thought anything his hand created next would break box-office records, ended up directing something that looked like it came from Mars, and went into exile. (For George Lucas, it was "Phantom Menace", for Michael Bay, it was "Transformers 5", and for Jerry Bruckheimer & Gore Verbinski, it was Pirates of the Caribbean 3 and the Lone Ranger.) It was instant obscurity for Allen after this movie, with "Beyond the Poseidon Adventure" and "When Time Ran Out" before the end, so this is the one that shut down the chemical factory. Or, in the case of South American killer-bees, blew up the nuclear plant. Like I said, I don't mind 70's disaster movies, and the cast of washed-up ex-studio stars doing TV-style work is part of the fun. But every actor in this movie reads their lines as if they're on a day-cameo, and probably thought they were: Michael Caine, as the hero, can't even work up enough enthusiasm to do a decent Michael Caine voice, Richard Chamberlain trying to do a Texas accent, I will leave you to only imagine, and Fred MacMurray at least survives a small-town romance subplot with Olivia deHaviland, since he's comfortable with a character that seems to have been written in the 50's. (On a small-town backlot set that I kept looking at thinking, "Wait, is that Mayberry??") Although his character doesn't, as he and Olivia both ultimately end up victims of a killer-bee caused train wreck that looks 110% pure Lionel. 😮 ...Okay, so not everything from my generation survives nostalgia. But I stand by my claim that Towering Inferno wasn't so bad, and probably did deserve that Oscar nomination.
  3. He WANTED (and said so) TP S1 to be a "parody of Peyton Place", and small-town-secrets soap operas, long before such a thing as "Bingeable season-arcs" ever existed. Possibly "Blue Velvet"--and its kinky small-town-secrets--was his first-draft audition for the idea, but TV should be lucky that that one had Dennis Hopper and TP didn't. And it's only the core fans who try to wave "art" over the heads of the mainstream and say "Your brain is too mainstream to understand his genius!" Um, how many times have I had to explain Eraserhead's "REM-state filmmaking" style, of Lynch trying to imitate the cinematic style of nighttime dreams, to other posters on the board, and then explain how he used that style for his first mainstream-studio gig in "Elephant Man"? (Seriously, the first five minutes, with the abstract shots and Anthony Hopkins at the freak show, are cribbed straight out of Eraserhead's style, not that I'm complaining. ) Lord knows I've had to explain the "Agent Cooper's midget" scene of TP S1:E3 enough times. But there's Lynch BEFORE "Wild at Heart", and there's Lynch AFTER...Although it's really TP S2 where you can first see him getting bored with himself, getting into the self-goofing jokes, and leaving the planet. From your screen name, I'll take the liberty of guessing you're one of those later-Lynch fans, who think Lynch's hearing-aid FBI chief (he shouts and gets things wrong, get it? 😓--Um, does Lynch even know what hearing aids are like today, almost thirty years later?) is one of those unique-filmmaker things, and not just something insultingly cribbed out of a 50's sitcom, because Lynch can't quite parse the human concept of "Comedy relief". When "Dune" starts looking like a work of unique, artistic, experimental early-Lynch, you know his later style is in trouble. (And does anybody else who watched the revival now keep seeing Lynch's Chief Cole whenever they see President Trump in public, and vice versa?: "What? 'Fake booze'?...No, we've got genuine Jack Daniels, the real stuff!") I'd hoped it would be something a little better than "Fire Walk With Me", where almost nobody from the first season wanted to come back--Instead of Michael Ontkean refusing to come back to the revival as Sherriff Truman, and (SPOILERING) offscreen by phone. And I remember thinking S2 would have been better if Cooper had left the town, and cases started bringing in NYC and Vegas for more complexity, while still involving the characters...But as for the Revival, would letting Agent Cooper BE Agent Cooper again have been asking too much??
  4. EricJ

