Greatest Years in Cinema Project. This one form 1999. The first time I saw this movie, before my junior year of high school, was at the drive-in. I was at the concession though and missed the first few minutes. I missed the bit about Rustin Parr, the hermit who kidnapped and murdered a bunch of kids in the 1940s on the orders of the witch, stealing two at a time and making one stand facing the corner while he killed the other one. Sooooo, at the end when Mike is in the corner it didn't carry the impact intended as I thought he was taking a piss or something. I thought the movie was fucking dumb as shit because of this. When it came out on video I rewatched, forgetting all about that, just remembering I hated it and it was stupid. Oh, I thought, that shit is scary AF, actually. Greatest found footage movie of all time.
Rotten Tomato Consensus: Full of creepy campfire scares, mock-doc The Blair Witch Project keeps audiences in the dark about its titular villain -- thus proving that imagination can be as scary as anything onscreen.
Gist is that three film student who disappeared after filming a documentary in the woods of Maryland about the Blair Witch legend have their footage show up and shows a bunch of creepy shit. This is that footage.
More or less just three people in this with a few extras. The three we care about are Heather played by Heather Donahue, Josh played by Joshua Leonard, and Mike played by Michael C. Williams. Josh pops up every once in a while but Heather and Mike not so much, which is unfortunate since they were pretty solid, in my opinion, and since they didn't make shit and couldn't really capitalize on the success of the movie. A lot of why they could was because of the viral marketing campaign that said these were real kids that died. People ate that shit up, this was the early days of the internet and people believed everything. They still do I guess. Bursting that bubble though was when Donahue showed up in the Steak 'n Shake commercials. But some people still believed. Probably Trump supporters now. Donahue was also in maybe the worst movie I've ever seen, Boys and Girls. My girlfriend at the time made me go see this piece of trash. When middle school girls were walking out of it and shit, I thought about breaking up with her for making me stay. I never forgave her for this experience.
I remember there was this "documentary" that came out the summer of 1999 that aired on the SciFi Channel in 1999 called Curse of the Blair Witch that detailed the legend and was maybe as cool as the movie. In it we learn that the witch, one Elly Kedward, was this woman blamed for these child disappearances in the late 1700s. The towns folk ultimately sentenced her to death by exposure and banished her to the woods. Her body was never found. Then we get the guy from the 1940s, Rustin Parr. That shit was hot. Honestly, that whole legend shit and the marketing around it was the best part about it. I mean, total bullshit but cool. That is the MVP of the movie for me.
20 years later for my third viewing, shit holds up. Lot better than that Blair Witch trash from a few years back. Real disappointed by that turd. Loved two of the director's, one Adam Wingard, other movies. You're Next and The Guest but have pretty much hated everything since that. You're Next though is one of my favorite horror movies of the last decade. Up there with Get Out and shit. Then there was the sequel to BWP called Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 which I like a lot but was extremely poorly received. It stared Jeffrey Donovan from Burn Notice and Shut Eye both shows I was somewhat into and Kim Director whom I found extremely attractive. Will have to rewatch that one as well to see if it holds up. Will get back to you on if it does.
Saturday, October 26, 2019
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Greatest Year in Hollywood Project. This being one of two from 1976--the first was Carrie. Basic gist of this is that 13 is too young to take care of yourself... and probably to fuck. Weird shit. Did not like. Was too uncomfortable in too many ways. Seeing an old dude trying to sexually molest a child who maybe lives alone, torture killing her pet in front of her, strong arming her child boyfriend. All of that was not easy to set through. Then there was sex scene that nearly made me throw up. Never really prepared for that. But then that child whom I just suddenly watch go to the bone zone killing some pretty awful people... That I was for the most part okay with.
