Saturday, November 30, 2013

Short Reviews - November 2013

A Month By The Lake - What do you expect from the director of "Next of Kin" and "Raw Deal"?

The Chinese Connection - For those of you expecting The French Connection, but with Bruce Lee, you'll be disappointed.  For those of you wanting to see an Adam Sandler movie, but with Bruce Lee... you'll find many similarities indeed!

Cops and Robbersons - Damn, but Hollywood is cruel.  You're telling me that screenwriter Bernie Somers doesn't get a second chance?  I mean, he worked with Chevy Chase, for God's sake!

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - On YouTube?  FOR FREE?!!!!!!!

Groundhog Day - On YouTube?  FOR FREE?!!!!!!!

Bicentennial Man - 460,000 hits?  Wow!  I thought it'd have a lot less.

The Talented Mr. Ripley - Kinduva depressing Italian vacation, but it does feature the following song... Hmm!  That's odd.  How can that have more hits than this?

Action Jackson - Time to see if THAT has made it to YouTube... well!  For this, you gotta PAY for the privilege!  And yet, I can't help but wonder why this was never sequel-ized.  Some might say because there wasn't enough action in Action Jackson... or maybe too much.  The filmmakers were burned out from the first one, and a second would positively kill them.  But it was probably racism.  The Man just couldn't handle a black man in a movie, let alone an action black man.

Lone Wolf McQuade - Close enough.  Woe be to he who buries a man alive in his own truck.

The Hitman - You know, when Chuck Norris watches YouTube, YouTube always flinches just a little bit.

The Evil that Men Do - This should not be on YouTube for anyone to just watch.  I mean, first of all, the Tri-Star logo without the music?  Sacrilege!

Borderline - Feels like I'm going to lose my mind

What Dreams May Come - Oil paintings as a means to communicate with the dead!  Great premise!  Someday a film will come along that does the idea justice...

Nowhere to Run - I laugh at your trivia page.  I want the real dirt here!  How much did Joe Eszterhas get for this?  ...nothing on Wikipedia?

Cabaret - So who do you think will be Sally Bowles in the remake?  Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift?  I think the smart money's on Miley for the time being.  Fosse's all about the twerk!

Nymphomaniac - Movie SATs: Udo Kier is to Lars von Trier what Dick Miller is to Joe Dante.

"Goof Troop" - His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.  His name is Robert Paulsen.

Fight Club - How can a movie have not one single memorable line?  Sheesh!

Flight - Well, Zemeckis sure used that R rating, all right!!  Good Lourdes.

Saving Mr. Banks - I thought I saw that right.  So now it's... Walter Hill - Wild Bill.  Richard Gere - Primal Fear.  And this just in: Tom Hanks - Saving Mr. Banks.

Rick's Canoe - No, it's Ricky's paddle from The Seven Year Itch.  Get it right!!

....oh, this is bad.  IMDb's down?  Time for them to hold a Wikipedia-esque and Firefox-ish fundraiser, I guess!  I in particular, me gots to have my IMDb RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Going Berserk - With Kurtwood Smith as Clarence

RoboCop (1987) - With Kurtwood Smith as Clarence

Philomena - Do doooooo da do do.....

The Lone Ranger (2013) - The spirits don't see a sequel, kemosabe!

Step Up: All In - For those of you out of the loop... like I was two minutes ago... this is the fifth movie in the Step Up series.  Well, they're not as labor intensive or time intensive as, say, the 7 Up series.

Melvin and Howard - Mary Steenburgen naked!!!  Who needs Mr. Skin?

Man on the Moon - It's probably the late hour in my mom's basement talking, but I'm suddenly reminded of David Letterman's reluctance to reprise his part in the story of Andy Kaufman where, after Kaufman swore up a blue streak on late night in the early 80s, Letterman quipped "Well, I guess you can say SOME of those words on the air!  Hee hee hee..."  I then remembered this one time on his CBS show when he took over a Taco Bell for a day.  Dave pissed off a customer so badly that she drove away.  Dave was still talking when the next customer drove up: a "big guy", as Letterman might describe him, who said "She's gone already, Chief!"  Ever the showman, Letterman raised the curtain on the Ed Sullivan stage, and on the stage was the car of the guy who said "She's gone already, Chief!", with the same guy in the car.  He reprised his line on stage for all to enjoy.  Now you know how it feels, Dave!
p.s. Of course, Dave's probably thinking, "Well, I was directed by Milos Forman.  You owe me a damn Oscar and a million damn dollars, Hollywood!"  After all, that is how it works, isn't it?

Send Me No Flowers - GREAT double bill with: what else?  Lover Come Back.

Messenger of Death - With Bert Williams as Old Jon Voight

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Next Stooge: Head in a Bucket

Well, as any hardcore Stooge fan will tell you, Goof on the Roof is of course the perfect Stooge film.  No fancy plot!  No Charley Chase-ish pretentious attempts at greatness!  Just the fundamentals.  Just three idiots perfecting their union... of idiocy.  And just as Laurel and Hardy often battled against imperfect cars, the Stooges find themselves in a regular, modern day domestic situation, doing battle with a television and the job of cleaning house before their master gets back.  No Western.  No space adventure with Joe Besser.  Just fundamentals.  Which I think is why I'm giving this one the full treatment this time, just like I used to.  Also because it's Thanksgiving weekend and I've got a little extra time to indulge.  So let's carve this turkey of a Stooge short up!


