Thursday, April 25, 2013

Short Reviews - April 2013

Thumbs down, God!  Thumbs way down.


Ring of Fire (2013) - Trying to supersede Walk the Line, eh?  Time for Joaquin Phoenix to get weird again!

"Hannibal" - ...now a TV series?  On NBC?  ...well, it's about damn time!  Probably won't be as fun as the 2001 movie, but why quibble?  Oh right, it got cancelled already.  That was quick!

Rabbit Every Monday - With Yosemite Sam as Elmer Fudd.  LOL.

The Dictator - With Ben Kingsley as Hamid Karzai

Gravity - Clooney and Bullock together?  Well, with the help of gravity, you better push Sandra into a pool again, George!

The Cheapest Movie Ever Made - Also one of the least reviewed.

I'm going to defer to the real experts on this one:
"Boys don't cry" is much like "One million dollar baby".. great movie but one just get BORED with SO much misfortune... over and over and over... till the lead finally dies... BORING!
Punk's Dead: SLC Punk! 2 - Punk may be dead, but sequels are forever.  I'm guessing Matthew Lillard's going to play the grown-up right-wing Christian this time, if he's lucky enough to get cast.

Also, thumbs down to me for not focusing on this.  So, here's this month's feature.  Two novelty acts that have hit their respective glass ceilings: Green Jelly and Buckner & Garcia.  Which kicks more ass?  Probably Green Jelly, of course, even though they don't seem to like their audience very much.  And I can't say as I blame them, as heavy metal audiences tend to be extremely dogmatic.  This microsecond is metal, this one isn't.  Exhausting.  But, credit where credit's due!  They're still too extreme to be included in the soundtrack to Shrek.  Maybe Hoodwinked 3 will jump on the bandwagon, who knows.  Alas, I can't bear to watch too many more of their videos, especially this one... I surprised myself!  Even I have some taste after all.  Life's too short sometimes.
As for B&G, well, I haven't found myself doing the Donkey Kong yet.  I let the Simpsons do that for me.  And I just found out that they did a song for Wreck-It Ralph.  It's on YouTube already!  Go figure.  However, they needed to consult an expert on Wreck-It Ralph to write that one.  See?  You hang around long enough, and in thirty years you get a shout out from the kids of your aging fans.  Cycle of life, baby.



Too many Hugs, Not Enough Mugs

ACT ONE

...Why do these things always come in threes?  I know, I know, but even I'm starting to wonder.  As usual, the old Stooges get three young ladies as foils.  Then again, Christine McIntyre was getting a little long in the tooth in her own right.  But I don't care, she's still a doll.  And then, there's the French-Canadian babe Nanette Bordeaux.  Oh, these Stooge shorts killed her off for sure!  Tragic.  Just tragic.
Anyway, let's get through all this fruity girl crap, and get right to the good stuff.  Then again, this is kind of a Stooge-esque shtick, isn't it?  So these three hot chicks go to get their mini-storage parcel after spending a year in jail.  Elderly shopkeeper Emil Sitka informs them that three gentlemen bought their parcel at auction.  They go full-throttle Stooge on his ornery old ass!  Epic.  Actually, Sitka was about 36 at the time.  Damn, but I feel old right now.
Next scene: the Stooges are hard at work hurting each other.  I'm just too used to see them running from the cops.  No, that was the 30s and early 40s.  They're legit now, having studied Business Administration at Yale.  But they really should've studied either theater or one of the martial arts.  Position is everything, and they always seem to line themselves up to hurt each other.  Case in point: Moe steps in front of Shemp's drill.  True, Shemp hasn't drilled all the way through the chair he's working on, but it would still be a good idea to pay attention and think ahead a couple moves.  But like a runaway train headed for the end of the line, Moe gets his padded ass in the wrong place at the wrong time and, as Shemp daydreams, looking towards the camera but not right into it, he twists the drill through the back of the chair he's working on and hits Moe in the ass... crunching sound?  Hmm.  Apparently, Moe's ass is made of walnuts.  Go figure.  Just like Costanzo's neck in Total Recall!
And so, Shemp goes into full apology mode.  "I'm sorry, Moe!  The bit bit ya!" he says.  Well, it's half of a mea culpa, anyway.  Giving a mea culpa must be an upper crust thing.  I can't remember the last time I heard a good mea culpa at my economic level!  Everyone just complains about a lack of sleep, usually.  Anyway, Moe is unimpressed and grabs Shemp's nose, then smites it.  Shemp steps backward and, as fate would have it, Lawrence stabs Shemp with a knitting needle in his ass.  Shemp plunges forward and gets Moe a second time with the drill!  Lol.  This is going to be a good one after all.  Shemp half-apologizes to Moe, saying "Moe, Larry pushed me!"  Spoken like a true gentleman.  A lesser sort would've complained, saying that Larry just stabbed me in the ass with a needle.  I guess we're just lucky Larry wasn't a heroin addict.  Larry comes over and totally loses it on Shemp, slapping him gently with the first thing he can grab.  Shemp notices that it's the box they bought from the auction.  Great segué, guys, just great.  Apparently it wasn't made out of rubber, and neither, apparently, was the extra-long drill bit that Shemp was using!  Thank God for Moe's ass padding.  But nevertheless, Moe's still sore, and all too quickly, the valuable pearls becomes the magic beans that turns into a giant beanstalk.  Shemp puts the pearls in his pocket, and Moe throws the box away.  We see that the box lands on a chair over yonder.  You know, this reminds me of the beginning of Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai which I happened to watch a little bit of recently.  I saw the part with Richard Portnow, don't ask me why.  The girl was reading "Rashomon" and she takes a big gulp of wine and throws the book on the floor.  Ghost Dog shoots Portnow, notices to his horror that he's not alone, and takes the book with him to hang on to until the end of the movie... sorry, SPOILER ALERT.  I guess my point is: IS THIS NOT THE SAME DAMN SITUATION?  Probably not, but Jarmusch surely agrees with me, right?  Don't leave me hangin', bro!
Anyway, this scene goes on for far too long.  The Stooges improvise what they can, but to no avail.  "THIS IS A PLACE OF BUSINESS!" Moe barks at his helpless underlings.  Boy, that's when you know it's time to retire, when the Three Stooges are calling themselves legitimate businessmen.  Moe pokes Shemp in the eyes and leaves his fingers there.  "All right, take it out," Shemp says.
God damn, but I'm exhausted.  Watching Stooge films is a young man's game.  Next scene: trouble arrives outside their very front door in the form of the three pretty, but crazy, ladies.  Their plan is to ply their feminine wiles on the Stooges... that's the right phrase, isn't it?  Love 'em and leave 'em, as soon as they get the jewels, basically.  I hate to guess ahead, but these gals are going to fall in love with the Stooges, aren't they?  Even though the Stooges are old enough to be their fa.. their grandfathers?  I guess because the other two girls speak some French, this makes Nanette Bordeaux the alpha chick.  The gals enter.  We hear Moe giving the other two a pep talk that just might prepare them for the adventure they're about to go on.  Indeed, they should learn to behave themselves... and so begins the first test.  McIntyre, positively luminous in her fur wrappings, asks as sexily as possible which one of the Stooges is the proprietor.  They of course, all claim to be, and then go in for the three-header bow.  After recovering, Moe hits them both in the skull with his angry fists.
Next scene: Moe confidently marches over to McIntyre and gets to work.  The other four pair off, and... huzzah!  Romance is once again in the air!  "What a gorgeous head of skin!" Larry's girl says to him.  Of course, now that half the men in America shave their heads all the time, we should probably hear that phrase a lot more often.  Shemp is, of course, the most romantic of all, and after he's done wheezing and snorting, he kisses Bordeaux on the arm just above her bracelet.  Lucky bastid.
McIntyre unsubtly reminds Moe that she's there to get the pearls back... I mean, look at some... whatever they have.  But just as Moe's about to take McIntyre over to their inventory, Bordeaux grabs on to Moe so McIntyre can look around unfettered.  Bordeaux complements Moe on his eyes.  Shemp asks "Hey!  What about MY eyes?"  You'll never guess how Moe responds to that... yup, even Shemp's at a loss for words.  Lol.  Once again, the scene goes on for much longer than it normally would.
And so, time to kill some time in earnest.  We watch as McIntyre desperately looks for the small box with the pearls in it.  Eventually, she sees that the box is resting on yonder loveseat.  Relieved, she goes over to it and... unrelieved, she finds the box empty.  Well, where could they have gone?  Typical dame.  She thinks they're lost somewhere in the chair!  Now, while all of this is going on, we hear the others talking about romance, as if they're making up dialogue right there on the spot.  If it was scripted, they should fire the writer right away.  McIntyre's desperation gets ratcheted up when she sees a knife sitting on the table next to the loveseat, and she starts cutting up the chair to find those damn pearls!  They've got to be somewhere in the chair's stuffing!  Just gotta!

