Friday, June 26, 2015

The Fly in the Inkwell

Hey, boy Koko is back in our next Fleischer short, The Tantalizing Fly!  Love these things.  Full of life and ingenuity.  Of course, even Max and Koko get tired of the same old same old, so it's time to add a new wrinkle to this Herbrand Universe that they call their own.  And so, Max is under siege by a stray fly in the studio.  This is why Walt Disney survived over the long haul.  I mean, that dude was from the country, and he didn't take no crap from no fly buzzing round his studio, now did he?  Probably not.  A happy animator is an undistracted animator.
And so, we start with a slight variation on the ubiquitous drawing hand of these early animated cartoons.  The hand usually draws that first big background uninterrupted, but Max finally opens our eyes to the fact that, hey!  These things don't live in a vacuum!  They're exposed to the elements just like everything else.  Now, if I were a more responsible film critic, I'd take this opportunity to advocate for film preservation but... ah, hell with it.  With all the problems in the world right now, we're lucky to have film at all.  Once the sea rises ten feet, most of us are screwed.
Oh, I almost forgot.  To be slightly critical, the title cards at the beginning of this film look like the old timey video still frames.  Oh well.  If it's that way on the DVD, then I'm assuming they did the best they could.  Anyway, as you see from the attached jpeg file, the fly's interest in the Koko that Max is drawing crosses the line between annoying and destruction of property.  The fly leaves some footprints behind after stepping in Koko, and Max has to get a special ink eraser to undo the damage... hmm!  That's either a really powerful eraser, or really weak ink. 
And so, Koko is finished and ready to do battle with the fly in complete form.  Koko keeps taking swings at the annoying little pest, but to no avail.  After a while of this, Max decides to intervene on behalf of Koko.  Alas, the best he can do is go to the next room and get himself a fly swatter.  I didn't think of it at first, but the Stooges sure got a lot of mileage out of this scenario.  See, the fly lands on Koko's face, and Max goes THWAP!  Koko blacks out, but quickly regains consciousness, with stars and planets all about.  The only Stooge scenario that comes to mind right now is in Hold That Lion and its remake, the much zanier Loose Loot.  But turnabout is fair play, and Koko takes a swipe right back at Max when he swings Max's pen at the fly... sure, the consequences for Max aren't as devastating as they were for Koko, but still!  Max has to wipe ink off of his face.
Well, that's roughly Acts One and Two for you, so what to do for a finale?  Well, Koko gets the idea to "create" a "fly trap."  Koko takes Max's pen again, and Koko draws himself this sleeping bald dude in a chair.  Lol.  And sure enough... yup, the fly takes a keen, immediate interest in the bald dude's head, flying around it in small circles, then landing on top of it.  I want to take this opportunity to give the animators some credit, because when the fly sits still on the bald dude's head, it stays still when Koko starts to move around.  I guess they divided up the canvas into two halves for that: the left half for Koko, the right half for fly and man. 
Koko takes a swing at the fly and hits the bald dude on the head with Max's pen, thereby waking up the bald dude and angering him immensely in the process.  Koko's not having any of it, and he sucks up his creation right back into the pen from whence it came.  Dayamn!  Cold blooded.  Reminds me of that one Tom and Jerry cartoon...  Anyway, I guess they didn't know how to end it, because Koko tears himself a hole in the animation paper and dives through.  Max turns it around to find Koko just hanging there, and then Max dumps Koko into the inkwell.  That's gratitude for you.  But what about that fly?  Well, the fly takes an interest in the inkwell and climbs on top of it, and starts looking down into the inky abyss.  Reminds me of this scary dream I had a few nights ago where I was sliding along this walkway high above the ground, and I caught myself with a bar hanging over the side, thereby saving myself from dropping a hundred feet to my death.  Ah, dreams, my internal bully.  I guess they keep me from getting too complacent that way.  Anyway, so Max's hand slowly enters the picture, then it clamps down on the fly.  For some reason, I thought Koko reached up out of the inkwell and pulled the fly in.  I must've been thinking of Beetlejuice.  ...the Zagnut bar?  Anyone?