Okay. Gist of this movie is that Jodie Foster is the child of a professor or something. She claims he is around but he is most obviously to everyone not. She mostly tries to keep to herself but I think the school superintendent, played by Alexis Smith who was quite the looker and B-List starlet (she was like Ronald Reagan level famous) in the 1940s and 50s, and her rapey ass son, played by Martin Sheen, keep coming around, fucking with her shit. Being an independent tween or whatever of the world, can't have people come to her house and make her do shit. So she starts killing folks. Oh, and she gets a boyfriend which is dumb and filler mostly. You've never seen him or anyone else in the movie. It was also directed by a guy you've never heard of, one Nicolas Gessner, who did a handful of low-budgets and made-for-TVs before and after this and is still alive but hasn't had anything else to his credits since 1997.
So the movie opens on Halloween with Sheen's character showing up at Foster's house a few minutes before his kids come ringing the doorbell for candy. That is not how this works, man. And is obviously is putting it out there that he is DTF. Foster isn't having any of this shit. She is stern in a way that suggests old dudes are always pulling this shit. Days later, his mom starts snooping around, basically playing a truancy officer or something. She dies at the house from being an idiot, more or less, and Foster hides as much evidence as possible, but really isn't hiding shit. After a few days, Sheen comes back over while Foster is entertaining this magician boyfriend kid she met that day, don't ask, and gets all passive aggressive about his mom. He and Foster fucking know but they play the game until Sheen has had enough and tortures her hamster to death with a cigarette. Okay, movie, you fucking lost me. That was it. But I watched on, like an idiot.
Foster wins the movie, but at what cost? I mean she is indeed a kid that is going places. This is around the same time as Taxi Driver, also a 1976 watch, but more fucked up. You've been warned. The shit that I couldn't deal with in addition to the hamster torture had to do with her sex scene. I mean, is it too much to ask not to have animal deaths or fucked up kid shit in a movie? Those are my two things. I pretty much dig everything else. But this movie has both. Too much. So the shit I am talking about comes near the end when Foster's BF stays over. It is not super obvious they are going to fuck but then you realize that is where they are going. By the time you realize this, unable to completely mentally prepare that this is about to happen with a very young child actress, she is suddenly naked. Fuck, man, I didn't want to see that shit. I seriously almost spilled the groceries... But then I read in the trivia section on IMDB that it wasn't Jodie Foster that we saw nude but her at least of legal aged sister. Apparently, the producers of the film adamantly wanted this nude scene for god only knows what reason, and Foster refused and walked off set. Now, she doesn't talk a lot of shit about the movies she likes or dislikes that she was a part of, but she has hinted, somewhere but I don't know where, that this is a movie she is not extremely fond of, I think for obvious child labor/nudity reason.
In any case, yeah, never watching that shit again. Do not recommend. The end is pretty satisfying though. But I won't give that shit away.
Monday, October 21, 2019
Carrie. These are godless times. Indeed. Finally getting back to one of my Greatest Years in Cinema flicks. First film from 1976. Skipping ahead to the horror movies since it's close to Halloween and all. Watch a shit ton of horror this month, obviously. It's been well over 20 years since I've seen this particular flick. Talking junior high days. This is what I thought high school would be like. Girls having their first periods. Not knowing what it was. Getting ridiculed mercilessly. Going to prom. Winning prom queen. Having pig blood dumped on them. Raging out and killing everyone with your telekinetic powers. You know, normal stuff. On rewatch, holy shit-balls, this was a great movie.
Rotten Tomato Consensus: Carrie is a horrifying look at supernatural powers, high school cruelty, and teen angst -- and it brings us one of the most memorable and disturbing prom scenes in history.
A whole bunch of other pretty ladies in this flick as well. Not only do you have Nancy Allen from other De Palma movies Blow Out and Dressed to Kill (my second/sometimes favorite of his)--who is just really something, though she doesn't really do it for me in this, probably because she is such a bitch--and P.J. Soles (the ditsy blonde from the original Halloween), you also have all these randoms in the standard De Palma gratuitous shower scene. Noice.Unfortunately that leads to all the shit that goes down as Carrie, played by the Sissy Spacek, has her first period, which she knows nothing about, and loses her goddamned mind. All the girls in her class mock the fuck out of her as she screams like she is dying. The girls get in trouble from good old gym teacher Buckley and have to miss prom, which they take out on Carrie, and meanwhile telekinetic Carrie is traumatized as shit. The teacher then sends her to the principal, this idiot, who is like, "uh, hey, Cassie... uh, Wright, would you feel more comfortable if I shook you (which is his only move when it comes to 'consoling')? Ah, uh, go home, I guess, Corrie Night... Congratulations!"