ACT TWO

Oh, right!  The act break.  I must've gotten distracted myself!  Anyway, the script quality picks up a little bit at this juncture.  Fifi says to Shemp, "I bet you're a regular ladykiller!"  Moe quips, "Oh sure!  The ladies take one look at him and drop dead!"  Everyone laughs except Shemp, but including Fifi!  That harlot.  Oh, but like when Groucho and Chico spar with dueling jokes, Shemp's not taking this lying down.  "Why, I've been asked to get married lots of times!" he says.  "Who asked you?" asks Larry?  "My mother and father!" says Shemp.  Another laugh.  Damn you, lack of specifics!  How many more jokes must you be responsible for?  I curse the laxness of the English language.  Now, the Germans... they know how to make a damn language!  Very little wiggle room in that tongue.
Anyway, all this talk about the Stooges being legitimate businessmen must have some ring of truth to it.  And every once in a while, business trumps love, as in this next scene coming up here.  Larry is snapped out of his swooning state when he looks over and sees what McIntyre's doing to the chair.  "Hey, look what she's doing to that chair!" he says.  Oh, dude.  This is going to get epic.  The Stooges rush over to McIntyre and the chair, and playtime's clearly over.  McIntyre tries to turn the charm back on, but Shemp, for one, is not having any of it.  "This chair was sold!  Maybe the customer won't take it!" he complains.  McIntyre tries to pat him gently on the face and calm him down, but he looks at Moe and Larry like she's completely crazy.  Lol.
Meanwhile, the other two girls search the other half of the Stooges' store.  At this precise moment, the girls prove that maybe they're not so different from the Stooges after all.  Perhaps we can really settle this heredity v. environment question after all!
Back to McIntyre and Shemp.  McIntyre's obviously not doing a good enough job trying to win Shemp back, because Shemp rips part of McIntyre's dress to try and prove his point.  At this point, McIntyre gives up on her charm offensive and just rips Shemp's left sleeve off his coat...  Berth Marks, anyone?  Moe should probably step in at some point and defend his girl's honor, but apparently slapstick trumps love in these kind of things.  Repeat once.  Shemp backs off, saying "...don't you hit me!"  Lol.  Larry steps up.  Larry finds a Hays Code-approved bit of McIntyre's dress to rip off, and he does.  Now... as you can tell from the expression on McIntyre's face, Larry is at the bottom of the Stooge totem pole for her, so to speak.  Her face virtually clenched like a fist, she grabs a hold of Larry's tie and splits it in two, stretching it out in what appears to be an attempt to strangle Larry to death.  We hear the sound of walnuts cracking.  Think of all the suffering she could've ended right there if only she finished the job!  Larry rips the rose off of McIntyre's hat in response.  That does it.  The gloves are off now.  Building on my theory of earlier, McIntyre slaps both sides of Larry's hairy head, and pulls out two big tufts of his hair.  I hope that that was stunt hair.  Larry doesn't seem to know himself!
Moe tries to reason with the fuming McIntyre, but McIntyre digs her giant heels into Moe's right foot, sending Moe hopping away.  Shemp goes in for a second helping, and McIntyre pokes him in the eyes... were they brother and sister in a previous life or something?  Anyhow, having conquered each Stooge individually, McIntyre marches over to her two soldiers and shows them the empty jewelry box.  "Maybe one of them has the necklace in his pockets!" says Fifi.  The other agrees and they all try a second big helping of the ol' charm offensive.  Oh, things are going to get messy.
The three couples reunite and, like a bad stage production, Shemp exits Stage Left with his girl and Larry Stage Right.  Heavens to Mergatroid!  That leaves us to focus on McIntyre and Moe.  "I was only playing!" purrs McIntyre.  "You should be playing tackle on the football team!" barks Moe.  A kiss on the cheek will fix that bad attitude, however.  Moe instantly turns to mush, then steals a kiss himself.  Moe buries his face in McIntyre's shoulder.  McIntyre says "Awww..." and searches through Moe's pockets.  Now, I could be cynical and say that all marriages are just like this.  However, at one point, McIntyre runs afoul of a loaded mouse trap in Moe's upper pocket.  No wonder she hated working with Jules White.  Edward Bernds would never make her do something like that.  McIntyre removes the mouse trap from her fingers so that Moe can't see her agony.  Now, the ladies in the audience could be cynical and say that all marriages are just like that.  Moe uses the opportunity to steal another kiss.  Good thing he couldn't see the look on McIntyre's face!
Over to Larry, wowing his girl with his storytelling prowess.... sheesh.  Larry gets to the punchline and slaps his girl on the shoulder.  Hard.  She falls off the bench, and the bench flips up like a teeter totter and hits Larry in the side of his head.  My description hardly does it justice; you'll just have to witness it for yourself.  This may be the highlight of a Stooge short overloaded with them.  At this point, Larry is sitting down and passed out.  Larry's girl blows on him and he falls completely over.  She starts going through his pockets.  Now that's how it's done!
Next scene: the mob that was alluded to before shows up, and right outside the Stooges' place of business!  And they're not just there to collect the weekly protection money, either.  No, everyone wants a piece of those damn pearls.  Anyway, back to the romance.  Bordeaux is messing with Shemp's hair, trying to make an Alfalfa-type thing with it.  Shemp's about to get a proper kiss from Nanette Bordeaux.  Lucky bastid.  Of course, Fifi tries to go through his pockets at the same time, but he's terribly ticklish.  The kiss will have to wait, I guess.  Time to kill some time before the thugs make their grand entrance... gotta link to this one part, though.  Lol.  But wait!  There's a twist in the plot.  Shemp says "No more" to Fifi and stands up, when all of a sudden... he's got a spring on his ass!  Somehow, a giant hole is now in the couch that Shemp and Fifi were sitting on.  Boy!  First the shredded chair, now this!  Hungry, angry termites, I guess.  Anyway, the point is, Shemp's now unable to leave the confines of the couch because of this determined spring.  Check out the audio at about 0:57.  Sounds like the sound has been given a little bit of the ol' THX treatment!  Shemp appeals to his pals for help.  "I'm having clutch trouble!" he tells Moe and Larry.  Ask your grandparents... And so, Moe and Larry grab a hold of Shemp's respective arms and give Shemp a real good yank.  Alas, it's not good enough, and Shemp hits the couch a third time.  "WHY YOU!!!!!" say Moe and Larry.  Oh, this is some next-level sh... stuff.  Determined, Moe and Larry get Shemp much farther away from the couch this time.  They turn Shemp around and start to pull on the spring proper.  And when they do, it sounds just like someone strumming directly on the strings of a piano!  There must be a way to make money off of that.  Imagine!  Your very own piano in one tiny spring.  Unfortunately, the Stooges aren't such forward thinkers, and they look at the spring as an enemy.  They eventually dislodge the spring from the couch, and... oh, you'll just never guess what happens.  Yup, that's right.  THWACK!  A face full of spring for the three of them.  That hurt me, for God's sake!  Moe untangles himself from his third of the spring and slaps Shemp for good measure, calling him a nitwit.  The girls run over to console their respective Stooges.  Get used to it, girls.  If you stick with these guys, you'll be doing this kind of thing your whole life.
To move the plot along, Shemp says "I hope it didn't bust the beads!" and takes the pearl string out of his pocket.  Everyone stops and stares at the beads as though it's the Lost Ark or something.  McIntyre acts quickly, saying to Moe "I could sure love a man who'd give me beads like that."  Moe pats McIntyre's hand and immediately acts to oblige her.  He plucks the pearls from Shemp's hand and holds them a few seconds for the camera to absorb it all, and probably to rub it in Shemp's face a little bit.  Now, screenwriters of the future take note: Moe hands McIntyre the pearls and says "Here they are!  They're yours!"  Enter the mob guys.  "Oh, no!  They're mine!" says one of the mobsters, grabbing the pearls for himself.  Economy of words.  That's the key.  Repeat stuff as often as possible.  People will be more likely to remember it that way.  But, you also gotta be careful.  If you repeat stuff too much, people will notice that, too.  Kinda like how characters in Aaron Sorkin projects say that they're never ever sick at sea, or how characters in David Mamet projects swear a lot and/or say "Things change."  Ooh!  That might make a good title, dontcha think?... oh, right.  Hey, wait a minute.  Co-written with Shel Silverstein?  Oh, this will not do.  Time to take out the trash.
And speaking of trash, let's get back to the film.  It's probably the perfect time for Act Three, but there's still 5 minutes and 30 seconds left... take away about 15 seconds for the end credit sequence... oh, hell with it.  Act Three.