Speaking of Stooge fundamentals, we fade in on... what else?  The three of them snoring away!  Will there be an optical illusion involved?  Of course!  With Shemp's snoring, he seems to be prepping us for the Fake Shemp to come... or maybe I'm reading too much into it.  Suddenly... Pavlov's Bells disturb the scene, and Moe practically leaps out of bed to answer the phone.  A double tap to their bellies and Moe has woken up the other two lunkheads... oh, Darius69789, I'm slightly disappointed.  Sure, we get to watch Goof for free, but the sound's not perfectly synced to the action!  This isn't a video game being played on a PC, after all!  This is a god damned Stooge short, for Gawd'z zake!  There are standards!  Anyway, back to the action.  Spoiler alert: it was the doorbell, not the phone.  For some reason, the Stooges are wearing Playboy-inspired jammies.  Their white jammies have a black rabbit on them.  What's the deal?  Moe crawls out of bed past the other two to go and answer the door.  We stay on Larry and Shemp, probably for expediency's sake.  This was a short with no old footage spliced in, but it's not like they're going to do a whole 'nuther camera setup!  Puh-leeze.  Larry strikes a match off of Shemp's neck, and he ends up burning his face rather than lighting his cigar.  Wotta (non-roof based) goof.  Moe comes back with a telegram from "Bill."  The Bill in question is played by an actor named Frank Mitchell.  Kind of a big deal in his own right, but this is the only Stooge film he ever did.  And so, as decreed by the ancient Stooge formula handed down to us from the Immortals on high, even if it is just in the clouds, Bill is the master to the Stooge's proverbial 47 Ronin.  Unfortunately, it is also a Time of Transition in this relationship.  Bill has sent the Stooges a telegram with two vital bullet points: 1) Bill has just gotten married, and he wants the Stooges to move.  They have to go, and they can't stay there.  Somehow I sense a reverse version of Laurel and Hardy's Helpmates in the offing.  The other bit of news is that a new TV set is coming, and the Stooges are to pay the men who will install the antenna, on the promise that Bill will reimburse them later.  Somehow I sense a variation on Laurel and Hardy's Hog Wild in the offing.  Larry helps kick that plot thread off by suggesting that the Stooges put up the antenna themselves, thereby saving some money in the process.  Ah, celluloid comedians and their DIY economic incentives.  Will they ever learn?  Larry's motives are golden, however.  The money left over will be used for a wedding present!  And so, off to work they go.  Are they wearing regular clothes under their jammies?  Check!  Will they hit themselves in the face in the process?  ...un-check!  What's going on here, anyway?
Next scene: cross-fade to Shemp mopping the floor.  This is probably where Act Two starts for all in tents on porpoises, but I'll still wait for the usual five minute mark.  And so, the Stooges begin their epic battle royale with another killer house.  The half door is always a good sign that things aren't going to go smoothly.  I don't know which comedian first glommed on to this evolution of the inside door... probably Buster Keaton... but it's been a gold mine ever since.  Why, didn't they have that in Funny Farm?  Anyway, I think it's time to keep another score now: Door vs. Stooges.  Who will win?  Place bets now, place bets...
And they're off.  Moe opens the lower door, hitting Shemp in the ass.  Shemp lurches forward and gets his head dunked into the bucket of water.  Door: 1, Stooges: 0.  Hang on... better make that Lower Door: 1, Stooges: 0.  Shemp's hair is a little more stylish now, but he's still a little pissed off.  Shemp politely asks Moe if Moe wouldn't mind being just a bit more careful.  Moe gruffly states that he'll pitch in with the domestic duties once he finishes his jelly sandwich... now, why do I get the feeling that the jelly sandwich is doomed?  Just a thought.  Reminds me of Jim Carrey's big scene in Pink Cadillac, where Bernadette Peters says "The Elvis impersonator's giving me the creeps"... something like that.  Please don't make me go hunt that down.  The point is, it was so not improvised.  It was an integral part of the script!  Much like Moe's jelly sandwich is here... okay, bad example.  I must be stalling for time.... well, that was quick!  And so, Moe's jelly sandwich has been obliterated, and Moe's head is now in the bucket.  See, Shemp?  Now that's how you stick your head in the bucket!  You keep it in there and you blow bubbles until the cavalry arrives.  That's how a pro like Moe does it, not a rank Bucket Head amateur like Shemp.  And furthermore, you don't extract your own head from the bucket like Shemp.  You have the other two try to take it off, thereby getting your chin caught on the bucket's handle... okay, maybe Moe had first dibs on it, kinda like Moe Syzlak had dibs on getting a face full of soot when he was in the Little Rascals.  Larry the non-scientist, in his semi-panic, in trying to find a reason the bucket won't come off Moe's head, posits the theory that the bucket water swelled Moe's head.  Another double tap to the stomachs and the other two stop trying to help Moe.  Moe's about to give Shemp another dose of the proverbial what-for, when he looks down at what's left of his jelly sandwich.  He stoops down, carefully scoops up his jelly sandwich and wrings it out.  Lol.  Well, sandwiches were never meant to be sponges.  Now, Moe's not much of an actor, but if you look closely enough, you might spot the precise moment when a fiendish new idea pops into his head.  I think it's right about here when it happens.  Everything eventually ends up where it belongs, and Moe's obliterated jelly sandwich ends up in Shemp's face.  Philosopher Shemp looks to the Immortals on high and asks "Why?"  He's almost as big of a wuss as Joe Besser!  Almost. 
(note to self... I don't think any of my readers will mind, but let's find out, what say?... Moe's answer to Shemp's "Why?" involves him saying "Do such and such, or you'll find out why and how!"  Tried searching for that today but couldn't find it, mostly because it wasn't in the post.  One of those things stuck in the craw of the mind that makes its way forward.  And what's the point of having a blog if not to make a note of such things?  Now let's see if the search feature can find it.......)
And, as decreed by God's divine plan, some of Moe's obliterated jelly sandwich makes its way from Shemp's face back to Moe's face.  Moe must've really loved that jelly sandwich, but when he set it free the way he did, I bet he didn't expect it would come back to him.  Shemp heads to the kitchen with renewed fervor, but the lower door slows him down a bit.  Lower Door: 2, Stooges: 0.
Moe finds Shemp on the floor.  Shemp tries to explain about the door, but Moe's not having any of it.  "What a nitwit!" says Moe.  Ooh!  Good line reading.  And so, Moe has to find out about the door the hard way.  Upper Door: 1, Stooges: 0.  Upper Door: 2, Stooges: 0.  Once Moe gathers his wits, Larry gets a taste of the door himself.  Upper Door: 3, Stooges: 0.
Meanwhile, Shemp's got a fresh bucket of water.  Moe tells Shemp to get to work, and that Moe has to get a new sandwich.  Shemp says "I hope you choke," but they had to re-dub it in later.  It was too soft for the microphones to pick up at first.  And then, just like Roger Rabbit, Shemp trips on the bar of soap... didn't Moe just do that?  Gee whiz!  Now, some of you might think that it's sloppy camera work, that we just see a guy's feet slip on a bar of soap, and then we hear a giant splash somewhere off camera.  And you'd be right, of course.  In showbiz, however, they call it a "stylistic choice."  Mostly among the directors.  Of course, we should just be thankful they were using a tripod for the camera at all.  Seems like everything's hand-held and jittery these days.  And so, as decreed by the Immortals above, Shemp ends up head first into the bucket again.  I still think Goof on the Roof is the wrong title for this, but cooler heads prevailed on that one.  Now, unlike Moe, Shemp's able to get the bucket off his head a little easier, but not without spilling the entire bucket onto himself, and then onto the floor.  Lol.  Bill's not going to like this footage!
Now, screenwriters take note.  This is what we call "optimistic concurrency"... no, wait, that's a database thing.  Never mind.  Nevertheless, concurrency is taking place.  Moe is now making Sahndwich #2, but the jelly's run out.  He has to switch to cheese.  Fortunately, he's already got a block of cheese right there, as it's the kind that doesn't need refrigeration, apparently.  Must be some kind of European cheese.  Hmm!  That block of cheese looks like... yup, you guessed it.  Shemp carelessly tosses the bar of soap he tripped on into the air.  Where it lands, he obviously does not care... but the screenwriters and special effects technicians do!  As decreed by the Immortals, the "cheese" is quickly replaced by the bar of soap.  More than a bit ironic that Shemp called the soap a "trouble maker"!  Well, as Bill Maher might say, soap is a lot like fire or cars.  They can be harmful, and be used for good.  With the Stooges, even the most benign thing is usually harmful.  And soon enough, chef Moe Fieri is at the cutting board, slicing up some soap to make himself a nice gourmet soap sangwich.