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - William Crain

Ah, iconic '70s TV.  Is there anything better?  You know, people forget that these shows had directors, too!  Sure, they weren't as celebrated as today's TV directors are... they are, aren't they?  But wow!  To be associated with Starsky and Hutch and The Mod Squad... the TV shows, not the botched movie versions... I know, the Starsky and Hutch movie was quite good.  I'd be very surprised if someone wants to come along and defend the Mod Squad movie.  Frankly, with the proliferation of all these online services, I'd be surprised if anyone responds to anything I write ever again.  Everyone's too busy with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest... Mumblr?  Tumblr.  That's it.  I don't want to leave a single billionaire out here.  I'll give LinkedIn an honorable mention, of course, but only because they make it easy to post your résumé... somewhere.  The online equivalent of the circular file.
But leave us curve this incessant scope creep at once.  Alas, when you're a TV director, you've got to be fast, you've got to compromise, but most of all... you've got to be fast.  I guess directing took its toll on William Crain.  He never took off like Richard Donner or Steven Spielberg, who both started in TV.  On the other hand, Crain can hold his head up high, unlike Rod Daniel or Brian Levant.  And even though Crain worked on the aforementioned future-iconic TV shows, he knew that this still wasn't enough.  How about some iconic films in the ol' résumé as well?  Well, how about 1972's iconic Blacula?  Iconic enough for you?  Oh, it's off the Tarantinometer in terms of iconicity.  However, Crain didn't believe in sequels, so Scream Blacula Scream was off the menu for him.  Incidentally, I don't like the implication of the title Scream Blacula Scream.  See, Blacula is supposed to be the one causing people to scream.  But that was the entrenched power of white America in the '70s for you.  White British Dracula was allowed to make dozens of movies, but black Dracula had to be killed off.  Figures.  Crain did however direct the icon-ish Dr. Black, Mr. Hyde.  Not funky enough to become a regularly referenced '70s icon, I guess. 
Of course, to become a true auteur, you have to have a film or two that film critics and historians can point to as their obscure film.  For the Coens, apparently it's The Hudsucker Proxy.  There was this one dude online who was saying that it's now his life's work to let people know that this film exist.  Well, whatever he did, it worked, because I still remember.  For David Fincher, it's 1997's The Game, which everyone sidesteps when mentioning Seven and Fight Club.  Understandably so.  For William Crain, there's a film on his C.V. called The Kid from Not-So-Big.  Here's the problem... where is it?  Maybe on YouTube, maybe.  But in a pinch, you can see Hudsucker and The Game.  How do you go about procuring a copy of The Kid from Not-So-Big?  I tried Scarecrow Video, and they don't have it.  Now, if Scarecrow doesn't have something, well... first of all, their database search must be getting a whole lot better.  It used to be that if you searched for a title like The Kid from Not-So-Big, you'd get about a thousand hits for "kid" and for "big"... you get the idea.  Now, it's like trying to find out something about Wesley Gibson!  Not going to happen!  Same goes for Lifetime Contract.  Weird.  I mean, you'd think that the Lifetime Network would be all over that.  Must be too old or something.  Now, Midnight Fear.  Scarecrow's got that!  Alas, Scarecrow's falling on hard times.  But they're keeping their chin up about it, getting a little boastful on their website.  I mean... really?  You're telling me that no one in L.A. or New York's got a bigger video collection than this upstart in Seattle?  Harumph!  I guess L.A.'s more focused on movie memorabilia rather than the movies themselves.
I was going to mention The Dukes of Hazzard, but... meh.  Unknown episodes?  How can this be?  All of a sudden, everyone wants to be a paid expert on the Dukes of Hazzard TV show?  Let's get this clarified, people!  I will say this about John Schneider.  Total method actor.  I think I saw him once on Bill Maher's show on ABC, and his big thing was protecting the U.S. flag from... whatever.  Oh, right, he wanted a Constitutional amendment to prevent people from burning the flag.  Well, he's true to the character, all right!  Wonder how he feels about the ol' Stars and Bars now!