ACT THREE

The mobsters alluded to earlier have finally caught up with the girls and their pearls, and the valuable pearl string is now in the bad guys' hands.  And I mean, the real bad guys' hands.  Maybe I'm just a male chauvinist pig, but I tend to make distinctions like that.  The bad guys that aren't physically attractive to me have shown up and have taken possession of the pearls.  But, as often happens in Stooge films, things of value tend not to stay in the same set of hands for too long a time.  The negotiation begins.  McIntyre tries to pit the Stooges against the mobsters, saying to Moe "Don't let them have 'em!  They belong to us!"  Moe stands tall and tells the mobster that he'll fight for the woman he loves.  And then... wait for it... Moe shoves Shemp in front of the mobster and tells him to get busy fighting.  Get busy living or get busy dying, right?  Sheesh.  Shemp starts doing his usual fighting shtick.  Hoh boy..............
The mobster obviously has no sense of humor, as he gets a firm grip of Shemp's shirt collar, winds up and... POW!  A home run right in Shemp's ugly kisser.  Shemp steps backward into the wall.  What's he going to get on his head this time?  Looks like a loaded bird cage!  See, usually when someone steps backwards towards a wall, they're going to get hit on the head by something quietly resting on a high shelf.  Ah, potential energy.  Where would the Stooges be without you?  Shemp does some improv with the bird in the cage.  I just hope it wasn't scripted, anyhow.  The scene goes on a little longer than it normally would, lol.  The mobsters laugh, but not the way you and I laugh.  Larry takes umbrage (not hombrage or ombrage... the red wavy lines don't like those), and starts busting some heads.  Well, a foot and a chin, actually.  Then another foot and the same chin!  Repeat two more times.  Comedy, thy name is Lawrence.  Everyone else scatters in other directions, but Larry, for at least one brief moment, is truly master of his domain.  Moe runs to Stage Right, and finds his own little slice of heaven to dispatch bad guys with: a table.  He manages to get the bad guy on one end of the table, and himself on the opposite end.  Moe brings his fists down upon the middle slat of the table, like one of the apes in the 2001 version of Planet of the Apes.  It looks a little stupid, but it's damn effective, as those apes are quite strong.  As for Moe, he's still got enough strength to cause some damage himself, and the board rises up to meet the challenge of the bad guy's chin on the other side of the table.  Usually a knock on the top of a bad guy's head will knock him out.  This mobster must be built upside down!  A knock on the bottom of this guy's head knocks him out cold!  And he'll probably wake up with a hell of a toothache.  While all this is going on, we seem to hear the audio from Larry's triumphant fight of earlier repeated, but a little quieter.
Triumphant and happy in victory, Moe slaps his hands and looks over to Stage Left.  He seems to already know that it's not going to be good news, judging by the look on his face.  And sure enough, Larry's brief streak of victory in battle has come to an end.  Larry's more of a sprinter, while these mobsters are marathon runners.  Now it's Larry's chin that's getting punched.  The three girls look on while Larry suffers.  The Puncher in Chief assumes his working over of Larry is done.  Or maybe it's just too sad to continue, something like that, so he turns his attention to Moe by the table.  And soon enough, Moe's got a second mobster to deal with.  Oh, I almost forgot.  Why do these things always come in threes in these pics?  Three jailhouse dames, three mobsters, Three Stooges... I'm just not finding a pattern here.  Anyway, Moe finds himself running around the table anew.  The mobster all too quickly finds himself right in position to get hit in the chin.  To up the dramatic ante a little bit, the mobster takes out a very shiny knife, saying "I'll murder you, you rat!"  Technically, Moe's not a rat, at least not in the Henry Hill sense, but just a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Speaking of which... POW!  Right in the jaw.
Moe goes over to the chin-hurting side of the table and taunts the two passed-out bad guys on the floor.  Well, God is about to teach Moe that pride is a sin, as Moe gets lightly tapped on the chin by the board.  Why, I dare not spoil how that happens... but I can link to it for you.  Larry runs to get Moe some water and... damn!  I spoiled it!
Meanwhile, there's one mobster left, and he backs the three girls into a corner.  Inspired by the Stooges' street fighting tactics, McIntyre gets an idea after she singes her ass with an iron on an ironing board.  Meanwhile, Shemp's still got that damn bird cage on his head.  He sees the girls in trouble and runs over to do what he can.  Unfortunately, all he can think to do is kick the guy in the ass.  The guy turns around and throws a punch at Shemp's head, and he ends up really really really hurting his fist on that damn bird cage.  He nurses his aching fist for a few seconds.  God's about to teach Shemp about pride being a sin, because the mobster quickly comes to and punches Shemp in the gut.  Then, the mobster opens the door of the bird cage and punches Shemp in the face through the open door of the cage!!!  Oh, dude, that's just downright cruel.  As before, Shemp starts stepping backwards until he hits a wall.  But this time, he's going to hit Moe's magic table instead.  Unfortunately for the Stooges, Moe's still in the exact spot that a bad guy should be in.  Moe gets hit in the chin right proper this time.  It looks better than that first time, anyway.  Moe starts stepping backwards himself until he hits a wall.  But before he can get to a wall, he end up falling into a giant pit of leftover stuffing.  I don't know why they would need that for their business, which I guess is why I'm not in the furniture business myself.  But they do need it for the big climax of this Stooge short, that much is clear.  (Okay, so I watched ahead a little bit...)
Of course, for me there's really only one giant pit filled with stuffing in a Stooge pic, and that's from Loose Loot.  Okay, gotta try and wrap this damn review up here.  Next scene: back at the killer table, where Shemp's still struggling to get the bird cage off of his head.  Larry runs over and asks rhetorically, "Where's Moe?"  Meanwhile, the two knocked-out bad guys are starting to come to, so Larry gets a hammer and prepares to deliver some Stooge-brand anesthetic.  Reminds me of that guy on the New York subway that one time that had a hammer, but Larry's not going to go that crazy.  He's not a monster!  Just enough to do the job.  Larry winds up and... POW!  Oh, you only hurt the ones you love... or, in this case, the ones on your team.  Yes, God is trying to teach Larry a lesson about hammers and hitting people in the head with them.  The lesson?  Always make sure you're using an OSHA-approved hammer, and be sure to test its structural integrity before you hit someone on the head with it.  And, irony of ironies, Shemp manages to remove the bird cage at precisely the wrong second.  If only he had left it on his head a few seconds longer, he might not have felt the impact of the hammer's metal head so hard.  Shemp backs up towards the wall, but runs into one of the mobsters at the foot of the giant stuffing-filled pit, and the plot conspires to send the two of them into its fibrous grip.  Larry misses seeing that happen, but somehow he can't break free of the stuffing-filled pit's gravitational pull and, as sure as eggs is eggs, a few seconds later he and his respective mobster end up falling over the wooden edge of the pit and into its billowy cushions within, not to be seen again for quite a while.
So, who do we have left?  We've got the three girls, and presumably the arch mobster.  Not realizing how dangerous McIntyre can be with a hot iron, the mobster prepares to enter the fibrous pit and get revenge on those rats known as the Stooges.  He gets an unwelcome boost forward when McIntyre introduces the hot iron to the mobster's ass.  Soon enough, into the pit he goes.  But look!  Shemp has figured out how to stand up inside the pit!  Reminds me of that clay thing... ah, skip it.  I'll never be able to find that again.  Anyway, now that Shemp's armed with his new deadly weapon, he goes to work.  He sends the girls away and starts singing some asses.  First up: one of the mobsters.  The mobster stands up, screams, then dives back into the fibers.  Next: the other mobster.  Same thing: stand up, scream, dive back in.  Next up... Larry?  Oh, no.  How could this have happened?  Too bad no one could've seen this coming.  But Shemp keeps on going.  He hits the third mobster, gets the mastermind a second time and then... Moe?  Oh, retribution may be delayed, but it will not be denied.  Shemp looks behind him to make sure Moe's fallen back under the top layer of fibers.  Whew!  That was close.  Next scene: Shemp's standing in a clearing, looking for another ass to burn.  Why, he seems to be standing right on top of one!  He moves the coat lapels out of the way so the hot iron can get to it.  When suddenly... Shemp sees the head that the ass is attached to.  It's one of the mobsters.  Caught up in the excitement of the moment, Shemp moves to quickly put the iron in place.  Unfortunately, he ends up burning his own ass instead of the one of the mobster.  Shemp lets out a mighty scream and pitches forward, face first into the fibers.  Not so nice, is it?  Now maybe you know how your victims feel!
Next scene: Shemp's still the only one standing, and he's still looking for an ass to burn.  We see some of the fibers flying into the air.  Lol.  Reminds me of that joke about Hell's three doors.  I don't think eBaum's World gets it quite right, but the punchline's close enough.  Anyway, time for Shemp to evolve, change the game, what have you.  Shemp's iron hasn't cooled yet, but somehow it's still not enough.  Maybe if he had the blowtorch from all those Stooge plumbing pics, he could really do some damage, but alas, sometimes you just have to go to war with the army that Donald Rumsfeld gives you.  What if he singes the bad guy, then hit them on the head with the iron?  An actual example of a double whammy!  Let's try it.  So far, so good.  Cue the cuckoo.  The first guy stumbles his way out of the fiber-stuffed pit, concussion and all.  Time for Mug #2.  Like clockwork, but without the cuckoo this time.  The guy has a little trouble negotiating the lip of the fiber-stuffed pit, but he eventually makes it.  Shemp takes another swipe at the guy for padding out his part... did I hear a member of the crew laughing?  I think I did!
Next scene: we get a close-up shot of the roiling seas of the fiber-stuffed pit.  Why, anything could be lurking under its turbulent surface!  At least one bad guy, and at least two Stooges.  What will appear?... how about all three?  The bad guy's in between Moe and Larry, so naturally they both go in for a punch at the same time.  You'll just never guess how that one plays out.  But Shemp's a good soldier, and he's at the ready with his ever-smoldering iron.  Ready to steam some bad guy ass.  And... POW!  Bad guys are powerless against it.  The mobster runs away, steaming ass and all, and the Stooges emerge triumphant from the threaded abyss.  The girls run over to their side.  I thought they took off with the pearls!  Go figure.  Maybe love conquers greed after all.