So she goes home and is like, "you should have, you know, given me a fucking heads up about this shit and whatever," except Christian like. And her fucking crazy-ass mom, played by Piper Laurie from Twin Peaks is like, "You have sinned! Eve was weak! And the Lord visited Eve with the curse, and the curse was the curse of the Christ's blood! Oh, Lord, help this sinning woman see the sin of her days and ways, show her that if she had remained sinless, this curse of the Christ's blood would never have come down on her!" So I guess old Marge here thought that her daughter could pray her period away but was also born of sin because of Eve. The point here is that sex ed has failed Carrie White she really has no fucking chance. Meanwhile Nancy Allen blows Travolta whilst saying his name at the same time which takes some talent.
|Oh my god|
Spacek would normally win the movie. She goes from naive bumpkin to out of control banshee. De Palma is solid as hell, too. But King is the hands down winner here. This is the first of his 100+ movies based on his works. That shit is insane. This has to be near the top of them as most of them are indeed trash. But still. This was his first book. The one that got him on the map. This flick being fucking great catapulted him into rock star. Finally, don't fuck with people for no reason or they will kill you with telekinesis. Remember that.
Saturday, October 19, 2019
Gist of the movie is that a camp pisses off a giant, monstrous killer who then does a shitload of killing. Some brutally with an axe. Some brutally in more creative/insane ways. More on that later. This is one of those they-tell-a-campfire-tale-that-ends-up-being-real slashers. You aren't going to recognize a single person in this except for maybe Gaylen Ross who was the female lead in Dawn of the Dead (the original) and had a minor part in Creepshow.
Lot of shit that doesn't really make any fucking sense but just roll with it. Stuff like a chick who goes out on a canoe to play a record for no reason, a strange precoital hot tub courting contra dancing, or this dude throwing a rock from the woods with noodle-armed bullshit of a hurle. I mean, they are in the woods and this dipshit couldn't have flung this thing 15 feet. But no, this breaks the window of this house that had to be miles away where they are having this fire is not in the wide shot when they show the house. But yeah, ignore that shit.
|The "hot" one|
I like how at the end, when most of the survivors (including the five kids at the camp) are in this ready to leave, they see Madman carrying someone to his trophy room. The chick is like, "someone should do something!" and the dude on the bus doesn't say shit and lets her go off to have a showdown with Marz while dude drives off to safety. What does she get for her effort? Marz bitch slaps her face off and gets thrown on a meathook. This is bullshit. She does burn his place down and stabs him from the meathook, which is impressive. I'd say that dude who drove the bus out of fucking dodge won the movie as there really was no clear winner.
Friday, October 18, 2019
Joker. I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realize, it's a fucking comedy. Pretty damn solid. Might even be transformative to the superhero genre like The Dark Knight and Heath Ledger's Joker performance was in 2008. However, don't see the flick as rewatchable as those Christopher Nolan Batman flix. I mean, you never really forget that you are watching a guy suffering from serious mental illness that society doesn't give a shit about. Not my idea of a movie I want to watch a whole lot. Like Taxi Driver, which everyone keeps comparing it to, in that way, but worse.
Rotten Tomato Consensus: Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star -- and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema.
Gist of the movie is that Arthur Fleck, a mentally disturbed aspiring comedian, basically completely loses his shit after getting pushed to his breaking point. After getting jumped for the second time in the movie, he kills some stock brokers in self defense but guns another down as he is trying to escape. From there it is all down hill as he becomes an icon for the oppressed of Gotham City.
Stars Joaquin Phoenix as Joker (aka Arthur Fleck) and has a notable appearance from Robert De Niro as late night talk show host Murray Franklin. Something cool about having De Niro in the film is that it connects all the allusions to Taxi Driver (maybe De Niro's most memorable role) that are in the film. Both take place at the same time and Joker references this by talking about the garbage strike. This isn't laid out in Taxi Driver but it was filmed during a massive garbage strike in the mid 1970s in New York City. That is the reason the city looks like such shit in Taxi Driver and Travis has his whole fixation on washing away all the trash.
Other people you are likely to recognize are Zazie Beetz (a pretty lady who was in Deadpool 2) as Joker's love interest, Frances Conroy--whom you may remember as Ruth Fisher in Six Feet Under--plays Joker's mother (Penny Fleck), and Marc Maron whom I always assume is incredibly famous but no one seems to really know when I geek out whenever he shows up in anything (he is only the star of GLOW, Maron, and the host of WTF?, sorry he isn't Ben Shapiro or Joe Rogan or whatever). Then there are several "that guy"s like Glenn Fleshler who plays this monster clown coworker of Fleck's. This guy is brutally killed in everything I have seen him in including True Detectives (he is the serial killer in the first season) and Barry (he is the leader of the Chechens). Then the little person, an actor named Leigh Gill, was in Game of Thrones and Fantastic Beasts is somewhat recognizable but I think is mostly because he was the other little person in GoT.
As far as De Niro's character goes, he is a Johnny Carson type Pushing a civilian over the edge like that is pretty fucking gross. He wasn't asking to go viral. You are sort of on board with that shit, his rage. Then he shoots the guy in the face and at least I was like, "whoa buddy." Sort of like when Mike Tyson was all "I'm the best ever; there's never been anybody as ruthless" and I was all "yeah." "My style is impetuous." Yeah! "My defense is impregnable!" Yeah!!! "I'm ferocious. I want your heart." YEAH!! "I want to eat his children." Hold the fuck up, man, I'm not signing up for all this now. Same shit. Shoot a guy in the face on TV. Talk of butchering and eating a baby. Not quite at that level. Though we'll see how this Trump thing goes. Maybe in a year I will be. Anyway. Love that they do this shit. You see this in a lot Batman comics and graphic novel, Joker going on talk shows and then murdering people, and it is portrayed really ingeniously here.
Other things that are of note is what an asshole Thomas Wayne is. Dude is a one-percenter and is finally fucking portrayed like it. Fuck him. I always thought he was secretly a prick. If I have to watch him die in the same way for the 10th time on film, it better offer something. This totally does. Another thing is this twist that happens. Totally didn't see that shit coming. I think it is obvious that there would be one but this was not one I was expecting. Enough said there.
Complaint is did it need two goddamn endings? The first one was solid. The second was complete shit. Not going to give it away in detail but this is sort of a spoiler. It is like the studio and all the rich fucks that had say were like, "I'm a little uncomfortable with this ending, we have to make sure everyone knows he is in Arkham." Horseshit.
Overall, though, the film is a really fascinating study of how when pushed to the breaking point and politicians and agents of order just keep pushing, shit will go the fuck down. I would say if you ignore the second ending, it is a call to action of sorts (or maybe more of a warning). It says that we are fucking living this shit. The film doesn't fuck around with that. This may take place in the 1970s, but this Gotham is Trump's American. Burn the mother fucker down.
Friday, September 13, 2019
Wolfcop. The fuck are you? The fuzz. Ah. A wolf... Cop. Part time wolf. Mostly shitty cop. Great alcoholic. Completely Canadian. This movie is exactly what you'd expect and then some. I mean, what other movie solves the age old question of what happens to the guy's dick when he turns into a wolf man so convincingly. That's worth a watch alone... But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Gist of the movie goes thus. Shitty cop in rural Saskatchewan, that's in Canada, who is a fucking DRUNK, gets cursed by this shapeshifting, immortal cult that prolong their lives by drinking the blood of a werewolf every 32 years. The cult's intentions are a bit hard to follow as we get this from hand written notes that the wolf cop does at the library but whatever. The group of occultists get some big town event called like the "Drink n' Shoot" or something like that canceled so they can have the woods to themselves, (again, or something) to make their sacrifice during the once every 32 year lunar eclipse, which pretty sure it doesn't work that way. But none of this really matters. What matters is that he is a wolf and a cop and he is out there fighting crime. Cleaning up the streets whilst drinking handles of whiskey and being hairy. What more do you expect? Shit was fun as fuck.
