Friday, June 29, 2012

Statistics 102

Well, they can't all be memorable, can they?  When you have a limited budget, the trick is to make the subject matter interesting, or have interesting characters.  Something.  Anything.  With 1958's The Fearmakers, it's got a secret weapon: a young actor by the name of Mel Torme.... I'm sorry, that's Tormé.  You know, the guy who eventually appeared on Night Court!  This film was his training ground.  This film is so low buget, they couldn't afford the accént aigu over the "e".  The IMDb's no help, either!  His character is Barney BARNES... isn't it?  He plays a decidedly unromantic nerd type here, almost too well.  I better listen to some of his music now to get the image out of my head!
On to the plot.  War hero and think tank maven Alan Eaton is suffering from PTSD after serving in... Korea, I guess.  He's one of the lucky ones, as he just gets the occasional day-stopping migraine, usually at a crucial plot point.  Eaton comes home to find that his think tank has been bought out by an alpha-male wanna be named McCarthy... I mean, McGinnis.  Personally, he just wants to be associated with the prestige of the Eaton name.  He doesn't know about all that crap about statistics or unbiased, unloaded survey questions... but he does know about that master card file, which he keeps in a locked cabinet in his office.  How to get that key?  How?
I'm probably not doing the film justice, but in retrospect it does seem kinda lame.  Sure, there's probably a political lesson here somewhere, probably something about power corrupting absolutely, or a warning about alpha males who find a weakness in the system and exploit it for personal gain.  Maybe there's some grain of universality here that calls for a remake / reboot.  Maybe Adam Sandler will remake this movie someday.  He'll play Eaton, and Russell Brand can play McGinnis, now changed to "O'Doyle."  O'Doyle uses Eaton's cash reserves to buy hookers and booze and tells Eaton to "eat it."  See?  It writes itself!  Unfortunately, Mel Tormé can't do a cameo as a rude old man in an adult diaper, but I'm sure Sandler can get someone else just as good.  Alan Arkin, perhaps!  Why not?  He got to Susan Sarandon before Tyler Perry did!  Seriously, though, I do sorta wish now that I had seen this film before embarking on my latest academic adventure.  This is a pretty good introduction to the world of survey questions, and how to properly word them, if nothing else.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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