Saturday, September 20, 2014

Remakes


Remakes.

Is there any word that creates more animosity in the minds of filmgoers than this?

“Why can’t they just make something new instead?” we complain, and justifiably so.

Most of the time.

Because, while it is as rare as hen’s teeth, every once in a while, Hollywood cranks out a remake that stands alongside it’s classic forefather, and, even more rarely, manages to surpass it. Lest we forget, Frankenstein with Boris Karloff was a remake. As was The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland. Oh, and The Maltese Falcon with Humphrey Bogart (twice over- once in 1931 and again in 1936 as Satan Met a Lady).

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Open Letter to Gwenneth Victoria Lucas


Dear Gwen,

 

Welcome to Planet Earth, little girl. This is me, your father.

There’s a great deal out there to see, all kinds of animals, plants and faraway places, ancient monuments and modern marvels, the stars in heaven and the ground beneath our feet. Your mother and I will show you a lot of it, and you will see even more on your own one day. Your mom will teach you to bake, to sew, to sing, to do all the things that she’s good at.

I will teach you about the movies.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rainbow with Egg Underneath and an Elephant: Thoughts on Harold and Maude


Harold and Maude is my favorite movie.

I discovered it many years ago while in high school, having heard about it once or twice through various pop culture references (like There’s Something About Mary). A friend of mind pointed it out to me in a video store and told me I should buy it. “I haven’t seen it,” I protested. “I don’t like buying movies I haven’t seen.”

“You’ll like this one,” she insisted. “If you don’t, I’ll buy it off you.”

How could I lose? So, I bought it, took it home, watched it, and fell in love with it.

I’ve watched it countless times and have bought it twice more, first on DVD and then again on Blu-Ray (thank you, Criterion!).

Whenever someone tells me what their favorite movie is, I’m inclined to ask why. What is it about that particular film that brings you back to it time and time again? For some, the answer is simply entertainment. For others, it’s nostalgia. For me and Harold and Maude, it is because of the film’s mindset, life-affirming but with a twisted sense of humor. The film is rebellious, but sweet, a celebration of life that focuses on death and, on top of all that, a love story that is about love, not just of another human being, but of all humanity, of all that life and the world has to offer, the good and the bad.

Before I continue, I should warn you: SPOILERS AHEAD. If you haven’t seen the film, you might want to go do so before reading any further.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Whatever Happened to the Spoof?


The wise man says: “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.”

Today, friends, I am saddened to announce the death of one of my favorite kinds of movie: The Spoof.

Perhaps, one day, it will rise and live again like Peter Boyle’s monster, but, for now, allow me to eulogize this lost form of filmmaking. I will speak not of what it has become, a meaningless string of pop culture references, bodily fluid jokes and cameos by celebrities who will do anything to get their names in print, but rather, for what it was: a delicate balancing act of homage, roast and celebration, for the best spoofs were only slightly removed from their serious precursors.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Of Capes and Cinema


Marvel  vs. DC.

To some, this argument is as inconsequential as “Chocolate vs. Vanilla.”  To others, this is as important as Republican vs. Democrat or Protestant vs. Catholic.

To us geeks, it is a very important argument. I have friends who are staunch Marvel fans, pointing to Marvel’s deeper characters and struggles with real-life problems as evidence that their title is superior. For DC supporters, the argument stands that without DC, there would be no Marvel, and that the DC pantheon of heroes reads more like the gods on Olympus than acrobats in tights.

But, this is a movie blog, so, I’m going to discuss Comic Book Movies, which is a whole other ball of wax.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Schlock Therapy


For three years now, my day job (that is, the one I get paid for) has been in Behavioral Health.

Mental Heatlh.

A psych ward.

Now, at my previous facility (I have since moved halfway across the country), I worked first and second shifts, which meant that I had a lot of interaction with patients, something I kind of miss now that I’m a third-shifter. Anyway, on Tuesdays from three to four in the afternoon, there was a group scheduled, but there was no one to lead said group, which resulted in the patients simply sitting in the dayroom and watching a video. There were two problems with this: one, we only had two videos that actually worked and two, any patient who had been there before (and there were a few) or had been there for more than a week had probably already seen both of them. I felt bad for the patients, having to sit through the same two depressing videos over and over again, so I asked if there was something else we could do.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Legendary Awfulness: Edward D. Wood, Jr.


There are those in cinema who are remembered and celebrated because of their genius: Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Truffaut, Fellini, Wilder, and so on. But only one filmmaker is remembered and celebrated for his lack of talent: Edward D. Wood, Jr., the mind behind such “classics” as Plan 9 From Outer Space, Glen or Glenda and Bride of the Monster. He was the Orson Welles of bad movies, writer, director, producer and actor, but if Welles is one end of the spectrum, then Wood is the other.