    The Muppet Movies

    The ones that Disney doesn't own, which means you MIGHT have a remote chance of seeing Sony's "Muppets From Space" or "Muppets Take Manhattan". That's it. And "remote" doesn't necessarily mean Thanksgiving. You'd have a hundred better chances on streaming, where they've both joined the Columbia Orphans.
  5. Having watched Lynch's recent '15 Showtime cable "reunion" of Twin Peaks--where every episode now ends with credits playing over whatever art-alternative band Lynch just discovered, onstage at the roadhouse--I'm convinced that Lynch had some actual artistic vision back when he was "filming dreams" for Eraserhead, Elephant Man, Dune and the first Twin Peaks S1...But that he crawled into a desert roadhouse beer bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon sometime around "Blue Velvet", and hasn't crawled back out since. (I could take everything else about Twin Peaks '15, but wasting half the series on "wacky" scenes of an amnesiac Kyle MacLachlan stumbling around repeating everyone else's dialogue like Edward Scissorhands, is a tragic waste of national TV treasure that goes far beyond any of the crimes Twin Peaks S2 ever committed. And those were many.) I think he just wanted to make a movie about Shallow Swinging Wayward 60's Youth, and we just thought the movie was about a murder mystery...Ie., the character doesn't really care, so why should we? Brian dePalma took the 60's element out when he made Blow-Out, and the thriller was much tighter.
  6. While we don't excuse BoaN, we DO excuse Song of the South, because sometimes we look closer and discover most of our knee-jerk outrage turned out to be WRONG. And that if we make permanent decisions for film posterity based on that, erm...we regret it later. My choice for the title, for ex., is Gone With the Wind: Do I get on my righteous PC-avenger dudgeon and hate this movie for Hattie McDaniel, or for Butterfly McQueen, or for "Implied apologias of social intolerance and the shame of our early country"? No--I hate it because Scarlett is a danged spoiled brat, and can someone explain what exactly is the story's freakin' POINT of spending four hours with her?? 😝
  7. Well, they had to pick Stepmom, which seems to have replaced The Big Chill as THE iconic 90's-00's "Bouncing around the kitchen karaoke'ing Motown into big wooden spoons" scene, that became such a staple of chick-flick for the next decade or two. And that one didn't have as many dance moves.
  8. EricJ

    The Forgotten "Road" Film

    There's one episode of "The Monkees" where the characters have to make their way past a couple of guards--Two of our heroes dash up to them: "Oh, hi--Say, have you seen 'Road to Morocco', with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby?" "No." "Good: 'Pattycake, pattycake, baker's man...'"
  9. EricJ

    Andy Hardy and the Holiday season(s) ?

    Since Black Friday wasn't really "invented" (no, why am I using quotes?--It was artificially invented) until 1983, I remember "White Friday", the day when it was official for TV stations to start showing Christmas movies. WPIX-11 would always show the Laurel & Hardy "March of the Wooden Soldiers", some would show 34th St. or Bishop's Wife, and at least three local stations would start a month's worth of It's a Wonderful Life. The reason was, everyone was home that day, kicking back, taking it easy, and recovering from Thanksgiving leftovers, and no football games were played, so it was necessary to start using that commercial time for airing Toys R Us ads. (sniffle! 😥 ) Especially for UHF stations that didn't have football teams to air, but had plenty of Christmas movies in their station package. And Thanksgiving night, of course, needed a three to four-hour family movie, to pre-program ahead of time, so that non-essential station employees could have the night off. Some people consider it tradition for Sound of Music, E.T. or Home Alone, but I consider it heresy to watch Willy Wonka or Chitty/Bang any other day of the year.
  10. Okay, they got Nicholas Brothers from "Stormy Weather"-- But no "Moses Supposes". No "Born to Hand-Jive". No King & I. No Blues Brothers: "Small Town Girl"--Ann Miller, yes, but no hopping Bobby Van. And the only Eleanor Powell/Broadway Melody we get is the Fred Astaire one?...Oo-la-la, nononono!
  11. EricJ

    Andy Hardy and the Holiday season(s) ?