CineCoup Film Accelerator which is a pretty cool project that funds independent Canadian films. Sort of like a less bullshitty Project Greenlight with, one would hope, way fewer rapists.
Directed by one Lowell Dean, no idea, I like what I see. Makes what are totally my kind of movies, it appears. Horror. Comedy. Canadian. My shit. You might recognize a few people in the movie, I guess it's possible as there are legitimate actors in it, but unless you fucking birthed one out of your womb or something, you sure as shit don't know who the fuck Leo Fafard or Amy Matysio are.
Two things really stuck out. The first: wolf cop cock. In the first transformation scene, all of these are pretty dope, btw, dude is sort of feeling like shit. He is drinking at the bar, as he does, and excuses himself to the can. Whilst there he takes what looks like a pretty painful piss, screaming and what have you. We see pee coming out of his dick when suddenly wolf cock. It sort of comes out of the normal guy cock. It looks extremely unpleasant. You cannot unsee that shit. Nor can you unsee the wolf/human intercourse that takes place in this flick. Like Teen Wolf except way fucking graphic and way more disgusting.
Anyway, second thing: Wolfcop's drinking throughout the whole movie. As a cop, dude spent more time getting fucking sloshed at the bar than pulling people over and shit. Dude wakes up. Starts drinking. Goes to work. Breaks out the flask at the desk. Goes on his beat. Hits up Liquor Donuts and gets a gallon. Does a little bit of research or whatever then hits the bar where he gets blackout until he gets a call or whatever. Wakes up in bed with no idea how he got there. And repeat. And as he was as a cop, so he is as a wolf cop, fucking drunk. More so probably but it only enhances his powers as a wolf as he gets liquored up and rips people's faces/heads off and shit. It also makes him more or less invincible.
And speaking of drinking, for me, the concept of liquor donuts wins the goddamned movie. Where has that been at the million fucking epic Sunday brunches I've had in my life. That shit is next level. What the fuck. Someone in Toronto is even opening a music themed donut shop/bar called "Liquor Donuts" like the place we see throughout the movie. I hope they make it cause that shit is hot.
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
It Chapter Two. Just trying to add some levity to this shit. I’ll go fuck myself. Beep Beep Richie. Great flick. Really fucking loved it. Not quite an instant classic like It Chapter One but it's really fucking good. Also, not scary like the first one, though I jumped out of my seat like four times and there are moments. But super entertaining and really funny. Usually not a good sign but just roll with it and you'll have a good time. The ending, also, is just alright.
And to be fair, when I was pulling into the theater for the first one, the parking lot was more or less empty. Definitely no one walking around or anything. The way I came into the parking lot brought me up to the theater and I turned into a row of cars that faced the exit. When I did this, just sort of floating at me was a red balloon. It was fucking terrifying with no one obviously around and me going to that movie. I quickly parked, never seeing anyone around, and popped out my phone and took a picture as evidence (though by that time the balloon was sort of far away). Shit freaked me out and definitely fucked with me during the film, probably adding to my enjoyment of it.
Rotten Tomato Consensus: It: Chapter Two proves bigger doesn't always mean scarier for horror sequels, but a fine cast and faithful approach to the source material keep this follow-up afloat.
The gist most of us know. Follow up to It Chapter One from 2017. That film follows a bunch of kids (collectively known as the "Losers' Club") who in 1989 set out to a supernatural, murdering clown/demigod who feeds off the fear of children every 27 years in the town of Derry, Maine. This is the same shit, only now, in 2016, it's 27 years later and the kids are all grown up. Based on the dope ass 1986 novel by the Stephen King, this is considered one of his masterpieces.
Directed by one Andy Muschietti, who also directed Chapter One, the film stars Andy Bean who is sort of in the movie plays Stanley Uris, Jessica Chastain as Beverly, Bill Hader as Richie Tozier, James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike Hanlon (which was also the name of my first newspaper editor and most significant influence when it comes to style), James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak, and Jay Ryan whom I've never seen before in my life plays Ben Hanscom, are the adult versions of the Losers'. All of these actors (except for I'd say Chastain, McAvoy, and sort of Hader) are spitting images of their younger counterparts. All of the them are also fucking great if some of them are under-utilized (Chastain and McAvoy sort of barely feel in the movie for long stretchs, for example). Bill Skarsgård reprises his role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He's still great as well as super creepy. And all the kids also returns to play their parts.
Hard to not to note some of the solid AF Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the film. A couple, like a high profile cameo, I'll leave to the viewer. A couple others are sort of harder to notice. Like the actor Brandon Crane who played 12-year old Ben Hanscom in the 1990 version of the film showing up in a boardroom of executives Skyping the new Ben who gets a call from Mike to come back to Derry. Then there are things that I am sure if they are Easter eggs or what. Like Peter Bogdanovich playing himself directing a Denbrough movie at the beginning. (Something weird about this that has little to do with the movie is that after I watched this I went to a used book store and went to the Director Biography section and found a book by Bogdanovich, one Who the Hell's In It. It totally felt meant for me. Then I opened it up and saw that it was signed by the author which was fucking awesome.)
Winning the movie was Hader as Richie, as everyone basically agrees, but I thought a lot of that performance was lifted by Ransone as Eddie and their chemistry together. Just like Finn Wolfhard (who played young Richie) and Jack Dylan Grazer (the young Eddie) their comedic timing was impeccable and you really feel like they are homeys razzing each other. There is the stuff they say to each other. Like when Eddie is petrified with fear and Richie hypes him up by asking him who did all of these things that took extraordinary courage like taking a knife to the face, pulling that knife out, and stabbing the guy who stabbed him with it in the face. "Me," says Eddie. And "who married a woman ten times his own body mass?" "Me," sayeth Eddie. On that note, one of the biggest chuckles I got, sort of spoiler, was when Richie talks about boning Eddie's mom and then says that afterward she leaned down and whispered to him "Jabba amu intoe tah parena" or some such shit in his best Jabba du Hutt voice out of nowhere. They both get pretty good lines in reference to murdering bully Henry Bowers (played by one Teach Grant). More spoilers. Eddie, after he stabs Henry but doesn't kill him, tells him "You should cut that fucking mullet. It’s been like 30 years, man," which, yeah. This leads to what is easily my favorite line of the movie. After Richie kills Henry with a tomahawk to the back of the head in old Derry Public, he looks at Mike, whom he has just saved, and says "I guess you could say that was long overdue. Get it? ‘Cause we’re in a library." And then he pukes. Beep Beep Richie.
Thursday, August 22, 2019
The Apartment. When you're in love with a married man, you shouldn't wear mascara... That's how it crumbles... you know, cookie-wise. Jesus. I adored this movie. Jack Lemmon is seriously phenomenal in everything I've ever seen him in. Also, Billy Wilder is three-for-three in the movies I've blogged about, also loved Some Like It Hot and Sunset Boulevard, and half a dozen others I've seen at some point in life are also dope. Don't see this ever listed among the greatest movies of all time but it should be. Hands down the best and most rewatchable romantic comedy, IMO.
Rotten Tomato Consensus: Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.
Directed by Wilder, he and one I. A. L. Diamond co-wrote the screenplay. Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning five including Best Picture, Best Director, and Beast Screenplay. Gist of the movie is that insurance agent Bud Baxter (Lemmon) allows his higher ups to use his Upper West Side apartment to take their mistresses for affairs with the promise of moving up the corporate ladder. When Bud's prick of a boss, Sheldrake played by Fred MacMurray (whom I recognize from Double Indemnity and as the dad in My Three Sons) brings elevator operator Fran Kubelik, played by the lovely Shirley MacLaine, a woman that Bud is secretly in love with, shit gets real.