EPILOGUE

Shemp's not going to... yes he is.  He kisses the iron because it was so helpful in the mighty battle against the mobsters.  On the hot part of it, no less.  He tries to comfort his burnt lips and places the iron on the chair so someone can sit down upon it later.
Oh, the Stooges still had the pearls.  But after what they've all been through, McIntyre decides she's going to return them to their rightful owners.  She actually uses those words!  What a nerd.  Then she disses Moe a little bit, saying "You know, you're not much to look at..."  Back then, character had about as much influence as a pretty face.  Go figure.  Not in the Facebook era, thank God!  Nowadays it's just about who takes the hottest selfie first.  Larry noticed McIntyre's dis and is frowning, but all is soon forgotten as his gal embraces him.  They do a sideways face hug.  I just hope she can't see Larry's face.
Which brings us back to Shemp.  Oh, who's your daddy?  He sits down on the nearest chair with his girl in his lap.  All is right with the world.  The words just flow out of him like the Seine as the iron slowly lights his ass on fire.  Slowly, his thoughts turn away from romance and to, well... he says "I smell something burning!  Someone's roasting a ham!"  A few seconds after you and I would've jumped, Shemp jumps, slightly scaring his girl.  Oh, get used to it, honey.  If you hang with the Stooges, you gotta put up with this kinda sh... crap all the time.
Now, screenwriters take note.  If it were the middle of the film, we could do just a simple gag of Shemp sitting down in a bucket of water to cool his ass off.  But it's the end, and we need an extra special something.  Fortunately, brighter minds than mine were at work on these things, and they've come up with an ingenious solution!  Shemp trips on a cord, and an electric fan drops into the bucket of water.  Now, I know what you're thinking, but it's not a bathtub with a radio in it.  Let 'em have their fun for once, for God's sake!  And so, Shemp makes his way over to the bucket and... yup, Shemp's comfort quickly turns to more yelling as his pants get shredded... sorry, wrong link, and bits of fabric start flying up behind him.  Much like the bits of fiber rising up from the stuffing abyss in the corner of their fabric abattoir they call a business.  Strange, because Shemp's audio yelling doesn't seem to match the picture yelling... does that make sense?  They dubbed in the audio, basically.  Shemp turns around so the audience can see the giant hole in his pants, and he ends up sitting in the tub again.  Another scene that went on for too long.  This has to be one of the most bizarrely edited Stooge films I've seen lately.  Another classic that I should watch more often, just as soon as I complete my DVD collection.

****
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

If it wasn't for Olive, Popeye wouldn't beat-cha. You should be shaking her hand and saying.......................

A Sandler reference from my adolescence.  I must be getting soft.

ACT ONE

What did Confucius say about someone with two front doors?  Well, that's Olive for ya in Pleased to Meet Cha!  And so, Popeye comes to one front door at the same time Bluto arrives at the other, and their latest pissing match begins.  They give themselves one last grooming before ringing their respective doorbells.  Bluto looks through the keyhole, and there's a keyhole-shaped fade to Olive sitting on the couch.  Only in a Fleischer cartoon.
And so, the doorbell rings.  Olive throws her book on the floor and goes to answer the door.  I don't usually say this with these Popeye cartoons, but... time to kill some time!  Olive eventually just yells "COME IN!"  Clouds and pounding sounds erupt from both foyers, and in comes the two alpha males.  They look at Olive, then at each other.  They end up throwing the baby out with the bath water when they casually toss their gifts aside and knock Olive onto the couch in the process.  Having the itchier trigger finger, Bluto makes his intentions as clear as possible to Popeye, saying "Hey, runt!  Three's a crowd.  SCRAM!"  Bluto then elaborately hits Popeye in the nose and laughs.  But before Popeye gets a chance to retaliate for the slight, Olive gets a burst of strength and sits them both on the couch.  Bluto appeals directly to his fans in the audience and says "I've got to get RID of that guy!!!"  Notice Bluto's lack of white in his eyes.  His eyes are the color of his skin!  Talk about low budget!
Meanwhile, while the boys grouse to themselves, Olive's just as happy as a clam and looks over the gifts they brought her.  She goes in for a chocolate and Bluto takes the opportunity to punch Popeye in the face behind Olive's back.  Dude, that's low.  Olive offers Bluto a chocolate.  He takes one, of course.  That probably explains his near-spherical physique.  Popeye declines.  He then takes the opportunity to punch Bluto three times in the head behind Olive's back.  Does this mean that Bluto's three times as strong as Popeye?  It might!
We then are treated to a close-up of Olive eating a chocolate.  Gotta like that.  And then... the boys take another punch at each other, but Olive's head gets in the way this time.  This is what the cartoons are all about right here: moments like this.

ACT TWO

Olive puts her foot down.  Her polygamic domestic bliss lying in ruins, she declared "One of you will have to leave!"  "Not me!" Popeye quickly mumbles.  Now... at this point, Bluto again appeals to his fans in the audience... who those people might be, I have absolutely no idea.  Probably the cigar-smoking One Percenter types.  I was hoping he'd go for what Ben Stiller did in There's Something About Mary... and I mean the part at the end where he declares himself unworthy of Mary's love.  He still walks out of her house crying, but still.  Oh, right.  Doesn't he end up winning, anyway?  The point being, Bluto's not brave enough to go that route.  No, there's an assembled audience to be entertained, so he comes up with an idea in that vein and says "The guy that does the best trick stays!"  Hoh boy, here we go.  Popeye and Bluto walk into the next room as though they've suddenly developed trick ankles.\
Next scene: a table in the dining room.  No... Bluto's not going to... he does!  Hey, that's Stooge shtick he's doing.. or rather, the Stooges will be stealing soon enough.  Not much of a trick, arguably, but who knew that Bluto was capable of such subtlety in the setup?  And being the fickle dame she is, Olive starts laughing. Well, it was a different era, and loyalty obviously had a different character to it back then.  Apparently, Olive liked to play favorites, at least until Popeye eats the spinach.
Anyway, we might as well keep score.  So far it's Bluto 1, Popeye 0.  Although, it seems more like Humans: 0, Broken dishes: 1 to me.  Popeye at this point takes it all in stride, and he laughs and sets up his trick.  Popeye takes four plates out of Olive's cabinet and flings them past Bluto's head.  As you can see from the architecture of Olive's house, the plates are able to do a loop and hit Bluto in the back of the head.  Can someone else check Wikipedia for me?
And so, Bluto gets hit in the back of the head with four plates.  He shakes his fist at Popeye, while Olive cracks up anew.  Maybe it's me, but she seems to be laughing a little bit harder at Popeye's effort!  I get it now... she's just insane.  And so the score is Bluto: 1, Popeye: 1, but it seems more like Humans: 0, Broken dishes: 5 to me.  Just sayin'.
Time for Bluto's next "trick."  He pulls a length of rope off of Olive's curtains in the dining room.  Apparently, he's as much flying by the seat of his pants in this challenge as Popeye is.  Surely they will run out of household objects to perform "tricks" with?  Now, from the way Bluto's handling the rope, you'd think he's going to go over and hang Popeye, but no.  "Let's see you break this!" gruffs Bluto.  Popeye tries, but he's in pre-spinach mode, so he can't.  So Bluto helps him out a bit.  Bluto places the rope in Popeye's mouth and punches him in the chin.  The rope splits in two.  But is Popeye at all grateful?  Of course not!  Wotta jerk.  Bluto laughs.  No reaction from Olive this time.  (Bluto: 2, Popeye: 1)  Popeye says "Wuh-huh-huh yourself" to Bluto and reaches for a chair.  "Sit down!" says Popeye.  Oh, something's going to happen.  Now, Popeye knows that Bluto's afraid of heights, so Popeye lifts the chair on high and Bluto screams "LET ME DOWN!"  And so, Popeye obliges, and yanks the chair out from under bluto.  Bluto hits the floor and bounces up, and Popeye sticks the chair back under Bluto at precisely the right moment so that Bluto ends up sitting in the chair on the floor once again.  However, the memory of that brief moment of foolishness when his body was alive with potential energy burns brightly in Bluto, and it probably doesn't help that Olive's cracking up on the couch.  It's Bluto: 2, Popeye: 2 at this moment, but it's Bluto: 1, Popeye: 2 in terms of Olive's laugh count.  The rules must be bent a little bit at this point.  Bluto says "Here's a trick!" and decks Popeye in the face.  Popeye bounces off a sofa and hits the wall, cracking the wall's plaster.  "THAT'S NOT A TRICK!" cries Popeye.  Arguably, it's quite similar to what Popeye just did to Bluto, but never mind.  It's spinach time all the same.