Of Maxes, both Regular and Mad

Well, we're still a ways off from July 12th and... oh, right.  The next Terminator movie opens July 1.  Ooh look!  A school bus flips up into the air!  I know, I know, it's deadly serious.  Serious as a heart attack.  Think of the children, The Movie Hooligan!  Of course, I thought the baby carriage full of cans in Speed 1 was hokey as well, but that's the kind of guy I am.  As cynical as I wanna be.
And so, it's another happy day in the MacFarlane household as Ted 2 makes a healthy debut at #3 with 33 million.  Meanwhile, it's a happy day in the Yakin household as his latest, the canine adventure movie Max comes in at #4 with 12 million.  Quite a drop!  But that's how it goes, alas.  Boy, Boaz Yakin's had a strange career.  He hit it big with 1994's gritty urban drama, Fresh, and has pretty much stuck with the dreaded R rating his whole career.  Now comes this family-friendly PG-rated fare!  Must be desperate for a hit.  Well, he's got it.  As for co-screenwriter Sheldon Lettich, well, he needs a hit, too, and clearly he's tired of the kicking and punching of Jean-Claude Van Damme for whom he's written and directed some of his most icon-ish type roles.  Van Damme pushed his acting ability to the limit in Double Impact, facing off against his greatest nemesis... himself!  But that well ran dry about 1997 or so.
Boy, but that Van Damme's a head scratcher.  I was watching a little bit of the big fiery (literally!) finale of... whatever.  Hard Target, that's it.  I can't badmouth that too much because my man Sam Raimi was involved in it.  Still... I know Van Damme knows martial arts and all that, and he certainly looks like a strong guy, but he kept punching and punching and punching and kicking and kicking and kicking... LANCE HENRIKSEN.  Yeah!  Over and over and over again, and God bless him, Lance just wouldn't stay down!  Now I'm certainly not going to try and fight Van Damme... but I feel a little bit emboldened.  I mean, surely I can take punches as well as Henriksen can!
So that's about it for the box office in terms of debuts.  Jurassic World looks like it's on its way to making A BILLION DOLLARS in the U.S.  The last time I've seen numbers this stellar was The Dark Knight in 2008.  I mean, all the Avengers movies have done well, too, but... meh.  I mean, Jurassic has been #1 for 3 weeks, and it's already at half a billion!  I'm assuming these totals are U.S. only, but who knows.  Anyway, time for an Adam Sandler update, because I came across this smart-ass headline over my Yahoo! news headlines today.  Some wiseass wrote an article entitled "Why No One Likes Adam Sandler Anymore."  And, I'm all... wow.  I mean, it's bad enough that someone in the bubble has lost all their faith in Eddie Murphy.  That happened long ago for me, and I never even saw Meet Dave or A Thousand Words or Daddy Day Care.  I did see about five minutes of Tower Heist.  But not attacking Bill Cosby?  That was the final straw.  I say, the dude's being generous and giving Kenan Thompson more work.  And Kenan was FAT ALBERT, for God's sake!
The point being, Eddie Murphy has lost some diehard fans of his... but Adam Sandler?  Really?  NO ONE likes him?  I'm insulted.  I take offense at that suggestion.  And if it pleases the court, I submit ONE NAME of ONE PERSON who still likes Adam Sandler.  You can probably guess the name, but I'll type it in anyway... Nick Swardson.  That's right!  Bucky Larson himself!  Apparently the two met in 2006 and... 15 movies later, they're still working together, on The Ridiculous 6, among other things, being shot on crappy-looking digital video as we speak.  And even the hipster author of the article I mentioned earlier had to begrudgingly admit that Sandler's Pixels is coming out soon, and is probably going to be a hit.  In this instance, I choose to be a defeatist and say that it's only going to recoup cost... on the other hand, how good of friends could these two be if Swardson's not in Pixels as well?  How does that work exactly?  Did director Chris Columbus put his foot down?  Did Sandler have to pull Swardson aside and tell him to back off on this one, that this is an A-list-type project that he can't soil on?  I can only assume so.
I was going to submit for the court's approval a second name, the name of Rob Schneider, but Rob's probably unhappy with Sandler ever since Rob started starring in his own movies like The Animal and The Hot Chick and the Deuce Bigalow series.  Maybe Netflix can make that third Bigalow movie that... surely someone in addition to Rob would want to see made.  Maybe Kathryn Bigelow is available to direct!  Go all in, guys!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Shooter II: The Shoot-ening