This movie is way darker of a romantic comedy than we are used to today featuring attempted suicide and married men promising to leave their wives, we know how that is, right ladies? Behind the concept was even darker shit as Diamond incorporated a life experience of one of his friends who came home after breaking up with his girlfriend and finding her dead, having committed suicide in his bed into Wilder's original comedy about adultery. Yeesh. Also included elements of another true story where Hollywood agent Jennings Lang was shot by producer Walter Wanger for having an affair with his wife, actress Joan Bennett, having used the apartment of one his low-level employees to conduct the affair.
A few bullet points... Shirley MacLaine is adorably cute. Pixie hair, quick wit, cosmopolitan. She is a cool chick. Easy to see how Bud genuinely falls for her. You feel protective of her as Sheldrake does what he does to her. It's really heartbreaking when she almost kills herself which everyone assumes was Bud's fault as his neighbors think he is just constantly bringing chicks home. The physician down the hall, one Dr. Dreyfuss played wonderfully by Jack Kruschen who was nominated for Best Supporting, who saves Fran's life, along with the landlady, give Bud hell for breaking the girl's heart when in reality it was Sheldrake (though it did look bad for him since he was drunk and brought back this other woman). Then, after she spends a couple of days at his apartment, her brother in-law, she is living with him and her sister, shows up and kicks his ass. Good stuff. Also, Lemmon easily wins the movie. Dude is funny and genuinely good. Kevin Spacey dedicated his Best Actor Oscar for American Beauty (maybe the movie from the last 20 years to age the worst that was once considered good) to Lemmon.
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Plain Clothes. You're supposed to be helping your brother Matt, not getting nippy with some cheerleaders! Really loved this flick in my youth. Still has it's moments though I wasn't in love with it like I was as a kid. One of those putting an adult in high school movies where in this case the adult is obviously in his mid 30s. How can you go wrong with that?
Basic gist is that a youngish cop, Nick Dunbar played by 32 year old Arliss Howard, goes undercover as a high school student, choosing the name Nick Springsteen, to prove his brother's innocence of murdering one of his teachers. During this time he goes from loser to most popular kid in school with both the captain of the cheerleading team, played by one Alexandra Powers (more on her later), and a teacher, played by James Camron's wife Suzy Amis, throwing themselves at him sexually after he reads the E.E. Cummings poem "she being Brand," a car poem really about "doinking". So, yeah, Amis's teacher character is totes DTF this dude she thinks is a student. This is obviously problematic but in the 1980s was funny, apparently.
Personal favorite random guy who wins the movie for me is Seymour Cassel whom I think of mostly as Esteban ("Esteban was eaten!") from The Life Aquatic. He plays Nick's partner who also acts like his dad when he goes back to school. He more or less uses this to embarrass the shit out of him whenever he comes to the school. Does things like embrace him on his first day, saying "let's not let the same thing that happened at the last school happen here... I love you, son" and telling Nick's little cheerleader crush that he was grounded before driving off like a wildman.
Also of note is this Alexandra Powers chick. She is the high school girl that everyone treats like a goddess, the cheerleader one, but has what looks like a dead animal on her head. She was in a decent amount of things after this and was even the lead in an NBC miniseries Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan movie, Tonya and Nancy. I, Tonya it was not though Powers did indeed look a lot more like Tonya that the gorgeous Margot Robbie. She apparently married one of Scientology's biggest recruiters at which point she joined the cult. Hasn't been in any movies or anything since then. Eventually joined the Sea Org so that's she'll be doing for the next three billion years unless, you know, she walks away.
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Let me go! I'm not fit to be a senator! I'm not fit to live! Expel me, not him! Willet Dam is a fraud! It's a crime against the people who sent me here - and I committed it! Ah, wouldn't it be great if real life were a Frank Capra movie and guilt got the better of the corrupted in power? Don't expect Mitch McConnell or Trump to give a movie like this any mind. No political party is ever mentioned... But we fucking know. No way Trump has seen it and McConnell sees Paine as a punk and Smith is a chump. Hell, he probably took the stuff about the dam they were using to get rich on stuff as inspiration for his whole funneling government grant money to his wife scheme. Lot of "I'm doing this on principle" bullshit from Claude Rains's character, Senator Joseph Harrison "Joe" Paine (who wears glasses that constantly flash when the light hits to the point of distraction which I can't remember happening in any other movie I've ever watched), that is more the style of a few other fucking pricks. Every senator claims to be Smith. Fucking Rand Paul or Ted Cruz, for example. Most of them are Paine. Definitely that fuck Paul (and most Republicans).
Originally supposed to be a sequel in the Mr. Deeds Goes to Town universe but Gary Cooper was unavailable. Instead we get Mr. Smith going to Washington in this light political drama about a seemingly naive politician appointed to the United States Senate by a group of corrupt politicians/business leaders who want to game the system in what amounts to a get rich quick scheme. I've been told this is a plot hole but see my bit about McConnell above. Though I do concede that everything gets pretty murky when it comes to what these guys are doing/trying to get away with. It sort of like another Stewart movie from that year in Destry Rides Again where the corrupt politicians/business leaders appoint someone they think is an idiot to "represent the people" but whom they really want to just walk all over. That was actually my favorite Stewart movie of that year but this was the one that made him a star, apparently. Only other actor of note is Thomas Mitchell as "Diz" Moore. Mitchell actually wins the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor that year for the role of Doc Josiah Boone in Stagecoach, which is coming up on my list for 1939. That was a big year for Mitchell. Played significant roles in five movies, all considered classics--the other three were Gone with the Wind (he played Scarlet's father), Only Angels Have Wings, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Was the second actor to win the so called Triple Crown of Acting, winning an Emmy, an Oscar, and a Tony just a month after Helen Hayes became the first in 1953.
In the first half of the movie we are hammered with how idealist Smith is as he goes to DC and sees a bunch of DC shit. We watch as he gets inspired by the Lincoln Memorial, learns that he has Daniel Webster's old seat, calls the city "Worshington", and yucks it up for journalists. But this last bit gets him into trouble as papers take advantage of his good nature to make him look like an idiot. He then goes on a punching journalists tour, delivering hay makers to no less than four people in a deranged montage. He then goes and revisits all the same DC places, only this time he is sad.
But dude has a plan. For kids! Get them Boy Scouts some land. But Paine and the PA Governor, Smith's state, and some big business guy have a whole conspiracy against Smith. Fuck this guy, basically all of his buddies say after he doesn't play ball with their bullshit money making scheme that didn't really make a whole lot of sense to me. Like, if they were going to buy the land for the kids, they also would have bought it for the dam and they would have still made money, if I understand it right. So, in-ee-way, Smith, about to get kicked out of the Senate goes on a long ass filibuster session where he pleads his case. No one cares and the political machine, which controls the papers, fucks with public opinion. But the kids and Jean Arthur, his very knowledgeable aid, and who ever the fuck this Biz guy is have his back. They go to the papers and print their own Boy Rangers paper that tells the truth though political goons take them from the kids. This shit is out of fucking control. These punch one kid in the face and later run him off the road, probably killing all the kids in the car.
But it is a happy ending with Smith's speech and such winning Paine over to the point where he confesses. This is after Paine fucking wins by pushing Smith over the edge, bringing in all of the hate mail people in PA have sent to Washington since his whole rambling talk started. IRL, the political machine chews you up and spits you out. Those with power and the most corrupt always win. Look at Al Franken vs. Trump. Paine just freaks out and that is the end of the movie. Seemingly he has been doing this shit for years. He can't just tune out Smith's hoarse ramblings for a few hours without losing his mind? I'd bet he'd be there eating a doughnut when Smith passed out, stepping over him on his way to spin it to the press. Couldn't make that shit today. No fucking way anyone buys any of that shit.
Also, this movie is featured in one of my favorite The Simpsons episodes. In it Mel Gibson is making a remake of the flick. Somehow Homer gets in Gibson's ear as a sort of everyman and what the average man wants. Not a bunch of preachy talking, that is for fucking sure, and Gibson turns it into an action movie where he kills members of the press and the corrupt senators, stalking them on the floor of the Senate. Hilarious.