ACT THREE

Popeye kicks his can of spinach up to the chandelier, and the chandelier ends up opening the can as if it were an electric can opener.  Neat trick!  And now, for the best trick of all: Popeye's arm muscle inflates to bowling ball size, and we see a bundle of six lit dynamite sticks within.  When is some gym going to start using these cartoons to ply their wares?
Anyway, time for Popeye's next trick.  Bluto's laughing on the other side of the room, with his hands on his knees to brace himself.  Unfortunately for Bluto, he is standing on a long bit of carpet, much like Olive had in Beware of Barnacle Bill.  Popeye pulls Bluto over towards him and gives him a nice big punch.  This part's in 3D, incidentally... more or less, given the period.  It'd take James Cameron's crew a couple hours to make it 3D in the 2009 cinema sense, but it was groundbreaking for its time.  Bluto slowly flies to the other side of the room, and this gives Popeye a chance to put the long carpet back into place so Bluto lands on it.  This is kinda like the chair trick!  The loop repeats, but this time Popeye doesn't fling the carpet back.  Popeye leaps towards Bluto and a massive Fight Tornado breaks out.
Next scene: a long shot of the next room from a high angle, as the crow flies, if you will!  The massive Fight Tornado continues, and for those of you in the audience who are animation buffs, you know things are going to get wrecked, as it appears that all the room's furnishings aren't part of the painted background, but rather part of the temporary foreground.  And sure enough, the Fight Tornado makes hay out of tables, the dresser, the couch, the chair... oh, it's gone too far, I tells ya.  But Popeye's singing while all this mayhem's going on, so someone's getting value out of it!  Meanwhile, Olive's still on the couch, but she's no longer laughing.  She's standing up, and clasping her hands in concern, as she tries to avoid flying debris.  "Oh, my house!" she cries.
Having had enough, Olive runs to the middle of the room.  She inexplicably is able to stop the Fight Tornado by saying "Hey, boys!"  Popeye and Bluto stop to look at her.  "Did you ever see this one?" she asks.  She grabs onto the chandelier, swings back and kicks the two of them in the face!  They go flying out her window, leaving a massive jagged hole where the window once was.  Popeye and Bluto end up in the awning of the store just across from Olive's house, but Popeye is able to extricate himself before Bluto, and he closes up the awning, trapping a struggling Bluto inside of it.  Popeye laughs and heads back to the shell that once was Olive's house.
Next scene: Olive's living room in tatters.  But who knows?  Maybe it can be salvaged with Popeye's spinach buzz.  "Hey Olive, didja ever see THIS one?" Popeye asks Olive.  He then grabs the carpet and gives it a mighty... whatever you call that.  He lifts up the carpet and thwacks it back down, for lack of a better word.  The force of the wave lifts all the furniture in the room up to the ceiling, including Olive... and it all comes down to Earth again, all neatly arranged.  Apparently, nothing was damaged by the boys' Fight Tornado from earlier, and I like the implied infinite ceiling that Popeye's trick creates.  It must go up really high!

EPILOGUE

Not much of one this time.  Popeye sits down on the loveseat, and Olive ends up in his lap, and he sings the usual closing theme song.  As you may have guessed, my favorite bit is that last part where Popeye fixes all the furniture in one fell swoop, but I could never remember which cartoon it was in.  Maybe now I won't forget again!... ah, who am I kidding?

****
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Mo Ali

Oh!  I love that guy.  That's the English wigger who interviews people and gets everything wrong?

Michael Bay's latest Sausage Fest

Tell the truth, ladies!  Why buy the whole pig for just a little bit of sausage, am I right?  Anyway, as it turns out, even Michael Bay's getting burned out with the Transformers.  And so,... like Keanu Reeves doing a bunch of small movies in between the big Matrix sequels, Michael Baby.. Bay goes slumming with a small, independent Fargo-esque feature called Pain & Gain.  Ah, is there anything more exciting to a filmmaker than doing a small independent film about a true story of a bunch of losers?  To be fair, though, the losers in Bay's film have way more muscles.  I mean, remember Frances McDormand in Fargo?  Sheesh!  Did she have a pot belly or what?  She put on, like, 200, 300 pounds to play that role?  And for what?  For a little thing called an Oscar.  There's more to life than Oscars, you know, Fran.
Anyway, back to the Bay.  Pain & Gain's budget, according to the IMDb, is $25 million.  Transformers 3 cost $195 million.  You gotta hand it to Bay, anyway.  So far, James Cameron seems unwilling to take a step down in budgets... unless you count Aliens of the Deep and the others he did during the Dubya administration.  A lot of filmmakers seem to have gone into hibernation during that ill-fated time.  Chuck Russell, for example, who last directed The Scorpion King in 2002.  He's got something called Arabian Nights coming up in 2014 and, as the IMDb's "trettfilms" rightly points out... Finally, Chuck is back!  I guess the point is... who cares?  On to the next batch of dreck.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Next Stooge: Stoogey Cow-Stooges

Sorry, but it had to be done...

ACT ONE

Stock footage of real Westerns, mostly at about 18 to 12 fps.  A guy on his porch gets shot and falls.  What did I just say?  No one dies in a Stooge film!  No exceptions.  After (what seems like) a few minutes of this, we land on the Stooge short proper, with Christine McIntyre and oft-recurring partner on screen Jock (O') Mahoney, who once told Sally Field to take that job on "The Flying Nun."  Just saw her in Lincoln!  It's all connected... more or less.  Just watch I Heart Huckabees, if you can find it!
This is the third time McIntyre's played a gal in distress named Nell.  Um, typecasting, anyone?  Good Lourdes.  The dust kicked up by the stock footage Western gang rampaging through town (the "Dylan Gang") has finally settled, and Jock Mahoney vows to go out there and get himself killed if he has to, as all real men should.  Nell tries to talk him down from his lofty ambition.  He should be smart and alert the cavalry instead!  This all seems very familiar... that's it!  Out West from 1947!  Go figure.  Anyway, once again, Jock Mahoney proves himself to be a comedian's comedian, in addition to a fine heir to John Wayne's Western throne.  He marches out the door to alert the Cavalry.. or, garden variety soldiers this time, but he's forgotten one thing.  He heads back towards McIntyre.  McIntyre raises her cheek for Mahoney to kiss it... but he goes for his guitar on the table instead.  "Forgot my gee-tar.  Goodbye, Nell honey," he says.  He turns to go, but hits the door instead.  The door slams shut.  It would've been funnier if he did it like this, but it wouldn't have been original, on the other hand.  "I hurt my knee," moans Mahoney as he leaves the scene.
Next scene: Fort Scott, Kansas.  The time: 1868.  The music: incidental.  Why do these things always take place after the Civil War?  And why don't they ever talk about the War?  Just in the Coens' True Grit, for some reason.  Go figure.  This time, the Stooges play heroic members of the Cavalry, but we have to go through probably ten minutes of idiocy before we get to some damn heroic deeds.  Case in point: "Hurry up with that saddle!" says an angry Moe.  The boys then bicker about saddle terminology, then about whether or not a certain part of the saddle is a horn.  Moe calls it the backstop, so for lack of interest I will refer to his lack of expertise.  But because of Larry's insistence, Moe squeezes the backstop, and sure enough!  It sounds like a horn!  Can't argue with "science."  "By Golly, you're right!" says Moe.  Moe then promptly teaches us a lesson in how not to put a saddle on a horse.  He throws it up into the air, and where it lands, he soon will have to care, for it smacks right into Mike Starr... I mean, one of his fellow Cavalry men.  Sorry, he kinda reminded me of Mike Starr.  His name is evidently Dick Wessel... easy now.  He fortunately lands on a soft bale of hay.  The Stooges run over to help pick him up.  Apparently, that hit from the saddle must've really knocked the wind out of that guy.  He's barely intelligible!  I think he says something about watching what you're doing, and getting back to work.  And so, the Stooges get their incompetent asses back to work.  Their task: putting shoes on that horse?  Oh, somebody's going to get kicked by the prop leg.  Several times.  "Black or brown?" says Larry, referring to shoes, I guess.  Shemp's about to outdo him, though, in the Shoe Joke department.  Meanwhile, Moe puts his arm on the sarge's shoulder and launches into "They are the LAZIEST bunch of guys I...."  Sarge puts a stop to that right away.
Moe gets back to micromanaging the other Stooges.  Moe hands Shemp a hammer and says "Stop the nonsense and get busy with that hammer!"  Someday Moe's going to learn the meaning of the word "irony."  A resentful Shemp goes over to an anvil with a horseshoe on it.  Now, notice that the horseshoe is partly hanging over the side of the anvil.  Shemp smites that part of the horseshoe with his hammer.  The horseshoe flies and hits sarge in the face.  The metallic sound effects help to distract you from thinking that it's just a prop horseshoe not made of metal.  Actually, it was a good thing that Shemp did that, because Sarge was busy choking both Moe and Larry at the same time!  Or a bad thing, depending on your point of view.  The longer I watch these things, the more I'm leaning towards bad.  Sarge does a slow burn and focuses his wrath upon Shemp now... Chopper Kane!  That's where I've seen Sarge before!  God bless the close-up.  Love that guy.  He don't want no creampuff!  He wants Shemp's head on a platter, and he just might get it too.  But alas, Hell hath no fury like Shemp's ass on fire.  Sarge sticks his finger in Shemp's ugly mug and unwittingly backs Shemp up to the burning fire of a makeshift forge.  The flames lick Shemp's ass, and Shemp unleashes the mightiest of screams, and gives Sarge a mighty push.  Sarge lands ass first into a bucket of water.  Above Sarge's head is a post precariously holding five more horseshoes... you'll never guess where they end up!
"WE BETTER GET OUTTA HERE!" declares Moe, in a rare moment of clarity.  The Stooges become deserters as quickly as they possibly can.  Sarge lifts his wet ass up out of the rain barrel and gives chase.  Alas, the door's locked.  Next scene: the next room, with lots of doors and lots of extra saddles.  The Stooges have always striven hard for authenticity in these period pieces.  (Strived is not a word?  Boy!  Better take more English classes!)  They try the other doors, but they're locked.  Enter Captain Sitka.  He's slightly in disguise behind a moustache and uniform, but that's the same old voice we're coming to know and love.  "What are you men doing here?" he says.  The Stooges turn and salute as hard as they can.  Shemp gives Captain Sitka a bit of the ol' double talk, and Sitka sends them on their way.  Which they happily and quickly oblige.  Sitka has to think about that for a second, however... so far, this may be the highlight of the film.  Meanwhile, Sarge is getting ready to bust some heads.  Screenwriters take note: this is what comedy is.  Sarge thinks that the Stooges are coming back into the room, so he's ready with a big piece of lumber.  This kind of confusion is one of the cornerstones of the Stooges' comedy.  One of the other cornerstones is haircuts, but we'll explore that in more depth at some point.  Anyway, back to the instant case at hand.  So, the esteemed Captain enters the room, and... WHOA, DUDE!  Sarge goes Nancy Kerrigan on his ass!... nah, just watched it again.  Phooey.  More like Michael Fay.  Either way, it's a 90s flashback.  And like the sicko that I am, I just had to check the YouTube to see if they have that video of Fay getting caned.  Whew!  They don't seem to have it.  Good call, YouTube.  Better try Hulu next.
Anyway, so Sitka earns some more stunt man points, as he takes a mighty fall onto the semi-soft hay.  Assured in his application of tit for tat, Sarge says "That's one of 'em!" and, giggling, runs over to open his Christmas present.  Soon after, though, it turns into a lump of coal.  "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?" Captain Sitka asks Sarge Wessel.  "Well, I...." starts Wessel.  "NEVER MIND!" says Sitka.  And with that, the Stooges are in the clear, off the hook, and in the clear, legally speaking.  The Captain demotes Sarge to Private.  Wessel takes one last look at his stripes and pouts... and rightfully so.  Cross-fade to next scene.
Nope, still too early for an Act Break.  Next scene: Colonel Vernon Dent assures Cowboy First Class Jock Mahoney that they'll take care of the Dylan Gang.  Mahoney turns to go, then stops.  Mahoney turns back.  Colonel Dent extends his hand, thinking that Mahoney's going to shake it.  "Keep forgetting my gee-tar!" says Mahoney, and takes his guitar off of Dent's desk.  The cojones of this guy!  I mean, on this guy.  Mahoney turns to go in full this time, guitar in hand... and he promptly falls over a chair.  He slowly picks himself up and says "I hurt my knee again!"  Dude, that fall looked like it hurt.  As I said earlier, the older I get, the more that kind of thing hurts me to watch.  Sure, in his prime, Chris Farley could handle that kind of fall easily, but Mahoney's a tall thin guy, with easily crackable ribs!  Oh, and the guitar makes the sound from Micro-Phonies... oh, do I have to link everything for you people?  Yes, I do, damnit, yes I do, so here it is.  You go find El Ka-Bong on your own time.  Anyway, Mahoney's all ready to get up and go once again, when fate intervenes once again.  This time, in the form of Sarge coming in to get reprimanded by the Colonel.  Mahoney bashes into Sarge and falls down anew.  Man!  This Mahoney guy's wasting as much time as the Stooges normally do!  Also, note the phoniness of the backdrop just outside the door.