Well, I'm overdue for an actual review of an actual feature-length film.  But since it's been a long time since I saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army, maybe I'll do one I saw more recently.  More specifically, one of the latest from Marky Mark called Lone Survivor.  Not my first choice for a night's viewing, but a friend of a friend swore that the scenes in that movie were superior to Saving Private Ryan... okay, but just the sniper scenes... okay, but it wasn't my opinion, mind you.
Now, I think I'm already on record about Peter Berg, but I'll reiterate.  To me, he's like if Ethan Hawke were a right-wing nutjob... and as far as I know, Ethan isn't.  Now, I know that Michael Mann thinks Berg is the bees' knees, and that he was so great in Collateral as the police chief who'd rather stay in bed, but I think most Hollywood insiders would tell you that it wasn't much of a stretch for him.  Arguably his best acting is as the put-upon protagonist in Shocker, but even that's a little... maybe it was The Last Seduction.  Anyway, as a director, I'm not that impressed, but I will concede that Lone Survivor is probably his master work thematically, because it at least shows that the price for being a frat boy Army sniper can be pretty high.
This is apparently the true story of Marcus Luttrell, a real life sniper who went to Afghanistan to kick some ass for America, but found himself getting his ass kicked right back.  Also, he's friends with the now discredited Chris Kyle of American Sniper infamy, but at least Luttrell's story is a little more probable, and certainly less ambitious; Luttrell's not going for a Guinness World Record here.  You have to do some reading between the lines here, but the underlying message seems to be that we were really, really unprepared to go into Afghanistan.  And while we get the rah-rah macho sniper spirit rammed down our throats for most of the first half, in the second half, one can't help but feel some futility when one of the snipers is looking at his hand with half of its fingers blown off, asking "How can they (the Afghanis) move SO FAST?"
The boys are also attacked by poisonous snakes, but for the sake of dumb American audiences, the filmmakers threw in a diamondback rattlesnake instead of a native Afghanistan viper, for example.  A subtle distinction, to be sure, but I totally understand.  God bless 'em, they just don't develop rattles in that part of the world.
However, here's the part I strenuously object to.  I know it's based on the truth, and I know that the boys had no other choice, but to manly throw yourself over a cliff, perchance to roll gently down its steep slopes, well... no wonder we didn't get anywhere in Afghanistan. I mean, who throws themselves off a cliff?  I know these guys are the toughest in the world, but how could they be so stupid?  I know I have no right to complain, but I think that SOME of my tax dollars are going to these guys, so I feel a sense of ownership.  REPEL DOWN THE SIDE!!!!  WITH MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING EQUIPMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
But that was the 2000s for ya.  Lots of crazy stuff going on.  Humvees with no armour in Iraq, mountaineering snipers with NO MOUNTAIN CLIMBING EQUIPMENT.  Crazy times, man.  If you remember the 2000s, well... you clearly weren't in the White House!
I kind of tuned out of this movie after the proverbial "Nanawatai" segment where Marky Mark finds his way to one of the villages, and the villagers try to protect him.  Maybe because my viewing companion found fault with that part, and kept saying over and over "Why would the villagers do that?  You've got the local warlords, and they're going to come back and kill everybody.  Why would they protect this guy?  They wouldn't!  They'd turn him over to the warlords!"  Sure, it's all too Hollywood, especially when they take Marky Mark over to the chopping block for heads (seen put to work at the beginning of the movie), raise the machete on high, and then... BOOM!  They hear a gunshot and they stop.  But the movie swears that it's all true.  Still, I'd like to get a second opinion from one of the other snipers; apparently, not possible!
And so, Marcus Luttrell has survived and lived to tell his tale.  Among his other accomplishments: a brief cameo in Lone Survivor, and appearing as himself on Spike TV's "Guys Choice Awards 2014."  So far, so good.  But speaking of Saving Private Ryan, I can't help but think of what Private Ryan said at the end of his life at the end of the movie, that he hoped that he earned what the rest of the guys had done for him.  Something like that.  Well, in Marcus Luttrell's case, according to his IMDb page, he's made several appearances on the Fox News channel.  Bad move, Marcus... bad move.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Felix the Cat Sows some Wild Oats