Now, if you like Larry at all, you might be asking yourself at this point, "Hey, where's Larry?"  Well, your prayers have been answered, because we see him doing some dusting, and he picks up a vase to dust behind it.  Meanwhile, Shemp heads back into the kitchen for another bucket of water.  He runs into the lower part of the door and injures himself.  Lower Door: 2, Stooges: 0.  In his anger, Shemp throws the bucket into the air, and where it lands he knows not where... but Lawrence does!  Right smack dab into the vase he was holding.  "Valuable antique," says Larry.  Oh, dude.  He's pissed.  I was going to say that the Keno brothers would probably point out that the vase is a worthless piece of sh... oe leather, but now is clearly not the time.  "You muttonhead!" says Larry as he hurls the duster at Shemp's head in anger.  Larry is the beta-Moe, no question about it.  In moments like this, Lawrence obviously doesn't know his own strength, and the results are... well, I'm reminded of that scene from Sons of the Desert when Ollie gets a bucket over his head.  I'll bet YouTube doesn't have that!........................ close enough.  Now, I hate to ruin the magic of the movies, but it looks like Larry's moving the feather part of the duster, and not actually pulling it out of Shemp's ear, I'm sorry.
Back to Moseph, hard at work on what he thinks is a cheese sandwich.  Slather on the mustard, and... dude!  He must've been hungry!  Look at those bites he's taking!  All I knows is he'd better be spewing bubbles in a couple minutes, or I'll be very bitterly disappointed.  "Heavenly," says Moe as he takes a swig of vinegar.  Lol.  Lord help us, I hope it's not actually gasoline, or he'll be spewing bubbles of fire.
Meanwhile, Larry's reprimanding Shemp, Moe-style.  Shemp gets so en-fluster-cated that... floop!  Over the Dutch door he goes.  Lower Door: 3, Stooges: 0.  Unfortunately, there's a lull in the plot, so Shemp takes it upon himself to... GASP!  Take care of the door?  Say it isn't so!  Shemp brings the two halves of the door together and shuts the lock, so now the door is whole once again.  I never thought I'd say this, but... final score: Upper Door: 3, Lower Door: 3, Stooges: 1?  Game changing.  Epic.  Iconic, even.
After Shemp has done what he sees as his duty, it's back into the kitchen for a new bucket of water to spill on the floor.  Meanwhile, Larry intercepts an important phone call.  The TV is on its way.  Larry is so excited by this news, that he crunches his finger with the phone when he hangs up.  Sometimes you just have to make your own fun.  The cat knows that.  Larry calls for Moe and Shemp and heads for the kitchen door.  He gives the door the gentlest of pushes and... yup.  Shemp's on the kitchen floor with a bucketful of water over his head.  Upper Door: 4, Lower Door: 4, Stooges: 1.  All is right with the universe.
Cross-fade to next scene: now, this is where Act Two really begins... probably.  The TV set has arrived, and the Stooges are putting it into place.  Now, the more intellectual amongst you out there will probably find this to be the perfect opportunity to reflect upon the ever-changing nature of technology, that the Stooges are grappling with this TV set as a last stand against progress, that it's really the cinema that's where it's at!  Vaudeville and the cinema, that's where the Stooges belong.  As it happens... while they're fighting with the TV at this juncture, they'll eventually conquer it once the technology and art of Kinescope replaying is perfected, and the Stooges will find their place as America's babysitter.  What better babysitter for America's kids than the eye-gouging, stomach-hitting, extremity-obliterating fun that is the Three Stooges?
But back to the instant case.  With the TV in place, Moe and Larry observe Shemp fiddling with the antenna, and join him in the fun.  Over to Reel Two!  And so, as the Immortals have decreed, Shemp hurts his extremity on what the mortals call a "tool", giving Shemp the perfect opportunity to explain about the ring he's wearing.  He takes the ring off for the sake of plot devices everywhere... I mean, for "safety."  Shemp pulls off his ring and it goes flying through the air... and where it lands, he will eventually care, for it lands inside the TV set.  You know, I think this gag was cribbed from Buster Keaton.  Well, the script is credited to Keaton collaborator and psychic character on The X-Files Clyde Bruckman.
And so, as decreed by the Gods and Monsters, Shemp's quest to dismantle the TV begins.  Meanwhile, what can Moe and Larry be destroying simult'ne-a-tously?  Larry heads off to the kitchen as decreed by Moe, but he steps on a knob for the television set and bends it.  How it got on the floor I'll never know.  Shemp apparently didn't do that.  I should point out here that ... well, chances are pretty damn good that Moe and Larry can see Shemp hard at work obliterating the television set.  I mean, a blind man could tell you that!  But first things first, as decreed by the plot.  I have a feeling Moe will bring the beat-down on Shemp's head soon enough.
Anyway, Larry tries to straighten out the knob by hitting it with a hammer... against the wall.  Another gag cribbed from Keaton, except that Larry didn't start out in silent pictures, so he gets to verbalize his angst.  Soon enough, as decreed by Keaton and Bruckman, the wall ends up with a giant hole, and the knob ends up inside the wall.  Larry tries to reach for it in vain.  Using logic, Lawrence deduces the following: "I either need a longer arm or a shorter wall."  Now, sure, he could go for some kind of grabbing tool that could allow him to reach for the knob inside the wall, but that would take time.  Time and money, of which the Stooges spent neither on their films.  The "shorter wall" idea prevails, and Larry gleefully takes up the task of making more holes in the wall.  Who wouldn't?  After all, it's Columbia's mess to clean up, not theirs!
Speaking of a mess to clean up, Shemp's nearly gutted the whole TV.  But first, a shot of Moe fiddling with the antenna.  Lol.  Now back to Shemp, who's finally got the cathode ray tube out of the TV.  Hey, this is kinda educational!  Not a lot of videos on YouTube of people dismantling old timey TV sets!... CURSES!  Proven wrong again.