ACT TWO

Maybe this would be a good time for an Act break!  Sarge salutes the Colonel, and the Colonel says "At ease."  Apparently, Sarge's demotion will have to wait.  There's still the larger plot to discuss.  Colonel Dent tells Sarge that he needs three or four men to disguise themselves as desperados and hook up with the Dylan Gang.  Undercover work, if you will!  Why, the sarge has got just the guys in mind, he just doesn't fully realize it yet.  There is, of course, the small matter of Sarge reconciling with the Stooges first.
Cross-fade to next scene: a bar.  Apparently, we're going to skip over the formalities and go right to the Stooges undercover.  Unless they've taken the initiative on their own?  Nah, that can't be right.  It doesn't pass the smell test, anyhow.  The Stooges enter the bar.  Christine McIntyre looks over, and then... slowly they turn.  A rare title card informs us of the identity of the three tough looking white guys at the bar: they are "The KILLER DILLONS"!  (Disclaimer: the exclamation point is mine, and not part of the title card.)  The Stooges do a collective massive double take, and Shemp, the wisest of the Stooges, starts to turn to leave.  Professor Moe has to reassure Shemp of the task at hand.  Now, he's not, say, the Professor Moe we all know and love from, for example, Three Little Beers.  That's the best example I can think of at the moment.  No, the task is simpler this time: they have to act tougher than the Killer Dillons... I was going to go back and convert all the times I spelt it "Dylan," but I've now decided that I'll leave that to the free market to decide.  Moe clutches his gun and leads the way.
Next scene: the Stooges are now at the bar next to the Dillons.  Boy, but those Stooges know how to make a presentation, so to speak... The dialogue with the Dillons begins.  One Dillon opens a bottle with the bar.  Moe ups the ante by using Shemp's teeth as a bottle opener.  Me thinks Shemp doth protest too much!  Even the bartender winces with pain.  Next: drinks are ordered.  "Gimme a straight slug," orders the middle Dillon.  Moe and Larry order tougher drinks.  "I'll take a milkshake!" says Shemp.  One of the Dillons spits out the beer they're drinking.  "..WITH SOUR MILK!" barks Shemp.  That's more like it.  Lol.
Back to McIntyre, and a quick reunion with Mahoney.  She runs over and embraces the lucky guy.  "What took you so long?" asks McIntyre.  "Well, I fell off my horse and had to walk," says Mahoney.  This guy's a genius.  He then breaks one of the cardinal rules: you do NOT talk about Fight Club.  I mean, McIntyre asks where the soldiers are.  "That's them!" says Mahoney.  "That's them?" asks McIntyre.  Hopefully she won't have to divulge that information to anyone later on.  The drinks are served, and the consumption of them begins.  The Stooges have a little trouble with their drinks, especially Shemp.  He must've gotten some really sour milk!  YouTube's cts24 is a fan of this part... but I'm not there yet.  One of the Dillons starts to reach for his guns, but another Dillon gets him to wait.  We still got 10 minutes, after all!  The Stooges' heads act like dominoes at this point.  Probably not going to help their street cred much.
"Tough hombres, eh?" says one of the Dillons.  Moe takes charge of the conversation.  Now it's time for the "shootin' iron" competition.  Even the Dillons need words sometimes.  One of the Dillons fires off a bunch of shots and hits a bunch of bottles on yonder table over thar.  Now it's the Stooges' turn.  They're clearly not as organized as the Dillons.  They disagree over which one is "Tex," then Shemp is thrust into the position of arbitration.  Shemp talks his talk as long as he can, but soon it's time to draw his pistol.  Needles to say, he has a little trouble getting it out of the holster.  So much so that his damn pants fall down!  Don't worry, parents, for the Stooges are family entertainment and he's wearing white pajamas under his assless chaps.  Shemp continues to struggle, and finally he pulls the gun from its holster.  Unfortunately, he also ends up hitting one of the Dillons in the face.  The Dillons swarm.  Mahoney pulls his two guns to back up the Stooges but, as he informs McIntyre, he forgot to load 'em.  Incompetence worthy of The Simpsons.
The Dillon who got hit by Shemp grabs Shemp and tells the other Dillons to leave their guns.  And you thought the Stooges were dumb!  "You got anything to say, Tenderfoot, before I gun you down?" says the Dillon to Shemp.  The Dillon points his gun at Shemp's chest and pulls the trigger!  How rude.  The gun clicks because it's empty.  "Your gun's empty!" says Shemp, then hits the Dillon on the head with a bottle.  The bottle doesn't break.  Meanwhile, Larry tries to subdue one of the Dillons.  How come there's always three bad guys?  "MOE!" says Larry, having trouble.  Moe always has to do the work of two Stooges, or so it would seem.  Shemp tries another bottle on another Dillon's head.  It doesn't break.  Moe breaks a bottle over the third Dillon's head.  Finally!  That's what we've been waiting for.
The Dillons are now in a quivering heap on the ground.  The Stooges take the Dillons' guns.  "Greased Lightning, that's what I am!" says Shemp.  Blatant callback.  Mahoney makes his approach.  With both guns empty, but pointed at the bad guys, Mahoney orders the Dillons to clear out, which they do.  Shemp gives his Dillon a good swift kick in the ass for good measure.  "Elmer!" coos Nell.  "Nell honey," says Mahoney... I mean, Elmer.  I'll call him Elmer from now on.  Love is in the air, but the boys have still got to do their thing.  Elmer twirls his guns before putting them back in their holsters.  In full Monkey-See-Monkey-Do mode, the Stooges try to do the same... and fail.  FAIL, I tells ya!  An EPIC FAIL!!!!!!  LOSERS!!!!  As usual, Shemp has to steal the scene.
Cross-fade to next scene: the Dillons return to their manager, Kenneth MacDonald.  His first question out of the box: "What happened to your guns?"  One of the Dillons tries to explain that three strangers took their guns.  MacDonald says "THREE STRANGERS?  You know who they are?"  Someday MacDonald's going to learn the meaning of the word "irony."  Why, that same Dillon says "What did I just say?  ...WHAT DID I JUST SAY?  Didn't you hear me say they were three strangers?  And did you just hear yourself?  You said 'THREE STRANGERS?  You know who they are?'  Do you realize what you've just done?  How much of an idiot you look like?"  ...sorry, I must've just imagined it.  I must've been thinking Quentin Tarantino or something.  No, life has beaten down on the Dillons lately, and this is clearly no time for the sassback to the max, with a side of Awesome Sauce.  Besides, MacDonald already knows the answer: "Lefty trailed 'em from Fort Scott!  They're SPIES!"  To which Dillon responds... oh, never mind.  I was going to make up something else.  No, the Dillons have gone from tough to reasonable at this point.  One of the younger Dillons says "They'll have the troops on us!"  The eldest Dillon says "Well, I'm leaving!"  MacDonald, the Moe of this bad bunch, says "Wait a minute!  We're not leaving here... not 'til we clean out the town!"  Now, screenwriters take note of this next part, just at the end of 8:06.  Any hack could have MacDonald start his next sentence with "Besides..." but the writers here go with "Anyway..."  Well, it's different, anyhow!  I'm still trying to decide if it's different good or not... probably not.  MacDonald gets some fresh guns for the Dillons, and it's back to work they go.