For some reason, Felix the Cat is associated with our next extra Fleischer short called Feline Follies.  The black cat in this particular short is called "Master Tom" and looks more like a cat, and less like a slightly tweaked version of Disney's Mickey Mouse.  And the story's way way less complicated than your typical Felix the Cat short.  In Feline Follies, there's no bad guys to foil with ingenuity.  It's just a cat trying to get by in this crazy world, and maybe make friends with a lady cat.  Frankly, it's all a bit tawdry, and I'm not even that much of a Felix the Cat aficionado.  I mean, I just found out that Jack Mercer did the voice of Felix!  Some movie critic I am!  Here's the link again to that video on YouTube of Jack Mercer on the old "To Tell the Truth" show... just watched Mel Blanc on Letterman.  Of course, Letterman was a bit younger, and still in awe of other people back then.
Anyway, back to the instant case.  Ah, courtship.  Felix... I mean, "Master Tom" hears a meowing in the distance, so he runs into said distance, thereby causing a great deal of heartache for the inbetweeners.  But before that, his tail turns into a question mark, so there's a little of the ol' Felix ingenuity there after all.
Next scene: Master Tom meets up with Betty White... I mean, "Kitty White" and the courtship begins, right after the initial shock.  Might be a male cat in disguise or something!  Nope.  Once the confusion ends, the courtship begins.  Master Tom plucks the closest flower from the ground and gives it to Kitty White.  Kitty White is impressed, and the flirtations continue.  For some reason, that never works for me.  I always have to get flowers from the store.
Oh, but this is no time for a booty call!  The two interested parties must go to their respective corners and regroup later.  The filmmakers were apparently big fans of the "iris out" to the next scene, so we'll be seeing much, much more of this cross-fade by the time we get to the end of the picture.  And so, Master Tom gets all cleaned up, and gets ready to go out on a date.  We see some of the Felix ingenuity to come when Tom brushes his teeth with his tail.  Gee, my cat never lets me try that with its tail...  Meanwhile, the mice prepare for his departure.  In this household, they have two holes in the floor as opposed to the traditional hole in the wall at floor level.
Next scene: the proverbial back fence, where Master Tom gives Kitty White a kiss, and says "I've only got nine lives to live - an' I'll live them all for you!"  Oh, this guy's good.  So I guess it's YOLN instead of YOLO.  Modern love is a strain, Pete, no doubt about it.  Next scene: a little bit of animation that I like.  Why isn't this going viral?  We see eleven people in the buildings opposite of this romantic scene, all yelling for Master Tom to cut out that racquet, of course.  One of these jerks beans Tom with a boot and he falls off the fence.  No worse for the wear, Tom plans his next meeting with Kitty White.  "Tomorrow night at the ash can!" he says.  And away they both run, followed by that damn iris out again.  Boy, they're using that a lot!!!
Next scene: the ash can proper... okay, "Garbage" can, if you're being literal about it.  Tom's got a banjo and waits for Kitty to arrive.  Kitty White eventually shows up, spots his banjo and says "Shoot something lively!"  ...I think that means play a hot tune.  I'm not up on my teens-era lingo.  And so, shoot something lively he does.  Well, even though we can't hear it, it must be something lively, because Kitty White starts dancing around, pre-Rotoscope.  Not bad!
Meanwhile, the mice get more bold.  They go for the chicken on the wall... or maybe it's a turkey, who knows.  Out of convenience, everything the mice need is right there in one room.  No time for icebox subtleties here!  This is really really really old school filmmaking, like when Buster Keaton was making shorts with Fatty Arbuckle that they'd shoot on a Sunday afternoon in one studio.  Of course, the mice fancy themselves to be food thief artisans, so they play with their food a little bit before scarfing it down.  One mouse juggles the chickens' drumsticks.  Must be a chicken, or maybe a Cornish game hen; you know, something with small drumsticks.  Still... did they really have to smash that plate?
And then, back to the dancing.  And then... back to the mice.  I don't know what horrible thing this says about me psychologically, but I think this is my favourite scene: a mouse drinks a whole bottle of milk which turns him white.  He turns and takes his bow in front of his fellow mice who applaud.
Anyway, back to the cats.  Again, more Felix ingenuity: Tom makes some notes appear from his banjo.  The cats take their respective notes... the ones of their opposite fur color (this way, they stand out better)... and they ride them around like hand-powered go-carts.  Now, if you don't find that the least bit fanciful, well... you're just being a Contrarian on purpose.  Stop it.  Now.
ACT THREE - Things turn ugly for Master Tom.  It's time to pay the price for abandoning his post at the house, and not catching them mouse... mice.  Damn.  Almost had a rhyme there.  But like a real cat just might do, Tom comes home to the trashed house, and goes right to a nice place to get some sleep.  LOL!  What... him worry?  I don't think so.  Iris out.  Next scene: back to the room!  I guess there's no need for a black title card with words on it to advance the plot at this point.  The lady of the house returns, and visually inspects the damage.  We can tell from the dashed lines shooting out of her eyes.  She then eyes the cat, looks at Tom angrily for about a second or two, then grabs him by the tail and throws him out!  Cold-blooded.  Dayamn.  Tom shrugs his shoulders and tries to figure out what he did wrong.  The lady chucks a pan at Tom... or a boot, I couldn't tell.  It went by too fast.  Needles to say, Tom high-tails it to that darn horizon again for what seems like the umpteenth time.
No iris out to the next scene!  Game-changing.  And so, Tom heads over to Kitty White's place.  Some of you can probably guess what's coming because she's sewing some garments.  Tom finally arrives, looking downbeat.  He's just about to explain his predicament to Kitty, that he got kicked out of his mom's basement... I mean, his human has kicked him out, when SUDDENLY... Horror of horrors!  Yup, Tom looks in horror to find that Kitty White has had a litter of little Toms.  They're all chips off of the old man's block.  None of this miscegenation like a couple of Warner Brothers cartoons I could name... if I could just think of the titles.  Ah yes!  The ending of Nasty Quacks has at least some genetic variety!  ... just found that other one, and I'm going to give credit to the blog that's got it, blow by blow.  It's called Johnny Smith and Poker-Huntas, which... must be a pun on something from the era.  Always with the puns... and yes, I know it's Pocahontas, so don't message me.  Also, Mel Blanc taking over as Egg-Head?  Seems wrong to me.
Okay, here's an example with no genetic variety, but perhaps for good reason.  As you all know, the ending of The Wabbit Who Came to Supper ends with Elmer Fudd holding a giant Easter egg, with dozens of tiny Bugs Bunny clones climbing out of it.  Trust me, you don't even wanna know.  Oh, can't anything just be funny anymore?  There's also the ending of the politically incorrect A Feather in His Hare.  Or, maybe it's a good thing.  It may be the first instance of a nerdy Indian cartoon character... probably the last.  Injun Joe from Wagon Heels was the ultimate badass... "Him Screwball!"  Sorry, love that clip.  That's all the examples I can think of... there's also the end of Northwest Hounded Police, but that's well after all the babies have all grown up and joined the Mounties.  I believe this is what we call scope creep, so let's just get back to the instant case.  No, the ending of Feline Follies is, of course, more like the plot arc of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  I probably don't have to explain why, but these days, when anyone talks about that movie, all they say is gosh, but Roy Neary is a bad father!  Well, that's what Tom is, too, because after seeing the spectre of responsibility laid before him, he exits Stage Left, and runs and runs and runs just as fast as he bloody well can, thereby stretching the animation budget on backgrounds for the whole picture.  After running so far for so long, Tom stops at a gas pipe.  In the background, we see a gas facility, and yup... perhaps you've heard the expression, "take the gas pipe," especially if you've seen a couple Stooge shorts, or one uncrucial scene from Radio Days.  And so, Tom puts his mouth on the gas pipe, but for the kids' sake, we're spared the rest... what's the matter?  Cat got your tongue?

-so sayeth The Movie Maven Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Aaron Courseault

Okay, I'm going to fire up my software again, though it's probably going to turn up nothing.  Also, Mr. Courseault's C.V. doesn't seem to merit a whole lot of attention yet.  But who knows?  There's probably a pathway to Spielberg City citizenship in there someplace... hmm!  Wonder if he's related to Jaeson Courseault.  I'll bet Jaeson's the agent or something.  Takes a lot of hands to make a movie pie!
Well, I'm pretty sure Aaron doesn't want to have to go back to his LinkedIn contacts from MacArthur Park, partly because it was 14 years ago now, but mostly because he just worked on the screenplay.  I mean, sure it's tempting to go back to Lori Petty and say "Oh, I just loved you in Point Break... can you get me to Spielberg at all?"  Whatever you do, DON'T mention Tank Girl.  Too many bad memories.  Plus, Naomi Watts won't return her calls.  Hmm!  Guess that The Birds remake never went through.  Well, that's how it happens with a big-time charity-working star like Naomi.  You gotta pick and choose projects a little more judiciously.  I mean, Allegiant parts 1 and 2?  Egg-zactly.  The Birds remake is just for the birds at this point.
Or you might want to try the LinkedIn contacts made on something called "Sommore: The Queen Stands Alone." You'll want to remain friends with this Sommore person, especially if she's a queen of comedy.  I mean, maybe she's made her bones like the original kings of comedy, I don't know!  A lot of this is news to me.  Reminds me of a lot of these facebook "celebrities" and "public figures."  Just because you wear a bikini well doesn't make you a celebrity or a public figure... okay, I'll give Sommore the benefit of the doubt.  After all, she earned her title with her guest shot on "The Hughleys."  That's right... I know my Kings of Comedy!

It's a Jurassic World After All

...what can me say?  I feel a little sorry for my fellow blogspotter Rachel Dolezal.  I mean, look at her blog!  She used to have a comments section and everything, but it got a little bit flooded with non-art fans trying to tell her that she's a fraud and what not.  Catching fire, indeed!  But I'll tell you one thing... okay, I should say, "I tell you what" instead.  But in this era of Selfies, the girl knows how to do a good selfie, am I right?  As David Letterman might have observed, you got yer car selfie, you got yer selfie at the desk, and of course the now omnipresent duck face.  Oh, you academic tease!  You're the youngest 37-year old I've seen lately!
Anyway, back to the real story of the week: the top 10 at the box office.  Pixar's latest, "Herman's Head"... I mean, Inside Out, debuts at #2, but with 90 million dollars!  This is highly unusual... well, it is to me, anyway.  Well, it used to be that one film taking in about 90 million at the box office the first weekend would have a cooling effect on all the rest.  But I guess there's a sort of consistency here.  Last week it was Jurassic World with 200 million.  This week it's Jurassic World and Inside Out with a combined total of about 190 million.  Third place is Spy with 10 million.  So by Hollywood standards that's pretty good, but the third place movie made more than 10 million, so they didn't really "crush it" as compared to, say, that Ultron movie.  The second place made 6 million that weekend!  Now that's crushing it.
The other debut is the Pharrell Williams production the mortals call Dope.  Alas, it only made about six million this weekend, and it debuts at #5.  But on the bright side, he's not too worried!  He's still laughing all the way to the bank.  According to my accounting textbook, Pharrell owns a Fatburger franchise, so he's raking it in in good times or bad.  Why, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the characters stop off at a Fatburger restaurant and make the usual pitch about wanting to be a vegetarian, while they sink their teeth into... whatever.  Let me check their online menu.  Ooh!  A Western BBQ Bacon Fatburger with a Chocnana (chocolate and banana) milkshake.  You know, they say that once you go fat... anyway, those are the debuts this week.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

When Alliterations Attack

Yes, it's time for another one of those old-timey silent cartoons where several precious screen minutes are devoted to a hand drawing the characters.  I'm starting to think that it's either a) out of respect, or b) know, once upon a time, people thought acting was a form of witchcraft!  What does that say about filmmaking itself?  Well, electricity seems to have demystified a great many things in our world.  Now people look at movies and wonder how to get in on the goldmine, come hell and or high water.
But movie conventions are nevertheless slow to change, and everyone wanted to be the next Winsor McCay, even if their efforts were less than stellar in spectacle, both in terms of story and penmanship.  And so we get stuff like Bobby Bumps Puts a Beanery on the Bum.  Alas, I'm no cartoon historian, so I can't put li'l Robert Bumps in the proper historical context, but his run on the silver screen seems to have been ten years, much like Colonel Heeza Liar.  And don't kid yourself!  This Beanery film is a hot property, so hot that they can't keep it on YouTube due to multiple copyright violations.  So, there you go.  A little more civilized than Napster.  Back to the DVD I go!!! (grumble grumble)
And so, we spend most of the First Act just filling in the backgrounds.  If you get to see it, you'll know what I mean.  I guess Koko didn't move around as much when Max was drawing him, so that's slightly different.  Also, with one gesture, the animator fills in all the extra detail to the background by dumping ink from the inkwell onto it.  The animator also writes out words for Bobby Bumps to obey, like "Get Off My Hand" and such.  So, so far there's no black title cards for the dialogue... until we get to Act Two.
And so, when Bobby Bumps becomes an integral part of this world, the eternal gift of thankless, low-wage labor greets him, but Bobby is proud and he jumps at the chance all to eagerly.  Pulling up the ladder behind him, Bobby takes a job as a dishwasher at a local hash house... and by local, I mean the one that the animator draws in front of Bobby.  Of course, the "Help Wanted" sign was vaguely worded, saying "Boy Wanted to Help in Kitchen."  And soon after the introductory episode, where Bobby seems to be washing all of America's dirty dishes, with his helpful Little Rascals-esque canine companion helping out, Bobby gets his first of many chances to increase his skills repertoire.  The main cook goes on break from juggling the fried eggs, and he asks Bobby to take over for him.  Needles to say, this is supposed to be a comedy, and not an Horatio Alger-type drama/economics pipe dream.  Oh, and this version of Bobby Bumps on the DVD has a music soundtrack as a little added bonus, although if ever puts this back up on YouTube, he'll pro... they'll probably find some different music to add to it.
And so, Bobby Bumps finds himself caught in the gears of the café machinery.  Fresh eggs are laid just for him to cook, and the waitress is no help, of course.  She's just waiting on the eggs.  Bobby's eyes get lightly singed by the frying of the eggs, and he tries to flip them over like the bearded, moustached maestro from earlier, but it's just not the same.  The dog ends up eating the eggs, then throwing us a knowing wink... is this film coming on to me?  And then, a disembodied voice from off screen ups the ante when it says "Turn them eggs over," which gives the dog a chance for another laugh.
Now I know I'm turning into a crotchety old man because the next scene cuts to the lunch counter proper, and I'm getting a little grossed out by the waitress pulling her chewing gum into a long string, then eating it back up again.  Ah, to be young again... didn't I use to do that not so long ago?  The one customer in the place gets grossed out, but not by the gum.  Hey, if I gotta suffer through this thing, you do too.
Next scene: the asylum is truly in the hands of the inmates now, as the dog is busy making holes in the donuts... or the bagels, I'm not exactly sure.  But the cook is back, doing his egg shtick, and it's time to set up the Third Act.  It's time for Bobby Bumps to establish his Robot Cred.  The cook scolds Bobby for not jumping when he says "Jump," and when Bobby arrives, the COBOL cards are issued... I mean, the instruction is given: "When I call you, you drop whatever you'r doin' and come at once, understand?" (sic)  Dang!  Was this guy texting or what?
The dog has another bit with a cat, but I'm going to skip over that because I'm pro-cat.  The animator seems to be on the cat's side as well, only at the last possible minute.  The dog saves Bobby's bacon in a way I won't spoil, but you can probably guess how the cook's earlier edict is going to play out.  See, Bobby's got this big ol' stack of dishes, at least twice as tall as Bobby himself, and then... yup.  Bobby drops whatever he's doing and comes at once when the cook calls.  Having heard the clatter, the cook drops what he's doing and jumps into the room with Bobby.  "You dropped something, yes?" asks the cook... I knew it!  Eastern European, I'll bet.  The animator aides and abets Bobby's escape from the cook, and helps Bobby to humiliate the cook by handing him the keys to the inkwell.  The cook gets a rain of black ink down upon his person, and a tiny rat shows up from Stage Right to do... whatever.  Best cameo in a cartoon ever.
But before we wrap up this review, I'll take a brief moment to acknowledge the "dropping" gag.  Now, Bobby Bumps probably didn't originate the gag; it probably started in Vaudeville or something, who knows.  Also, I swear that this Bobby Bumps cartoon was featured on at least one documentary about the silent film era.  It seems to have become the Bobby Bumps cartoon of record in that regard.  But the gag has spawned a rich legacy.  The most recent example I can think of is the following SCTV skit with Rusty van Rettick.  And, of course, the Stooges.  Here's the gag in Three Loan Wolves... I guess that's it.  God bless you, 69789Darius!  The gag is also apparently in Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961)... either that, or it's that flaw in Google search where you get two unrelated things smooshed together with ellipses.  Yeah, that's probably it.  Doesn't have a word for that yet?  I'm also reminded of the stack of dishes that Stan Laurel was holding in Our Wife, but the scenario was a little bit different, if not completely so... I guess that gag wasn't as influential as I thought.  Never mind!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Robbie Countryman