Anyway, the moment of truth... Moe does a massive single take, then heads over to survey the damage.  I can't tell from this YouTube video with unsynced sound if it's Moe going "Why...." but I think it just might be.  Shemp's too engrossed in getting his Cracker Jack box ring back... that his goil won for him.  TV be damned!  They can always buy a new one, right?  RIGHT?...  Uninterested in Shemp's troubles, Moe starts to hit Shemp about the head, neck and shoulders with the cathode ray tube, but Shemp protests.  That's an actual cathode ray tube, not a foam rubber one!  Besides, as Shemp tells Moe, "That thing cost a hundred bucks!"  Moe sets down the cathode ray tube and says "Here's somethin' for free!" just before he hits Shemp about the head, neck and shoulders.  Oh, that Moe.  Never at a loss for words.  Alas, Shemp's high-larious noises are interrupted by Larry.  I'll just have to make a loop of that for myself, I guess!  Moe walks over to Larry and the giant hole in the wall, and gives Larry a good, swift kick right in the middle of his daily duties.  However... and this is a big however... Moe's wrath is focused NOT on the giant, jagged, head-sized hole in the wall, but that Larry was using a match as a source of light to look within it.  Moe promptly throws the lit match into the hole in the wall, then proceeds to give Larry the full Smokey the Bear Riot Act.  Larry tries to explain, but Ranger Moe is undeterred.  Larry smells smoke, and asks Moe if he's chewing tobacco.  That shuts Moe up!  At least, until he confirms Larry's suspicions.  "You DID set the joint on fire!" says Moe, then orders Larry to... yup, you guessed it, get a bucket of water.  And off Larry goes.
Shemp's attitude towards the fire's a little less serious.  "Oh, if we only had some marshmallows!  Go out and get some marshmallows," Shemp tells his brother Moe.  Gee, I wonder how that's going to go over?  Larry returns with the shallow bucket of water.  Gee, I wonder where the water's going to go?  Guess I should be a little less cynical... wow!  I think they did all that in one take!  They seem to do a frame blow-up when Larry's speaking, but kudos to the camerawork, especially the swiveling.  They swivel once, following Larry from the kitchen over to the fire, then swivel again as he goes back into the kitchen.  Moe's too stunned to retaliate, apparently.
Now, there's gotta be some way to make this situation more chaotic.  But how?  Will the filmmakers find a way?  Have faith, my friends, have faith... and stay thirsty.  Go tell it to the Spartans!  Time for some divine intervention, either from our father in heaven, or Mother Earth down here on... earth.  As Larry's busy refilling the bucket at the American indoor watering hole, the fire gets worse.  Moe dispatches Shemp to get the fire extinguisher in the kitchen.  Ever the ad-libber, Shemp gently points out that he's practically wearing a smoke blanket, saying "Wait til I find my way," then he works his way out of the billowing smoke.  Lol.  Shemp makes a mad dash for that Dutch door separating the kitchen from the living area and... yup, you guessed it.  WHAM-O!!!!  BORT!!!  NEWT!!!!!  Where did I leave off on the score again?  I gotta scroll up to do it?  Oh, man... there must be an easier way.  Mashable?  Pinterest?  Why am I insisting on staying stuck in the Blogger ghetto, anyway?  The score is now: Upper Door: 5, Lower Door: 5, Stooges: 1.  And then... Shemp has an existential moment... and for those of you who are heading for a dictionary and think only in films, a Being John Malkovich moment.  Shemp stumbles a bit, and eventually gets that kitchen door open, and sees a figure on the floor WITH A BUCKET ON HIS HEAD.  "Wait a minute!  Is that me?" asks Shemp.  Well, it was before mumblecore and all.  Larry removes the bucket from his head and yells "NO!  IT'S ME!!!!!"  Shemp takes the opportunity to boss Larry around, ordering him to get the garden hose.  Wait a minute... no more bucket?  This was the score I really should've been keeping track of.  Talk about a game changer!  I wrote it down someplace, but I don't have it in front of me, so it might as well not exist at all.  That's the short attention span of the Internet Age, folks.  Final score: Bucket: 5, Stooges: 0.  Moe and Shemp are tied, neck and neck so to speak, with two buckets on the head between them, making Larry the odds-off un-favourite, so to speak.  Kudos to the special FX technicians: how do they keep water in the bucket when it's upside down?  When people remove the buckets, there's a big splash!
Anyway, back to the action.  Larry busies himself with the garden hose, while Shemp gets the "fire extinguisher," a little hand-held number the size of a thermos with a little pump on it.  I guess the fire's not bad enough to call the Fire Department yet, so we should be thankful for that at least.  And now, it's time to waste some time as Moe does battle with the disagreeable fire extinguisher.  SPOILER ALERT: See, Moe can't get the fire extinguisher to squirt water on the fire.  It'll squirt water into his mouth, though!  After a couple iterations of that, Moe eventually decides to go with the flow... as in, the water flows into his mouth, then he spits it out on the fire... hmm!  I can't help but notice that the pump handle's always off camera whenever the water goes into Moe's mouth.  Movie magic!  Where would we be without it?  Off in the fields picking organic produce, no doubt!
Meanwhile, back to Larry, who's finally ready to debut the garden hose in the fight against the fire.  However, as you might notice, he's a little too eager, and not thinking safety, and you might notice where the problem is, even if you're not a professional fire fighter.  He's been running a lot in this one, and he's still running as he leaves the kitchen holding the end of the hose.  Can you guess what's going to happen?  That's right!  The hose is all tangled up!  Always make sure you properly unspool your garden hose, especially when fighting a fire.  Otherwise, this might happen to your stunt double... I mean, you.  Also, you might spray yourself in the face with water.  But if you're on camera, make sure to spray yourself for at least one to two seconds so the camera catches it.
Ah!  The hose unspools itself.  I guess the force of Larry's body falling to the floor untangled any knots in it.  Neat trick, but it's the exception rather than the rule.  Always practice hose unspooling safety, even if you have one of those weird hoses that uses penis tissue technology to magically grow and shrink.  Next scene: Larry's finally made it to the danger zone with the hose, and he's poised to be the hero.  But wait a second!  Shemp wants to be a hero, too!  Larry and Shemp fight over the hose.  Shemp gets sprayed in the face.  A lot.  Larry and Shemp keep fighting over control of the hose.  During this epic, semi-iconic, non-game-changing struggle, Moe gets sprayed in the face.  A lot more.  "HEYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" says Moe.  Hmm!  Is that maximum Moe rage?  Close enough.  Shemp ultimately gets the glory and puts out the fire with the hose, lucky guy.  All thanks to Moe's rage and Larry hooking up the hose and nearly killing himself getting it from the kitchen to the fire.  And what thanks does Shemp get?  Well, I hate to ruin it by describing it so verbosely, but needles to say, it ain't a Macy's Day parade, like for the WWII veterans.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  Clearly, Moe's not worried about what Bill's going to think about all the water damage to the floor.  Worse yet, Larry and not Moe gives Shemp the orders to go up onto the proverbial roof with the TV antenna!  It is indeed Shemp who's the titular goof going up onto the roof.  That's really the best title they could come up with?  If it were a Jerry Lewis pic, it'd probably have a better title like The Fella with the TV Antenna.