Next scene: we see the Stooges cleaning up.  Seems like they're either grooming or eating in these things.  This time, we see that Larry and Shemp are sporting dazzling new Geraldo Rivera-esque mustaches.  So convincing, in fact, that they scare each other!  Ah, they scare too easily as it is, am I right?  Don't leave me hangin', bro!  Nell's helping Moe with his mustache.  Nell also gets us and the Stooges up to speed on the plot.  Apparently, the Dillons come to that bar all the time.  The door to the safe says "Red Dog Saloon" on it.  The official gold miners of the area use this safe to keep the gold in so they don't get robbed so much.  But just then... there's a face at the window!  The eldest Dillon, perhaps.  I thought maybe it was Curly for a second.  Shemp sees the face at the window, does a double take, and screams "LOOK!"  Elmer fires and hits the lamp near the ceiling.  "Aw, shucks, I missed," he says.  What does Nell see in that guy?  Everyone runs over to the window, and the camera dollies up after them.  It hasn't done that in a while!  Well, the cat's out of the bag.  Moe tells Elmer that he's got to ride and get the cavalry.  Elmer goes.  He doesn't take his guitar, and he makes it out the door on the first try.  We hear a loud crash in the hall.  "Sounds like the trail hit him!" says Moe, real sarcastic-like.  But it ain't over yet.  We see Elmer in the alley, standing on his head. He steps down, but ends up inside a corrugated rain barrel that he doesn't realize he's standing in.  He revs up and starts to run, and falls forward on his ass... metaphorically, that is.  No guitar to brace his fall this time.  What's the deal with this guy?
Now, the official IMDb page for Punchy Cowpunchers has no entry for "Connections," even though there are quite a few connections to the previous Stooge short, Out West.  Not much on Wikipedia, either.  Do I have to do everything around here?  Apparently.  But I guess you can't really point out that McIntyre's named Nell in both, or that Mahoney plays a dim bulb a lot in these Stooge flicks.  Not interesting enough.
Next scene: the Devil is now serving drinks.  You are Astroturf... sorry, wrong bit.  I mean, the Stooges are now disguised as employees of the Red Dog Saloon.  Shemp is mixing a drink for some guy, and telling the story of Goldilocks!  Hah!  Just deciphered it.  Shame on him.  A little more colorful character than the one he played in, say, The Bank Richard.  The guy picks the olive out of the martini glass, and Shemp looks at him, as if to say "You dick!"  Next scene: the Dillons enter, with MacDonald and another guy, suspenseful music and all.  It's now five against three.  Will they recognize the Stooges in their new getup?  Shouldn't be too hard, especially if they know what their haircuts look like.  Shemp can't take his eyes off the bad guys and ends up pouring the drink he spent so much time mixing right into his customer's hands.  He does a massive double take, but still tells the guy "That'll be two bits!"  Two bits for hand creme?  What is this, New York City?
Well, so far, the Stooges are safe.  The Dillons don't recognize 'em, anywho.  The five bad guys help themselves to a seat.  Boo!  Hiss!  Larry and Moe take their orders.  MacDonald asks Moe if they've seen three strangers.  Moe tries to act all cool and nonchalant, but his moustache is thinking along different lines.  Larry spots this right away and immediately rushes over to fix Moe's disguise.  Suspicions amongst the bad guys haven't been raised yet.  Moe just keeps on talking and he brushes Larry aside pretty well.  Larry puts his hands to his own mustache in a desperate attempt to tell Moe what's up without saying it directly.  You know, undercover work.  Moe just pushes on Larry's mustache to get him to go away.  Lol.  Larry changes his tactic and just grabs Moe's mustache and rips it off Moe's face.  A mighty struggle erupts over Moe's mustache, but the bad guy just keeps talking.  "I checked that stagecoach, boss!  There were just two old miners and some dude."  I think that's what he says.  The struggle over the moustache is just too distracting.  To cut to the chase... too late for that, I know... the moustache somehow ends up out of the hands of Moe and Larry, and onto the nose of Kenneth MacDonald.  MacDonald scrunches his head down, thereby giving himself a double chin, and he takes a good, long look at this new thing on his face.  The Stooges will probably do a double take over that one... that's my boys!  Ever the smart bad guy, MacDonald quickly puts two and two together, stands up and says "Well, well...."  What is this, an Adam Sandler pic?  Is MacDonald the O'Doyle of old after all?  "Spying, eh?" asks MacDonald.  "No... leaving!" says Moe.  Lol.  Check out the way MadConald... I mean, MacDonald grabs Larry.  It's personal now!  Shemp quickly ducks behind the bar, as any patriotic American would.
Next scene: Moe and Larry are gently escorted over to the bar by a buncha guys.  Apparently there was one regular customer left in the place, but he quickly takes off.  Moe and Larry are pressed against the bar, and one dude rips Larry's moustache off!  Dayamn.  These guys aren't kidding around.  MacDonald wonders where the other one is.  Despite the earlier scenes, he's clearly the mastermind of this bunch.  He's brought two extra guys for a good reason: one to get the girl, the other to open the safe.  MacDonald is now free to focus on more, immediate matters.  He slowly says "...now I wonder where the other one went?" and slowly starts to look behind the bar, his gun drawn.  Dayamn.  This dude means business.
Of course, Shemp wasn't born yesterday, either.  He's a bonafide New York City street fighter, and he means business of his own.  For no sooner does MacDonald draw near, than BOOM!  Right in the kisser with the stream of seltzer.  If someone didn't already invent the seltzer bottle, the Stooges would have had to.  The shock of the seltzer is enough, of course, that MacDonald drops his gun and backs the hell off.  Cut to Shemp rising like a phoenix and holding the spraying seltzer bottle tried and true.  Man, what a great shot that would be in 3D.  Shemp aims his wrath at the other two, just for good measure.  One of the bad guys tries to climb up and over the bar to get to Shemp, but the sheer force of the seltzer spray is just too great, and just too humiliating.  The guy backs down like a coyote trying to eat a porcupine with the spines out.
Unfortunately, Shemp makes the mistake of stopping the seltzer.  He celebrates prematurely by laughing at the bad guys.  The bad guys quickly recover and Shemp's laughters soon turn to screams of anguish.  Shemp takes off running, and the incidental music fires up!  This is a Stooge film, right?  I've never heard of such a thing.
Next scene: a chase through a warehouse full of crates... I mean, a Western warehouse full of crates.  This is all very familiar... but the warehouse in Out West is clearly different.  Alas, we only get three seconds of the warehouse chase.  Now it's time to check in on Nell!  The bad guy is in Nell's room, and he's walking real slow, in an attempt to corner Nell.  Different incidental music now.  Oh, this is game-changing, indeed.  All we need is a throne.  The guy starts to go around the table, but he shouldn't have even bothered.  Nell heads for the window at about medium speed, and the bad guy catches her.  Apparently, Nell wants to get caught.  Maybe she's carrying smallpox or something and she'll try poisoning the bad guys to death!  That'd be a nice Shyamalan-esque twist.  Cross-fade back to Colonel Dent's office.  Elmer enters and tells him of the trouble at... lemme double check.  Trouble at Coyote Crick.  How did I miss that before?  "We need the Cavalry!" says Elmer.  Dent informs Elmer, with the heaviest of hearts, that there is no Cavalry.  "Yesterday was payday and, well... boys will be boys," says Dent.  The new highlight of the film.
Elmer tells Dent that he's riding alone.  And now, the hard task of leaving the office.  Elmer remembers the trouble he had last time with the chair, but he does trip over the Ottoman at his feet.  Damn that ancient empire and their obsession with furniture for the human foot!  Back to Moe, who emerges from the safety that is the area behind his stack of crates... or so he once thought.  A hand reaches from behind the crate, grabs him by his sugar bowl haircut, and pulls him back into the darkness, screaming like Curly might in a similar situation.  But Moe apparently gets the better of the guy, and the bad guy emerges on the other side of the stack of crates, cupping his hands to his aching face.  The bad guy vows to get revenge by punching the next thing that comes along... which happens to be another bad guy, in this case.  Back to Nell, who got herself uncaught, and now tries to make it to the front door, only to be blocked, much like The Continental would do.  And now, the fourth concurrent thread!  The safe dude's just getting warmed up.  And now, back to a struggling Nell.  Hmm!  And they say attention deficit disorder's a modern day phenomenon.  Imagine being the editor of this film!

