Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Next Assignment?

So, what's the next assignment, folks?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Commentary Madness

So, anyway, last week I picked up a DVD of Mister Roberts at the library. It's one of my favorite movies, and I have the video (not the T-shirt, though... did I mention that my BIRTHDAY is April 23rd?)--it hadn't even been that long since I had last watched it, but I was most [excited] 'cause the DVD has a commentary by Jack Lemmon. (Love them commentaries!)

I made sure I had plenty of water, got Sir Harvey all settled next to me with his petite movie snack (uncooked veggie pasta), little Button Kitty jumped up on my lap, and we were READY! It started out well--I was getting a big kick out of listening to Mr. Lemmon's stories when I see, superimpose on a still playing movie: "To continue listening to the commentary, go to Select Scene and choose Scene 3."

I looked at Sir Harvey, and he looked at me, then we both looked at the kitty, but she was already asleep (her goal). I went to Select Scene and almost dislodged feathers and fur when the music blasted. I *hate* it when the menu music is much louder than the movie. I clicked on Scene 3, and we continued on our way. Harvey and I laughed, and Button--well, she kept on sleeping. And, then: "To continue listening to the commentary, go to Select Scene and choose Scene 5."

I was not pleased. Harvey threw a veggie pasta at the screen. Button almost woke up. I wondered if I really wanted to go through this, but was so enjoying the commentary, so I lowered the sound (damned if I can find a MUTE button on this remote), went to the menu, went to Scene Selection, chose Scene 5 and raised the volume. I had to do this about every two scenes. I get to the part where the nurses were sayin' they had to go back to the hospital, and... "In order to continue..."

I stopped myself from saying sumpthin' in front of little pitchers, clicked my way to the scenes, raised the volume, and there's Mister Roberts, gathering some of the crew around him to read them the letter about orders to a liberty port... [double-take] Having seen this movie a [koff!] few times, I knew that part of the movie was missin'... just a few minutes, but HEY! I rewound to where the nurses say they gotta go, and this time I saw the missing part... but the commentary was completely gone.

I was so [peeved] that that became the first time that I have ever put on Mister Roberts and did not watch it all the way through. That constant scene selection thingy is just plain crazy--and MEAN! Has this happened to anyone else with another movie? Has anyone happened to have watched a Mister Roberts commentary version that played through the whole movie? Why the heck would they do that? It... it just ain't fair!

Anyway, disgusted, Sir Harvey glided down to go Walk-About, Button complained piteously about not gettin' her full movie nap, and I brooded. Then I popped in "Arsenic and Old Lace", and we three cheered up in petite order. But, golly, I wish that I could hear the rest of Jack Lemmon's stories... in peace.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Royal Tenenbaums - Discussion (April 07)

As with the intro post, I'm posting this early so I won't miss it over the weekend. Don't read the comments til you've watched the movie!

You don't have to answer all these questions. You don't even have to answer any of them. You can just talk about your reaction to the movie. These are just some prompts to get you started. Spelling does count toward your final grade, however.

1. Like all dark comedies, this film depends on finding the humor in taboo/Not Funny subjects. When did you think they nailed it, and when did you just cringe?

2. This is pretty slow-moving for a comedy. If you were editing it, would you have paced it differently? What would you have cut or held a bit longer?

3. The conceit of the story being read from a book: distracting or crucial? How important is Alec Baldwin's narrator to the funny? Is this still pretty much the same movie without him?

4. How much of the comedy here is delivery versus writing? How crucial is this particular cast? If you read this as a script instead of seeing it performed, is it still funny?

5. There are several shots in this movie of Royal alone off to one side, with someone else walking in or out of the shot. What's the point of this and is it effective?

6. According to the grave stones in the cemetery, the story takes place in 2000-2001. What do the retro costumes and sets add? How do they reflect the story?

7. What do the particular songs chosen for the soundtrack add?

8. For Wes Anderson fans: how does this stack up with his other movies?

Bonus question for the silly: I find this to be a terribly quotable movie. Favorite lines?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


When I rented the April movie I was told I could get a second movie for just fifty cents more. So I browsed and browsed and they had zillions of old movies but they didn’t have “On The Waterfront”. Finally my eye landed on “The Wicker Man” and I snatched it up.

I probably last saw it late some Saturday night a quarter century ago on Creature Features. Second thought, it’s too good for Creature Features. But wherever it was shown, they would have heavily edited Britt Ekland’s nude erotic dance scene, so getting the DVD was a special treat.

Don’t mistake this for the movie released in 2006 starring Nicholas Cage. I’m talking about the real one, with the great actor Edward Woodward and the ever-sinister Christopher Lee, filmed in 1972 and released in various forms throughout the 70s.

There are a lot of things to like about this film beyond its charming 1970s propensity for nudity. It’s a horror film without any supernatural elements (or blood). It’s a subtle story about people in isolation, about power, and about faith. The pagan elements are well done and contrast well with Woodward’s character’s devout Christianity. Woodward’s acting is tremendous. There is some nice Celtic folk music that was written for the film, in particular “The Landlord’s Daughter”. It was shot in Scotland and has beautiful, beautiful scenery. And a story of pagan sacrifice and rebirth was a hell of a choice for Good Friday.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

DVD wish list

Any camp or classic movie faves you're desperately hoping is released on DVD? A good, clean, original, not a re-dub sold on eBay. I've searched since high school for Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Let's talk about disappointment.

There I am, in my lonely hotel room. I hate being away, even though the sliding door to the balcony is open, the view of the ocean at sunset is lovely, and the fire is going.

My one consolation is that I have my portable DVD player and my newly received (from Blockbuster) rental of:

The Big Sleep

Only one of the greatest noir films ever made. Can't wait. I open the envelope and pull out the little sleeve. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall... that's what it says.

So I take out the disk and pop it in. I'm not paying too much attention as I'm trying to open a Coke Zero with my left hand while pushing play with my right.

But instead of Bogey and Bacall, I get this:

The Big Sleep

Oh, fuck me. Devastated.

Fortunately I had a backup in the case, so not all was lost:

Touch of Evil

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


What's your favorite bad movie? What's the worst movie you ever loved?