And so, with Shemp gone, and with him all the excitement, it's back to the previous chores.  Larry gets his hair pulled Ratatouille-style and gets back to work finding the TV knob, while Moe tries to put this television set back together again.  Shouldn't be too hard!  It's a lot like a radio, but with slightly different parts.  But it is a Stooge film, so someone's got to get slapped.  Moe ends up slapping himself while messing with a tangle of TV wires, but I prefer to think that the TV's literally slapping Moe around.  That's what Moe gets for showing the TV innards about as much respect putting them back in as Shemp did taking them out.  Concurrently, Larry's still going about finding the knob in the laziest manner possible, but credit where credit's due!  He does have to make an unprecedented second hole in the wall, so there's that.
Sorry, I skipped around a bit in my description.  After Moe fiddles with the TV innards, we're back to Larry, already at work on an unprecedented fifth hole in the wall.  He ends up also losing the head of the hammer inside the wall!  Lol.  I'm assuming that was an "ad lib," so to speak.  Larry ends up wailing on the wall with just the hammer's wooden handle.  Another ad lib, I'm assumpting.  Back to Moe, who puts the "champagne glass" back into the TV.  Back to Larry, who's finished making three giant holes in the wall at head's height.  Larry then reaches down into the hole at waist height to get the knob.  Lol.  Well, the three giant holes let enough light in to the inside of the wall... or air.  Or both.  So Moe, having finished his half-assed job of putting the TV back together, goes over to a triumphant Larry, who finally got the knob back.  Moe then notices the damage to the wall.  Larry looks like he was actually hurt by this particular reprimand.
At this point, Moe decides to switch places with Larry, so Larry goes over to clean up near the TV set, and Moe tries in vain to clean up the wall.  They don't have enough furniture to move in front of the holes, so it's time for Plan B.  And what is Plan B, you might ask?  Well, getting that electrical outlet back into sorta place, that's what!  Larry's got the right idea here: sing while you work if you can't whistle.  Do Curly proud, Larry!
And so... we see Moe screwing in the electrical outlet.  No.... He's not going to... yup, he is.  The driver of screws is not properly insulated, and in Moseph's haste and misuse of rotational energy, the screwdriver finds its way from the screw to be screwed in... right into the holes of the outlet, which are not to be screwed with.  And so, it's time for the proverbial electrical shock scene.  Thankfully, the kids don't emulate this one as much as the eye poking and Curly's noises.  It's slightly more funny than the power tools of that one, but not by much.
Larry's not much help, of course.  Well, Larry seems to know half of what to do.  Larry's obviously concerned, and he seems to know not to touch Moe, but he thinks that a regular fire is erupting, so he takes the nearest potted plant that hasn't fallen from the ceiling onto someone's head and throws the water onto the fire.  It neither helps nor hurts the fire, and Moe's still sizzling.  Time for Larry's Plan B: he gets a rope from the curtains, throws it around Moe's neck, and pulls Moe to safety... at least, until they hit their heads next to each other... I mean, together.  Sleight of head, let's call it.  Moe's in too much of a daze to retaliate.  Kinda sweet!
Time to switch over to the goof on the roof.  Shemp's busy installing the TV antenna... just, not in the way it's done professionally at all.  I'll bet the electrical engineers in the audience at the time got a chuckle out of that.  The Stooges' humor usually caters to a wider audience than that.  And so, like they say in everyone's favorite prison movie, The Shawshank Redemption, "Get busy living, get busy dying ... or get busy destroying your chimney."  Which one do you think Shemp picks?  And for those of you taking Philosophy 101, here's the next riddle: if you had to pick a Stooge to drop bricks on, which one would you pick?  I think James Lipton asked this one recently on Facebook.  Without missing a beat, it's gotta be Larry.  Something about that bald head, frizzy hair and wide eyes that provides the best contrast.  But Larry's no fool.  Sure, four bricks to the head is painful, but it's whacking the back of your head on that windowsill that's the most embarrassing of all.  I mean, how can you go out in public after that?  How can you show your face at the lodge meeting?  How?  It's a long road back, that's all I'm saying.
Now, Shemp's the insane one of the group, but even he knows you can't attach a TV antenna to a broken chimney!  "I better nail it to the roof," says Shemp, and off he goes to damage the roof... Geez!  What's wrong with me?  I haven't even badmouthed the bad painted background of trees and houses!  Anyway, Shemp "nails" the antenna to the Stooges' flat roof by treating the antenna itself as a giant nail.  A cloudburst of foam plaster rains down upon the heads of Lawrence and Moseph within.  "You imbecile!  Leave that alone and come down here!" yells Moe without missing a beat between sentences.  Moe gets what he wants... just in the worst possible way.