ACT THREE

Well, we're down to five minutes left, counting the 20 seconds or so for the end title, and there seems to be no break in the action, so it's time for Act Three.  Nell says "I'm just a poor, weak woman!" and punches her attacker.  The guy backs up and crashes through the window.  She faints on the bed.  She needs no lesson in irony.  And now, we cut to Elmer, riding fast on his white horse.  And now, we cut to Larry, who hits the criminal mastermind in the head with a breakaway wooden bucket.  Touché.  He won't be masterminding anything for a while!  Alas, Larry's celebration is cut short, as he's set upon by two bad guys who will probably grab him by the hair.  I think people are just jealous of Lawrence's magnificent head of bone and naturally curly hair!  He squibs out of their grip at the last possible second.  Back to the safe cracker.  Back to the bad guys nursing their wounds.  The mastermind sends one of his goons to go check on Blackjack... you know, the guy who was supposed to tie up the girl.  How sweet it is when the criminals' cloth starts to unravel.  After that, Shemp pokes his head out from behind the crates, slow as a turtle.  Eventually, he makes eye contact with the two bad guys, at which point he spits off his mustache and runs off.  Just like a gecko losing its tail!  They'll get around to that Geico commercial soon enough.  The mastermind's flunkie grabs the mustache in mid-air and says "I got him!"  That's precisely why he's not the mastermind.
Next scene: a big stack of crates.  The mastermind's on Stage Right, and the flunkie on Stage Left, and they're headed on a collision course for each other; they just don't know it yet... aw, dang.  I thought they were going to run into each other!  Shemp makes his move, and bashes the flunkie on the head with what looks like a giant incandescent bulb, which breaks into several tens of small pieces.  Shemp runs around the stack of crates and gets MacDonald in the head with a breakaway pitcher.  Maybe he is greased lightning after all!
Back to Nell, still passed out on the bed.  The incidental music is that violin number they always use in cartoons.  Somebody else look that one up, huh?  ...Frühlingslied!  That's it!  Never mind.  Nell comes to and gets up off the bed.  Enter the second bad guy.  Nell runs towards the safety of the table again.  Back to Elmer riding on his horse.  Back to Nell struggling with the second bad guy.  She must be about to throw another punch, as she says "I'm just a poor, defenseless woman!"  She decks the bad guy, but he just passes out on the floor.  Nell starts to faint, but has to walk over to the bed to do it.  If you're going to do something, you might as well do it right.  Lol.
Back to the Stooges in the warehouse.  Larry's got a club as big as a caveman's.  The bad guys try to sneak up on him in vain.  Larry raises his mighty club and, as usually happens, Moe becomes collateral damage.  But at least Larry smashes the right head next.  One out of two ain't bad, as someone says!  Larry makes the mistake of trying to see if Moe's all right.  The mastermind strikes, and grabs Larry by his arms.  The bad guy comes to and grabs a dazed Moe.  Better go back to Elmer, riding.  How far away is this guy, anyway?
Back to the bad guys.  One of the bad guys is returning to inform the mastermind that the safe is open.  "Good!  Let's go!" says the mastermind.  But first... the bad guys see Shemp sneaking around like a sneakthief.  Might as well tie up all the loose ends.  Shemp's just about to fall into the bad guys' hands when... "SHEMP!  LOOK OUT!" cries Larry and maybe Moe.  Shemp throws an obstacle into the bad guys' way and takes off running.  Next scene: man, if that's as fast as Shemp can run he's fu... finished.  Shemp ends up hiding in the safe.  I thought the safe was on the second floor!  Sheesh.  Forgot to check my brain at the door.  Next scene: the bad guys can't find Shemp, so it's time to empty the safe.  Ironic, dontcha think?  (Sorry, can't link to anything Alanis Morrisette-related.  It's a rule I have, but it's served me well in life.)  "I thought you said you opened this safe!" says the mastermind.  "I did," says the safecracker.  Shemp's within, doing everything he can to keep the safe from being opened.  Screenwriters... ah, you get the idea.  Shemp appears to be grasping a handle that isn't there.  "Never mind, I know the combination," says the safecracker, and he gets to work opening the safe anew.  Shemp watches in horror as the thing... see, there's a part of the locking mechanism on the inside of the safe door, and it starts to turn.  When it stops, Shemp starts turning it himself.  To the bad guys' horror, the dial starts to turn by a force all its own.  In a good bit of acting, the safecracker guy slowly, hesitantly gets a hold of the dial again and starts to turn it.  He stops, satisfied that the lock is back to normal... MORE HORROR!  The dial starts turning again!  Shemp tries to laugh quietly to himself.  Lol.
The mastermind grabs a hold of the dial and tries turning it himself.  When he stops, Shemp gives the lock a good hard spin for good measure, as though he's made it to the final round on The Price is Right.  The mastermind puts two and two together, and says "We'll blast!"  Diabolical.  That is, unless the plot intervenes.  The safecracker gets a drill and starts to go to work.  Meanwhile, there's a commotion in the other part of the room.  The bad guys come out with Moe and Larry tied up.  MacDonald goes over to deal with them personally.  Meanwhile, back to the horse... this time, the horse has no rider, and the words "He fell off again!" appear on the screen.  Goodbye, Fourth Wall, it's been good to know you.  Back to Nell, languishing upon the bed in her room, the Spring Song rebooting anew.  She gets up and looks at the bad guy passed out on the floor.  The broken window was traumatic enough, now this!  The next bad guy enters the room.  This time, Nell swings and knocks him out right away.  Lol.  I dare say she's about to steal the movie!  To mix things up a bit, she goes over and faints on the loveseat... and knocks her head on the wooden back of the loveseat.  She just earned some damn Stooge credentials on that one.  Wonder if that was scripted, or did the sound effects men have to put in some unscheduled overtime out of the love of their craft.  And now... back to the safe.  The hole has been drilled and the mastermind comes over to supervise.  Cut to Moe and Larry, struggling away with their pitiful lot in life: tied up with ropes.  Back to the safe.  The dynamite is lit and inserted into the safe.  Cut to Shemp.  "Hmm!  Fourth of July's early this year," he'll probably say... close.  "A sparkler!" he says.  That helps him to realize what it is.  "Oh, no!  No!  No!.." he bellows as he pushes the dynamite back out.  And so, the tug of war begins.  The mastermind pushes the dynamite back in, and covers the hole with his hand.  Shemp pushes the dynamite back out, fuse first.  The mastermind moves his hand in pain, and... KABOOM.  Who's the mastermind now, bitches?  Post-explosion, the camera slowly pans down to show two empty pairs of shoes and/or boots.  But where did they go?  Some questions were not meant to be answered; at least, not right away.
Next scene: the Red Dog Saloon is in shambles.  Look at that bannister!  Well, it was never designed to be a bank, anyway.  Small price to pay for beauty!  Dazed from the massive explosion, Shemp emerges from the safe.  He's still much better off than the mastermind and the safecracker.  Just to teach him a lesson, God smites Shemp on the head with a bunch of white powder.  God is one cruel bastard.  In a way, he's like that creepy kid in school who's got a bunch of headless Barbie dolls in the basement, and if you show the least bit of curiosity, he'll point to the neck and say "This is where I cut 'em off myself with my dad's hacksaw!  Nice and slow so they'll know true suffering.  My suffering."  ...where was I?  Oh, right.  Next scene: no, the mastermind and the safecracker are all right.  They're just under some chairs and broken pieces of stove.  Or pieces of a broken stove?  This part is normally cut out when broadcast on TV because MacDonald appears to be in blackface.  So racist.  Dazed, Shemp finds himself standing next to a tied up Larry and Moe.  Shemp asks them an innocent question, and Moe tries to bite his face off!  What's that all about?  Tough brotherly love, I guess.  Evidently, Moe and Larry don't like being tied up like that, so they politely ask Shemp if he would be so kind as to undo the knots in the rope.
At that very moment, Elmer makes an entrance worthy of Westworld, for example.  I should watch that one again!  I want to wonder what I ever saw in it as a kid.  Elmer draws both his guns and takes long strides up to the Stooges.  "Whar's Nell?" he drawls.  "In tharr," says Shemp.  Smart-ass.  Back to Nell, who's just recovered from her latest fainting spell.  And through the door comes Elmer.  She's not going to... yes, she is.  And boy!  Was Elmer ever ready to fly backwards!  Is this his last Stooge film ever?  Is he doomed to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair?  ...according to the IMDb, no.  Apparently he was okay, but he should really stop doing Stooge films.  They're not good for his health.  Probably not my health, either, for that matter!  Nell doesn't faint this time.  This time, she cries "Oh no!"  Back to the Stooges, busy tying up that garbage known as the bad guys.  The tying job's not terribly organized, and Moe finds himself getting roped into it by Larry, so to speak.

EPILOGUE

Next scene: Elmer and Nell come upon the Stooges tying up the bad guys.  They don't help, of course.  No, there's only 40 seconds or so left, so other plot threads must be focused upon.  Glorious in victory, Nell tells Elmer that they can now get married!  Elmer gets cold feet, more or less.  Hard to tell, as he's kind of a dim bulb.  "Now wait a minute, Nell!  Us Westerners ain't the marrying kind!" he tells Nell.  He puts his hand up, but doesn't tell her to "talk to the hand," thankfully.  That would be too unkind.  Elmer looks up and off to a mysterious vantage point that only he can see, and continues: "We just go riding off into the sunset."  But this is a Stooge film, so they'll have to do the sunset equivalent within the confines of their borrowed set.  Elmer strums the guitar once, and starts slowly marching away, parallel to the bar, singing "O Give me a Home..."  Soon after, however, he gets hit in the back of the head with something.  He does a forward flip and lands on his back a second time.  Damn, he's good.  Now, we may never know who threw that mystery breakaway porcelain object.  There's certainly at least four suspects that we know of.  But all we really need to know is that love conquers all.  Elmer emerges from his slightly dazed state, shakes his head, looks over at Nell and says "Nell honey!"  Nell runs over to comfort and cradle her little Elmer-boo.  Larry puts his hands to his hips, and I couldn't agree more.  Elmer and Nell get the last shot of the pic.  This is the best Stooge short that the Stooges had a small cameo in.

****
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan