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Guilty Pleasures


bansi4

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I believe we once had a topic about guilty pleasures and it was surprising the schlock that we enjoy to watch once in a while.

A couple of mine are "Cobra Woman" with Maria Montez playing twin sisters on an Island in the Pacific along with Jon Hall and Sabu. Also like the later version of "Little Shop of Horrors" with that vicious plant Audrey.

Whats your choices when it comes to those guilty pleasures?

 

Mongo

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I have to admit a weakness for apocalyptic turkeys from the seventies such as "Damnation Alley" (1977) and "The Swarm" (1978). For some reason, these totally cheesy movies depicting the end of civilization as we know it mesmerize me as well as appall and amuse me!

 

"Damnation Alley", about the aftermath of a nuclear war, stars those great thespians Jan-Michael Vincent, George Peppard (Hollywood's favorite sneering, nasty guy who should have called it a day after the excellent "The Blue Max"), and--Good Lord--Dominique Sanda, the European demi-goddess from De Sica's "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" & Visconti's "The Conformist"--boy, did she need a new American agent. Oh, and Jackie Earle Haley, the weasely kid from "The Bad News Bears" is along for the ride too. Did I mention the giant cockroaches? Well, let's just say that the meek don't do too well when it comes to inheriting the earth.

 

"The Swarm" has Michael Caine and Henry Fonda in Texas trying to tame/control/destroy killer bees from South America---someone actually calls them illegal aliens at one point and, oh, yeah, there's a painfully embarrasing subplot with Fred MacMurray & Ben Johnson courting Olivia de Haviland--thank goodness the bees put a stop to that skein of the story with a well-timed miniature train wreck. At one point, Michael Caine is pushing Henry Fonda along in a wheelchair, and I swear he cracks up on camera at the squeakiness of the chair's wheels, while ad libbing, in his Cockney accent, "Oy, we must oil that, mustn't we, Professor?" I think Fonda is suppressing a giggle here too. Naturally, this epic is brought to us by Irwin Allen.

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Due to my strange sense of humor, I especially enjoy laughing at Robot Monster and Tim Burton's Mars Attacks.

 

I also liked Francis Coppola's Cotton Club and One From the Heart a great deal - both heavily panned by critics and ignored by the general public.

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I've mentioned these guilty pleasures elsewhere but I'll do it again. A perfect wintry weekend is watching a marathon of dinosaur movies, especially, "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth," "One Million BC", and a real, sexy goody, "Creatures the World Forgot"--which shows beautiful boys and girls in very little back in those good old days of dinosaurs. Another great wintry weekend fave is to watch a marathon Universal classic monster fest: starting with both versions of "Dracula," (1931), including the "Spanish Dracula," and work on down through the terrific Mummy movies. One more weekend fave idea: Deanna Durbin in "His Butler's Sister" and "Nice Girl?" Beautifully filmed, performed and knockout musical numbers from the enchanting, dynamic Deanna!

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Brad, I almost mentioned "Cherry 2000", as well as a couple of the other '70s beauties you mentioned. "The Road Warrior" is actually too good to be a guilty pleasure, don't you think? Here's a couple of others:

 

"Logan's Run" (1976)--in which we see the future, and it consists of bland, blondish people living in a mall. Thank goodness for Peter Ustinov.

 

"Panic in Year Zero!" (1962)--Not from the '70s, but another Armeggedon vision that cost about $25.17 to create was created from scratch, so to speak, by Ray Milland. Milland, who directed and starred in this AIP feature, hides out from other people with his family in a camper outside LA after a nuclear incident. What special effects there are in this movie are laughable inserts of stock footage. Yet this one is actually strangely haunting, as Milland descends into a primeval state--never even asking if his family wants to survive--just assuming that they must do as he says...all the while listening to the conalrad signal from Civil Defense on the bakelite radio. What a strange turn this actor's career took from the '60s on...guess Ray had bills to pay, just like the rest of us.

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Yep, poor Ray. I think Joan Crawford might have been his female counterpart when it came to unfortunate late career movie roles.

 

LOGAN'S RUN has it's charms, especially that scene with the meat packer robot.

 

Just in case a programmer from TCM is reading this, I don't watch any movies made after 1964 and if I do I feel guilty.

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Regarding "The Thing With Two Heads", I can assure you I experienced plenty of guilt watching it (due to the fact that I wasted 2 hours of my life that I will never get back!)and very little pleasure, but I did enjoy "Waterworld", "Sid and Nancy", "Grease", "Little Shop of Horrors" (Feed me, Seymour!)!

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Hey, I enjoyed "Mars Attacks!" so much, I went and bought it, and originally paid to see it in the theater. I knew if Tim Burton had anything to do with it, with his track record, that at the least it would be a goood show, and I was not disappointed. And the guilty pleasure of seeing Michael J. Fox vaporized made it more than worth the price!

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On a completely different, page of guilty pleasures--perhaps entitled "odd feminine diversions", I should 'fess up to being a sap for a big ole turkey called "Marjorie Morningstar"(1958). This flick has Natalie Wood, (she looks about 15 when she made this), as a spoiled Hunter College graduate who falls for show biz nogoodnik Noel Airman (aka Gene Kelly who hardly dances a step). She meets Kelly in the Catskills and moons after him for about 2 hours, idling away the time with other suitors named Martin--Martin Balsam and Martin Milner, both of whom are moths to little Natasha's flame.

 

Believe it or not, reliable performers like Kelly, Claire Trevor, George Tobias and Everett Sloane slog through this compelling Herman Wouk story and about once a decade, I like to watch this bomb, hoping that darling Natalie snaps out of her funk and fools around with Noel without wanting to marry the loser. I also just like to hear the theme song, (remember when movies all had theme songs!!??)..."a very special love, is what you are to me..."--oh, brother! Whew, I feel better now.

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I'm a huge fan of bad film. Some of mine:

 

"Manos: The Hands of Fate", made by Harold P. Warren, a fertilizer salesman, and one of many films which were featured on "Mystery Science Theater 3000." The film is an absolute riot, even if you don't have anyone making fun of it for you.

 

"Plan 9 From Outer Space," of course, which never got a run on MST3K because the film is hilarious in its own right.

 

*"Eegah," another MST3K favorite which again is hysterical without the heckling. Arch Hall, Jr. was one of the most unappealing teen stars ever to step in front of a camera.

 

"Glen or Glenda," Ed Wood's treatise on transvestism, made ridiculous by insipid dialogue, unbelievably bad acting and a pathetic attempt at surrealism.

 

"Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!," which is, in my opinion, Russ Meyer's best film - it should have earned tough Tura Satana an Oscar nomination in what was a horrid year for actresses (whatever you think of the script, she nails this character).

 

"Maniac", an exploitation film from 1934 directed by Dwain Esper, featuring some of the most ludicrous acting ever filmed, interspersed with text about various mental illnesses to give it an air of scholarship. Absolutely unbelievable.

 

Finally, Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins and Sharon Tate give hilarious performances in "Valley of the Dolls"; Duke is over the top in every aspect and Parkins and Tate act like they were given large doses of Sominex before every scene (neither could be more apathetic).

 

 

 

 

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Tura Santana in "Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" is fabulous. She now works as a dental assistant in L.A. and from the latest pic I saw of her a few years ago, she still looks incredible. Long, jet black hair, those great looking features and that figure! Also, "Maniac" is adorable--especially the scene of those two bimbos wrestling and screeching in the basement. And the performance of all should have been awarded the Greatest Ham Performances of l932! "The Sadist" is really a forgotten gem, starring our fave, Arch Hall, who does a great job. I like watching "Bride of the Monster" with Bela Lugosi fighting a rubber octupus and Tor Johnson doing his "creeping zombie" bit. "Hands of Manos" makes me think of a Wal-Mart movie: it has no color, no talent, but it does have that crazy guy stumbling around in boots he filled with beer cans (he was interviewed on, fittingly, Mystery Science Fiction Theater). I love the scene in "Vally of the Doll" where Patty Duke has her big breakdown scene in the alleyway where she screeches "Ah'm Neeeeeeeeeely O'Haraaaaaaaaaaa!" Whatta a talent.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey, I saw both WATERWORLD and MARS ATTACKS! on the big screen and was entertained. They don't all have to be brilliant to be enjoyable.

 

And, Moira, I actually bought a dvd of MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR for $9.99! I love Natalie Wood in just about anything. How's this for a guilty pleasure--the weird and cheesy INSIDE DAISY CLOVER. Yep, I've watched it on tv 3 times or so.

 

Sandy K

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Thanks SandyKPax--

I feel a little less weird just knowing that someone else gets the strange appeal of "Marjorie Morningstar"! Please tell me: does the dvd include anything interesting like interviews with the supporting players who are still with us, like Martin Milner?

 

I like Natalie and "Inside Daisy Clover" too--especially for the surreal 'recreation' of studio era moviemaking...A very young Redford was pretty good too. Say, doesn't it seem as though Christopher Plummer deliberately found bad movies to appear in during the last few decades?? Good stuff aside like "The Man Who Would Be King", ole Chris has oiled his way through alot turkeys, ("Dreamscape", "The Boss's Wife", "Dragnet", to name a few). Funny thing, I saw him in a one man show as John Barrymore here in Boston a while back. Then, I realized the guy's probably one of the best stage actors I've ever seen. I think he's started to appear in better stuff since then, however.

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I will stop to watch "The Trouble with Angels", "Where Angels Go - Trouble Follows" and "The World of Henry Orient" - despite countless prior viewings. Perhaps because I secretly wanted to be a mischief maker as a child.

 

As to Christopher Plummer, Moira - I agree with the stage presence and the seemingly odd choice of good film roles. Did you see "Dolores Claiborne"? He was very good there.

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Well, if I had a fatted calf in the freezer, I'd start thawing it now to roast in honor of prodigal Jeanne's return! Welcome!

 

Jeanne, I agree about "Delores Claiborne" as qualifying as an excellent movie--I thought that all the actors--Bates, Strathairn, and Leigh were good, but especially Plummer & Judy Parfitt. That film uses flashbacks very effectively too. I'm looking forward to seeing Christopher Plummer in the new "Nicholas Nickleby" on video when it's released, too. It sounds like an imaginative adaptation.

 

"The Trouble with Angels" & "Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows" always seemed a bit demented to me since the nuns all seem to wear false eyelashes...but, "The World of Henry Orient" isn't something to feel guilty for enjoying--it captures that funny, warped, dramatic worldview of thirteen year old girls beautifully. Besides, Angela Lansbury's great as an evil Mom!

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I think that Christopher Plummer is a fantastic actor. I saw NICHOLAS NICKLEBY and he was one of the best things about the film. His performance as Mike Wallace in THE INSIDER is brilliant-anyone else see that one?

 

Moira, the MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR dvd doesn't have any special extras. The picture quality is good, though--much better than the old vhs copy that I had taped off of AMC years ago!

 

JEANE! Welcome back! Good to hear from you again.

 

Sandy K

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Hi There:

 

I am surprised that no one has mentioned "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes." (ha) If I remember correctly, George Clooney actually played in that one. However, I do think if the movie had of been called "Attack of the Killer Toilets," it would have given the writers and producers a lot more to work with. I believe there was a movie a long while back about horrid little creatures that would come up out of the toilet.

 

Seriously, I am one who does like the older movies (funny or whatever). I like anything with Claudet Colbert in it. Though I think there are plenty of fine actors and actresses out there today, my opinion is that there were more truly talented actors and actresses employed in film making prior to the 1960's. Movie content generally contained a lot less gore, more lore, and a lot less negative graphic emphasis (though not sparing entirely), with more emphasis on simple pleasures, love, and the pleasant things in life, all stirring the imagination, and adding to the beauty of films.

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