And so, with the TV finally destroyed beyond repair, we finally meet Bill and his plus-sized wife, if I may be descriptive about such things.  Alas, the sanctity of marriage gets its harshest test at this point: they'll have to change the vows to "In sickness and in health, til Stooges do you part."  For no sooner does the new bride get an eyeful of the wreck the Stooges made of their new home than she drops Bill from her burly arms and storms out.  "Ah, let her go, Bill!" says Larry.  "Then the four of us can live in peace and harmony!" offers Moe.  Alas, Bill's not too keen on the idea of this alternative lifestyle at the moment.  Who would be, frankly?  To quell his rage, Bill ends up shooting the Stooges in their asses with a single-barrel shotgun.  To make it more of a comedy injury, the Stooges each grab a pillow and duck behind a big couch, which is conveniently moved away from the wall!  Lol.  The pillows act as a proxy, losing their feathers in lieu of the Stooges losing flesh and blood.  Bill looks on in a mixture of anger and disbelief as the Stooges limp away on the floor, into the sunset, each with a patch of feathers on their ass.  The ending's a little weak, but apparently it was the best they could do.  A classic otherwise.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Three Adulks and an Infink

As any parent will tell you, they love their children, but those first few years of no sleep and listening to the constant crying were something they could've done without.  Olive's finding that out in I Like Babies and Infinks, our next Popeye short.  It's not even her kid, for Gawd'z zake!  Fortunately, Popeye's a few floors up, so she calls out to him for help.  Bluto's exactly one floor above Popeye, hears the conversation, and decides to beat Popeye to the proverbial punch.  Let the next pissing match begin!
No matter what the so-called "adults" do, God bless him, Swee'pea won't stop crying.  Now, Bluto's not exactly losing the fight, but at some point he does get pissed off at Popeye, and he decides to just start beating the crap out of Popeye.  You know, like always happens.  Like what's happened for the last fifty odd shorts or so, and will happen for the next couple hundred.  I hate to say it, but I am a sadist at heart, and I've been wondering which of these cartoons has the part where Bluto puts a flour-covered Popeye into the oven, saying "Oh, you're in the dough, eh?  Good, 'cause I might knead ya!"  This is the one!
Now I hate to spoil the ending... but this one's just good and not great, so here goes.  The action moves to the kitchen, and Bluto brings Swee'pea and his high chair in to the kitchen so he can see the action, apparently.  Bluto would make a terrible father.  Bluto's turned Popeye's head into a punching bag once again.  Fortunately, there's a can of spinach on the shelf next to Popeye's rapidly moving head.  Popeye reaches for the can of spinach... but ends up grabbing the can of onions right next to it.  You'll never guess what happens next... needless to say, I think we need a priest to check Swee'pea's scalp for three sixes.  Babies are miracles from God, but they're kinda cruel sometimes too!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Paris Barclay

Damn!  He's got a long résumé.  Mostly TV work, which was frowned upon until recently.  But I think he and I can agree that the 90s are his favourite decade, esp. 1996, with his foray onto the silver screen, which was called... hold on while I cut and paste it ... "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking your Juice in the Hood" And I thought one of the Wayans directed it!  No, apparently it wasn't an alpha project of theirs.  Keenen Ivory gets the good sh... stuff for himself, apparently.  But Paris, he's got range!  Comedy, drama, he's done it all.  And no matter how many times he's asked to do an episode or five of Meet the Browns or House of Payne or something, he just won't do it.  Too much pride... something like that.  But apparently, episodes of House of Payne direct themselves!  See?  No director!  That's unusual, isn't it?

Tis the Season for ... Five Golden Debuts!

Wow, even a grinch-nurd like me can't help but get caught up in the festivities.  Maybe I'm just full of turkey or something.  But it's true.  For now, we've got five debuts to cope with this weekend!  Sure, Catching Fire more or less clobbered the competition, but somehow it didn't completely crowd out the others.  Take Disney's Frozen at #2, fer instance.  Only eight million less than Hunger Games!  I guess Hunger Games will be out of the #1 spot by next week.  The other newbies are Homefront, and Oscar contenders such as The Book Thief and Philomena.  But what about Black Nativity?  Doesn't it deserve to get some Oscar respekt?  I mean, it's Langston freakin' Hughes, for Gawd'z zake!  No love for the icons of yester-generation?  Oh, which reminds me.  Now that I can no longer wax political on my Facebook page, I have to do it here.  But I watched with interest this one special edition of Hardball where it was a total Sideshow episode, rather than just at the halfway point, in which he dealt with some of the crazier Tea Party Republicans.  I've got a joke for Colbert, but he'll probably do it better than I ever could.  This one Tea Partier was winning an argument with Chris Matthews by saying "I didn't bring it up!  You brought it up!"  And I couldn't help but remember that Malcolm X once said something similar.  I think he said "We didn't land on Plymouth Rock!  Plymouth Rock landed on us... but I didn't bring it up.  You brought it up!"  You get the idea.  Yeah, I'm sure Colbert's crack staff of writers... I mean, Colbert himself, will put the better spin on it, if it's in his radar at all.  Probably not.  Besides!  He's still on vacation, right?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Fountain of Darwin, or Return to the Planet of the Moes

Well, you know, it's like Pauly Shore said in Bio-Dome... no, I can't quote it.  I just can't.  But as it turns out, the older you get, the more you get pushed around by things like bubbles, and the Stooges have proven that on more than a few occasions.
And seeing as how this is a remake of All Gummed Up... man, I must not have been in the mood.  As you can see from the official Wikipedia page of Bubble Trouble, it says "[c]ritics and fans alike ...

 have observed that this film has a significantly better plot structure than the original, All Gummed Up.

What the hell.  Might as well keep the font we cut and pasted.  First of all, hard to believe there's a lot of critics and fans caring about either of these two Stooge films.  Your average non-Stooge-phile probably won't wander too far from Micro-Phonies, if I had to guess.  And while I agree that the plot structure of Bubble Trouble is slightly better, because they swapped the places of the second and third acts, they both have endings that let down the audience!  You think they would've tried to rectify that in the remake, but time  must've run out and the budget must've ran dry.  And besides, from here on in the Stooges are phoning it in.  Two all-original shorts per year, and the rest are remakes.

See also: Bubble Trouble - you know, the video game from Ambrosia Software for the Macintosh!  Where a goldfish battles all kinds of sea creatures!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Spinach's Angels

Once again, fickle Olive breaks Popeye's heart.  He's like a lost puppy, bawling away, sitting there at the last known location where Olive once was, at Olive Oyl's Lunch Room.  The business is closed, and Olive has "teamed" up with pilot Bluto.  Bluto has Olive painting the plane's rudder in midair.  "You're no help at all!" bellows Bluto, as Olive keeps getting paint hurled at her face by the wind.
She quickly regrets her decision to leave Popeye, and does so out loud a couple times!  Bluto hears this and gets instantly upset, turning the plane around, and begins a campaign to knock Olive off of the plane.  Tis a cruel irony indeed, where once Olive tried knocking Bluto off the bridge in Bridge Ahoy!, now Bluto's trying to loose Olive's grip on the tail of the plane with the rudder she was just painting.  Meanwhile, on the ground, Popeye hears Olive's cries for help, and he springs into action, grabbing the nearest, most humble plane he can find, and taking to the air to save his goil.
Well, you gotta hand it to them.  I Never Changes My Altitude is a fast-paced affair!  And as always, there's a fight scene where Bluto and Popeye have to regroup, saying "Ub-ub-ub-ub-ub!" all the way back to their starting points.  This one's such a classic, that it's featured in a later cartoon: according to the IMDb, clips are featured in Doing Impossikible Stunts.  I hope I'm misspelling that correctly.  Welp, dinner time!  Can't be late for that!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Bryan Barber

The wunderkind behind Idlewild!  Niiiice.  I haven't seen it yet, but I'm sure it's a fine addition to the Moulin Rouge! section of the videostore.  Thankfully, he's not one of these auteurs that's afraid to make money or dabble in television.  His last project was a TV show called Beverly Hills Fabulous, which sounds like an oxymoron, of course.  Even the slums of Beverly Hills are fabulous!  Even their hillbillies are fabulous!  But I'm sure Barber's got a unique take on the subject.

But when it's Everdeen, Everdeen, it will last through the winter into next year...

Well, anyway, I'll be very surprised if Hunger Games 2 isn't #1 at the box office this weekend.  It's been too long since we've had a nice cleansing blockbuster to come in and teach the other nine how it's done.  And Jennifer Lawrence (J. Law) is just the gal to do it, too.  Personally, I think she's a bit overexposed right now, but whatever.  She's a bonafide movie star... and she knows it, too!  She's certainly acting the part all right.  Always better to be a somebody in Hollywood than a nobody in Louisville.
Meanwhile, the onslaught by the media of the 50th anniversary of JFK's assassination continues.  I guess I should've prepared better for it, because I'm already burned out.  Well, maybe a movie will take my mind off things.  Tonight we're going to watch... Parkland.  DAMN IT!!!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Larry-lo and Stitch

Okay, so it's a remake of Sing a Song of Six Pants, that Stooge film that slipped through the copyright cracks and landed into the public domain and on to every two-bit unofficial Stooge DVD.  But perhaps that's part of the genius of it.
And more credit where credit's due: they put some effort into improving the original!  Take the scene where Larry removes Terry Hargin's slacks.  In the original, there's no dialogue during that section.  Awkward!  But in Rip, Sew and Stitch, this has been rectified... big time.  "Just buy what we tell you!"  Priceless.
That being said, there seems to be a conspiracy to cut out the dame.  At 7:45 on the DVD... or rather, 0:23 on YouTube (God bless you, 69789Darius!  You died for our Stooge sins) ... they focus-fade to the scene where Moe finds the combination to a safe that Hargin's going to rob!  They also streamline Moe's thought processes so he figures out much faster that it is indeed the combination to a safe.  And so, flash forward six years, and the bags under the Stooges' eyes are a little bigger, but they're still sharp as tacks... or razor blades!  Shemp gets his finger bit anew, then gets his hair cut by a razor blade... in the next scene, anyway.  Well, that's what he gets for saying to Moe "I oughta razor blade you!"  Well, knives were big in the '50s for some reason.
Now, everyone complains about what a wuss Joe Besser was.  And yet Shemp gets away with saying "Never mind!" as Moe bashes him repeatedly on the noggin with a fist.  Of course, the whole scene's a bit unsettling, as Larry is usually the one who gets his hair ripped and cut.  Anyway, Moe orders the boys back to work as they wait for the return of Hargin.  Then he tosses the razor blade away, and it lands in the broom anew, and they've stitched Six Pants back together again after their little diversion.
There's a few more edits I have trouble with.  They cut out the part where one of the bad guys is tickling Moe.  More precisely, it's the guy who turns and looks!  Cy Schindell!  He'll live forever through the miracle of remakes.  So that part's now gone, and they also changed the part where Detective Vernon Dent says that he gets the reward for Hargin, but he graciously gives the Stooges some tickets to the Policemen's Ball.  In the instant case, Shemp cries tears of joy that they'll be able to pay off their debts, then finds another wad of bills in Hargin's coat pocket.  Oh and they needed to explain how Hargin gets his suit back, so they have a guy covering up his face as he steals Hargin's clothes back.  An old Ed Wood trick!  That part's okay.
And so, using my superior mathematical skills, there seems to be 4 minutes and 2 seconds of new footage, divided by 16 minutes and 41 seconds of film... there's 24% new footage in this remake.  A classic of a classic.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Swee'pea's Day Out

And once again, the Fleischers gleefully put a child into harm's way.  And why?  Because it's animated!  Duh!  It's not a real baby like in Baby's Day Out!  That would just be stupid and cruel.  Fortunately, the movie's another jewel in John Hughes' wide, wide crown... something like that.
But there's just something about all those big machines at the Useless Machine Works Company.  No one can resist the allure, not even young Swee'pea.  And really, the film imparts an important lesson for all parents everywhere.  And it's something to do with these damn kids and their impatience!  Always wanting to do the grown-up stuff, using the grown-up words and drinking the grown-up drinks.  Kids don't realize they have the whole rest of their boring, useless lives to engage in all that stuff.  To go from candy to the numerous flavors of syrup that get added to alcohol.  I mean, what a leap that is!  After all, they come in glass bottles, unlike candy which comes in plastic wrappers.
But as careful as Popeye usually is, the machines get the best of him here.  And as usual, it's Olive's fault.  Fortunately, the... and I should probably say SPOILER ALERT here... fortunately, the awesome power of spinach also woiks on babies and infinks, and Swee'pea gets his chance... her chance?... its chance to have the power of a grown-up, and to the delight of Luddites everywhere, smashes the machine that's about to smash both Popeye and Olive.  Swee'pea triumphantly carries Popeye and Olive out of that hellish nightmare factory and sings the closing theme usually reserved for Popeye... hmm!  Swee'pea sounds a bit like Olive!  Ug ug ug ug...

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Mark Banning

Dang.  Don't have the list in front of me.  Wonder if I should start taking it to work with me?  Or, better yet... recreate it at work!  Wow... I just blew my mind.
Anyway... Mark Banning?  Seriously?  What is this, a Marvel comic?  Look forward to your 2019 project!!!

Thanksgiving Twerk-y

Pathetic.  Sorry, I'm blatantly trying to get the web crawlers to pick up on another catchy headline, and if I wait another week I'll forget to use this one.  Besides!  There's that Free Birds movie hovering at #4.  That's sort of holiday themed, right?  Man, what I wouldn't give for some shares in Tofurky right now.  Or at the very least, some of their Italian Sausage.  I used to eat that a lot, with Spaghetti-Os.  And I wasn't even on the set of Raiders or anything!  Kinda sad.  Meanwhile, 12 Years a Slave seems to have hit a glass ceiling at #7, and it's currently at #8.  Why, it's as though... nah, I'm not that good.  See, I was looking over Wikipedia's definition of the word "slavery."  Somehow it took me out of the mood...
...okay, I'm back!  I got the perfect angle now.  Anyway, while 12 Years a Slave is out in the fields (AKA below #5 at the Box Office), The Best Man Holiday is the proverbial House n.... never mind.  It's #2 at the box office just behind the crazy white people known as Thor 2.  Take that, Tyler Perry!  Did I mention that it's a sequel to the 1999 sleeper hit?  I mean, quasi-indie sensation?
Also, Last Vegas is still hanging in there.  God bless all the new grumpy old men!  Quite a few of them now.  The marketplace is practically clogged, in fact.  In the third act of Lemmon's and Matthau's joint careers, it was pretty much just them.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Cordial & Lacquer

This is another one of those that I could review in my sleep, and these days I might have to!  No time for anything anymore.  Ah, the life of a non-celebrity.  Anyway, Pardon my Backfire is the second and last Stooge flick in 3D.  And it works pretty good, too!  Take that, Avatar!  If you're a Stooge fan like me, you gotta get the 2 disc set with Backfire, because it comes with the old-timey 3D glasses, and I'll be damned if it doesn't look like Moe's going to poke you in the eyes.  Feel Larry's pain!
Now that I give it some serious consideration, the other 3D short was Spooks! which was about the Stooges investigating a haunted house.  Pardon my Backfire takes place at a garage that's not exactly haunted, but horror soon arrives in a trio of criminals on the loose.  As it happens, there's a big fat cash reward for their capture, so God bless the criminals and the bounties upon their heads!  The Stooges can take that money and finally wed those three sappy girls that are young enough to be their daughters.  How does that work, incidentally?  The comedians get older and older, but the on-screen girls who love them stay the same age?
This Stooge short is also memorable because a car horn literally honks for about three minutes straight.  As for if it's good memorable or bad memorable, I'm still on the fence, but some of my lifelong viewing companions think the latter.  Here's an aspect that I'm not on the fence about, however.  SPOILER ALERT: the Stooges triumph over the bad guys.  Okay, that's not a big surprise, but I never found the pain of the lead criminal Benny Rubin that comical.  I mean, his ass is burning up, he gets a face full of lacquer, and then he gets hit on the head with a giant wrench.  After the hit on the head, his cries of pain are replaced by moans.  The other criminals get much more merciful treatment in comparison.
Despite all that, Backfire is still a go-to classic.  I mean, the next time we happen to find ourselves watching Stooge films on DVD from the TV, this one will probably get picked.  I and my viewing companions aren't terribly adventurous when it comes to Stooge films.
p.s. Boy!  Larry's really turning into a psycho when it comes to dealing with Shemp!  First he crushes Shemp's arguably cartilage-less nose against his bald head, and here he chucks a screwdriver at Shemp's head!  What is he, Bernard Goetz?

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

The Spinach Diggers of 1937

Well, they can't ALL be about extraordinary circumstances!  Popeye and Olive have been full-fledged celebrities for a while now, but now it's time to reach beyond their borders.  And just as Garth Brooks became Chris Gaines, and Stephen King became Michele Bachmann... Popeye is now Popito and Olive now Olivita.  You know, to win back the Spanish and or Mexican demographic after the damage caused by Blow Me Down!  
The dancing duo has posters all over town advertising their show times.  The posters are a big hit... but not with everybody.  And by everybody, I mean Bluto.  Bluto has this bad habit of punching poster Popito in the face!  We follow him around a while as he goes from poster to poster.  One in particular stands apart from the rest... is it wrong of me to like that?  Most likely.  Bluto makes his way to Wimpy's Café to wait for Olive in person.  Olive and ... I'm sorry, Popito and Olivita... so confusing... arrive in a town car with their noses held high.  Primadonnas!  As Olivita makes her way to the backstage entrance, Bluto rudely grabs her and asks her out for a date.  Olivita strongly refuses and slams the door on Bluto's face.  Bluto punches another Popito poster... but this time a goat sticks its head out and bleats at Bluto!  Is it just me or does the goat sound a bit like Popeye?

ACT TWO - ...just once for old time's sake.  When Wimpy's the MC, especially at his own giant café, there will be consumption of hamboigahs.  This time, he's got a stack of them under his top hat, with a little stove and everything!  Lol.  Olive comes out and does a song.  I'm reminded of the opening number from Death Becomes Her.  Similar vibe.  Bluto boos and gets a radiator to join him in the hissing.  But Olivita's a pro, and she realizes that it's just Bluto doing the booing... nope, she's still shook up!  Time for the falling part of the rise and fall.  And then, it's time for the big dance number.  Bluto sabotages it with ice cubes from his table.  When Popeye grows wise, Bluto has to step up his game.  Bluto risks his manly image by joining Popito on stage in dance!  But as Stephen Colbert might observe, it's not gay because Bluto's only doing it to punch Popito in the face.  Time for all that practice on the posters to pay off.
Not for long, though.  Even though Bluto wins the fight and Popito's nearly unconscious, Olivita brings on the sacred can of spinach.  The spinach works its magic based on the situation at hand, and soon Popito's dancing up a spinach-induced fury... Russian style!  Well, what's the point in offending only one ethnic group?
As I said earlier, this one's more of a regular day in the life of Popeye (also, no 3D background!), but it tries to generate the usual agenda of excitement.  When Popeye and Olive... sorry, when Popito and Olivita get the best of Bluto, they have him in chains pulling a rowboat as he gets whipped, thereby tilling the soil for the finale of Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, soon to come.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Biyi Bandele

Okay, so Bandele's only got one film so far, but look at the cast!  Chiwetel Ejiofor!  Need I say more?  I think not.  But there's Thandie Newton as well.  What more do you need?  I don't recognize any of the other names, anyhow.  Will Biyi Bandele take the American market by storm?  Not without a giant press blitz they're not!  Get cracking on it.

Bring the one the Mortals call Jane Foster BACK TO ME!!!!!!

Let's see what she has to say now about her beloved mortal flesh!  Seriously, though, why the Gods care about the box office this week or any week at all is beyond me.  But their adventures seem to do the trick, especially when presented by Marvel.  DC Comics just doesn't have that populist touch anymore since they got out of the Batman business.  Meanwhile, the other debut this week is the latest from Richard Curtis.  It's about time travel and it's called About Time.  Well, when time travel's involved, he doesn't have to worry about getting the soundtrack right, not like with Pirate Radio.