    Well, Scrooge was an atheist. (No, really, Dickens says straight out that he went back to church for the first time in decades after his conversion, after he discovered that most of London wasn't "Fools that go about with 'Merry Christmas' on their lips", and who treated the holiday as "An excuse for buying things of which one has no need"--And who should thus be the butt of self-amused jokes about being boiled in plum pudding, who should just let him leave the holiday alone, then, rather than knock on his door like Mormons and barge into his private office asking for contributions for lazy homeless people that his taxes support..."An expression that warned humanity to 'keep its distance!'") Although clearly a Type 2 "Childhood-abuse victim" athie, from what we learn about his dad, and definitely some big ol' Type 1 after he lost his sister. As for Andy Hardy Christmas scenes, none spring to mind...Of course, I haven't watched the series except for the public-domain-revival "Love Laughs at AH" either. And that's considering that even "Meet Me in St. Louis" gets pegged as a "Christmas movie" despite only having one non-plot-essential Christmas scene in it.
  12. ...And other grownups who don't really use the Internet all that much to know better. (But then, if they did, would they have become Filmstruck junkies, either?)
  13. Inter-library loan has pretty much taken the place of the old 00's disk-by-mail Netflix: You might not get your disk overnight, but at least they've got it, and you can click a rental from your keyboard. (Just this evening, I'd finally gotten around to ILL'ing a copy of "Gunga Din" that our local didn't have--Looked up, and the regional system not only had the movie on disk, they also had it available on TCM 4-disk collections of War Movies and Cary Grant, in case I wanted to check out a whole set of movies with my one rental...So, I can get my movie, or I can get my movie and "Arsenic & Old Lace" for free, or I can get my movie and "Dawn Patrol" for free.) And yes, like Hulu, Criterion is the only symbolic reason for being curious about Kanopy...Because they're Criterion, obviously. At least FilmStruck still had the benefit of the old Warner Archive classics.
  14. Now, I know everyone always complains when I say "(snicker!) Kanopy?? Isn't that just the same cheap public-domain indie movies that Amazon got roped into showing, except that they fooled Criterion into thinking they were a big thing too, and got a big care-package of Criterion Channel--Just like Hulu did in the early days when they couldn't afford anything but public-domain either?" But this is what I'm saying--LISTEN to what you're saying, people: You're AT the LIBRARY...Telling us what movies you can get FREE with your CARD...And how wonderful it is that they gave us a new service to provide cheap public domain and obscure Criterion ones at home on streaming. ...What glaringly obvious element are we overlooking, here? And why are we, good people of 2018, just not seeing it? (No, really: I know I sound smug every time I brag about how our college town got on the big charity push to rescue the dear old closing downtown disk-rental shop by donating all the disks to the public library, and now we have a library's third-floor DVD section that's the size of a small downtown disk rental...But is everyone else's public library just not as good? Am I the sole, sheltered lucky one?)
  15. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    That's the one I always bragged about seeing with our old college-town all-night festival audience (every President's February, there'd be a sleep-in all-night sci-fi festival, and things would get a bit punchy by 2am): 70's Andromeda Strain-era Crichton sounded good, until we got half an hour of medical footage, followed by an hour of Grandpa Goldberg, Drooling Serial Killer...And then, boy, was it Terminal. Every time the scene faded out, we'd cheer "Yayy!", and then "Aww!" when the next scene came on. At one point the heroine went out on the balcony, and we shouted, "Jump, jump! Save yourself!" (There's a great Forbidden Planet story too, but I'll save that for the appropriate screening.)
  16. No, I was metaphorically saying that for a studio to sell its audience an Nth-dip DVD or Fathom-screening of Grease, Princess Bride or Labyrinth that they already can recite by heart is not selling them "Old movies". Nor is it "Watching old movies", if those are the only ones an audience knows. Do try to keep up. Yes, it IS a poor characterization: I was saying that the "Spoiled elite" were those who did know where to find the movies on Criterion or Warner Archive if they needed them--While the majority of FilmStruck fans were thumbing their spurned nose to the now almost movie-free Netflix they once trusted, and making a great show of mass lifestyle-embracing the channel that was TEACHING THEM about GREAT MOVIES, so there! And that once that intellectual umbilical cord was cut....it's the end of the world!!!! 😱 Because, like the silver-plattered Netflix fans they once were, If It's Not On Streaming, It's Not on TV. ...Me, I know another "Silver platter" you can get your classic movies served to you on.
  17. Now, this is what I've been saying since the beginning, folks: THEY'RE NOT ****IN' "DISAPPEARING"!! They're still on disk, they're just not in your immediate in-reach remote-click environment of streaming! Or, like the days when nobody watched old movies on local TV stations at 2am, is that the same thing? You spent the last year literally singing the praises of a service that served them to you on a silver platter, and now you've got to go out to the garden and start picking those fresh titles yourselves--Sort of like the difference between people who know how to cook and go to farmers' markets, and people who praise Blue Apron boxes on their doorstep. What we should be mad about is that it's not "to save a few bucks", it's so that Warner can rebrand itself to sell "What the public wants", which is that they don't--meaning, they believe we "don't"--want to bother with any but a handful of easily marketable and overexposed "classic" titles we know already, and don't want to be curious to explore the inner reaches of the Warner Archive. Who wants Rebel Without a Cause, when you can sell one more copy of Wizard of Oz? What FilmStruck brought us was what local stations brought us forty or fifty years ago: Pot luck, and the curiosity to try a classic, or even a non-classic, that happened to be in reach, and discover something new. If movies have one enemy (and let's not just limit it to Warner, even though, in all areas, they're just about as close to THE enemy as you can get), it's studios who see old movies as an "obstacle" to what corporate identity they can create, anoint two or three dummy-overexposed token pop-icons as "Here's our vintage classics!", and the insecurity that they'd rather tread the safe waters of selling us a title we know by heart than spend a lot of charity money on hoping to sell us a title we don't. And no one ever learned anything from a book they'd read already. Hey, no fair! I already did the Fahrenheit/Truffaut metaphor two years ago (although also in reference to Warner trying to wipe physical disk sales off the market as well as broadcast movies, and replacing them with more "collectors editions" of Dark Knight and A Christmas Story)--Can I sue? 😡
  18. EricJ

    The Forgotten "Road" Film

    (stock clip from The African Queen) Crosby: "The African Queen! Humphrey Bogart?" Hope: "Boy, is he lost!" Crosby: "Hey! Hey, Bogie!" Hope: "That was just a mirage!" Crosby: "Oh yeah? What about this? (picks up) Humphrey Bogart's Academy Award!" Hope: "An Oscar? Gimme that, you've already GOT one!"
  19. EricJ

    The Forgotten "Road" Film

    I thought Road to Hong Kong--the illegitimate 1962 British Joan Collins "revival" picture--was the "lost" Road picture?
  20. Or Ray Harryhausen. But those have mostly ended up with whatever of Columbia's films (Last Action Hero, Gattaca, Oliver, And Now For Something Completely Different) have fallen in with MGM's Orphans--And even then, they may show "Seventh Voyage of Sinbad", but not Golden Voyage or Eye of the Tiger.
  21. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    And, of course, went on to be the most beloved Friday-night staple of every 10-yo. for two seasons in '74-'75--Also available on DVD series-boxset: https://www.amazon.com/Kolchak-Night-Stalker-Universal-Studios/dp/B00UGQC9BQ/ (The DVD seems to be OOP, but it's streaming on Amazon VOD, and surfaces on Netflix/Hulu frequently.)
  22. They USED to, back in the pre-Netflix history ('08-'09), when Amazon and Hulu heard there'd be a market for these-here new "Digital movies" thing, but didn't know where folks would watch them--So they all tried to make desktop/smartphone browser-streaming sites, but Columbia reserved all their own material to create the studio-exclusive Crackle. ...(sigh) Yes. THAT Crackle. 😓 (Which was actually pretty good back in the early days when it was still just a slow, struggling Columbia Instant Archive site, with I Dream of Jeannie and Fantasy Island reruns, the 60's Stooges/Curly Joe features, Stripes/Ghostbusters, and of course, The Last Dragon. Until they decided to court the gamer/stoner demographic, and filled their listings with "Heavy Metal 2000", "Joe Dirt 2", and "Puff Puff Pass", and then pasted on cutesy "hip" movie listings and irritating "What's new this week" hosts.)
  23. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    If she's just started watching "Cheers", I guess that can excuse my child-of-the-80's reaction at "...NEVER HEARD of Tom Selleck or Steve Guttenberg?? 😱 " Selleck, of course, was the real Magnum, P.I., not that shoddy pretender now airing on network nostalgia reboots--And while Steve Guttenberg's career has since fallen a bit from his high of "Cocoon", I'm hoping the "Heard of him yesterday" came from either the original Short Circuit or Police Academy, both "orphans" now airing on the Usual Streaming Suspects (including Vudu Free Movies On Us). Seriously, don't judge the first Police Academy by the crimes of its offspring, the 1984 original is one of the great screwball comedies of the decade, and yes, Guttenberg is hilarious in it. I still have no idea of it, apart from the usual excuse for 50's-60's sitcom characters to get together for no other reason, or from Chico & Harpo's version: (Watch Margaret Dumont's reaction to Harpo, forever destroying the myth that Margaret "didn't get the jokes"...) I gather it's something like a combination of four-hand Hearts and Liar's Dice, only with more wild suits, more competitive, and score-bidding options? I remember when they used to have tip columns in newspapers, next to the comic strips, asking "How should you play this hand?"
  24. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    I'd watched part of My Amityville Horror (2012), the documentary about grown-up son Danny Lutz--one of the real-life sons who doesn't seem to be in the film--who still stubbornly claims the events were "real" and traumatized him into dysfunctionality for life, even though it's been pretty well and thoroughly busted by now, and from the results we see, it was a pretty messed-up family to begin with. The dramatic subplot in the '79 movie has Brolin struggling to adjust to being a new stepfather to someone else's kids, and we're not supposed to know whether it's dysfunctional-family pressure, or sinister forces making him act irrationally, but in hindsight, we have the feeling the book and movie gave us the tip of the iceberg for just how messed-up. The other events in the movie seem like what was accused in the book of being just standard paranormal incidents embellished for tabloid value, but when we get the plot point about Brolin unable to find the money for his son's wedding caterer--sinister forces must have hidden it!!--it suddenly becomes very hard to take seriously at face value without psychoanalyzing for deeper motives behind writing the book. I'm not fond of "The Graduate", either, but Catch-22 was the movie that officially put me off late-60's Mike Nichols satire for good--The late-60's/early-70's counterculture was just starting to discover Angry Satire, and while Robert Altman could turn it into a "M*A*S*H", Nichols in most of his "rebellious" 60's dramedies was just too counter-cultural to be subtle. (And yes, even the Mad Magazine satire had Donald Sutherland and Elliot Gould showing up at the end saying "We did the crazy-war bit first!") I can take Vietnam-era war satire, but when we see hospital nurses discussing recipes between themselves while treating a burn patient, you realize that this stuff must have been bold and hilarious back when the Smothers Brothers were being kicked off the TV networks.
  25. EricJ

    I Just Watched...

    Not even Amarcord, considered his most accessible, where all the circus-y over-the-top Fellinics can be excused away as the character's sentimental boyhood-memory spin? (And which Woody Allen also ripped off, as "Radio Days".) Again, Ginger & Fred is a little closer to the TV Hell idea of bizarre pop-culture Italian entertainment-industry, and probably makes a better transitional bridge between the two movies. I'm not a Fellini fan (even he admitted he was as much of a pervert as old-school Italians can get ), but it's not hard to understand his style and licks after one or two.

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