No, I don't mean Hagrid!  Stupid Auto-Complete... Anyway, on to our next auteur.  I mean, what's a brutha gotta do to get ahead in this stupid biz?  Well, you gotta go with the times, and Robbie Countryman was fortunate to land a gig on a sweet show like "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper"... I'm assuming.  What ever became of that Cooper fella, anyhow?  I know he had a crucial part in Armageddon as a cab driver... welp, he's all growed up and doing a show called "See Dad Run," and he's gone from Mark to Marcus.  Well, that's more flexibility than Tony Danza, that's for sure.
But that was the 90s, and a show like "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper" could flourish and grow.  In the 2000s, not so much, apparently, and so it was time to penetrate deep into enemy territory and direct episodes of "Reba," of all things.  Well, it's a couple steps up from the blue collar comedy tour, anyway; of course, they probably wouldn't want to work with Robbie... I don't know why.
So that was the 2000s.  How about the 2010s?  Well, Robbie's main source of work is something called "Melissa & Joey."  I... I'm so out of it.  Where ARE these shows?  That's that thing with Melissa McCarthy, right?.... no, it's with Sabrina the Teenage Witch star Melissa Joan Hart.  I don't know why, but I feel kinda sorry for her.  Apparently her deal struck with the Devil is that she'll be on TV for her whole life, but no one will give a sh... no one will notice.  I mean, look at that cleavage!... hmm.  I dunno.  The Richard Head's over at Maxim can rate these things more scientifically than me, probably, but something seems off.  Too Religious-Girl-Next-Door-y or something; not Fairuza Balk-ish enough.  I mean, sure, there's no flap of skin to give the impression that it's one giant monobreast with two pouches, and yes, it's always nice to have some space to give the impression that you can see farther down the dress than one thinks... that was in the movie Big (1988), right?  Right!  It's right here.  Billy says "She's got one of those undershirt things.  So if you get real close to the board, you can see all the way down to her flowers."  I mean, if you're going to photograph cleavage, I'm told the gold standard is Monica Bellucci in The Matrix Reloaded... and of course, the IMDb doesn't have a photo of it.  Well, it's the Internet.  It's going to be out there someplace.  I mean, when the internet was first gearing up, there were a whole slew of sites dedicated to Brad Pitt's ass in 12 Monkeys.  Not really my thing, but I understand the appeal.  Something about being in a nut house just makes it all the hotter.  Kinda like that guy at the beginning of Amadeus!  Oh, how I wish I could get that out of my head... where was I?  Oh, right.  Well, it looks like Mr. Countryman is set for life because, much like Melissa Joan Hart, he has spent his whole life in television, and he has seen television grow to achieve damn near equitability with the silver screen, especially in the HD era.  Will his oeuvre of work ever be taught at the USC film school?  Probably not!  Is he nevertheless laughing or crying all the way to the bank?  He better hope so!

The Velociraptor Whisperer

I was going to post a pic from Gorky Park for my Russian homies, but decided to go with this one instead... I forget why.  And if I ever look back on this blog post, years from now, I'll probably still forget why... oh, well.  Better take the risk.  Anyway, it's still 24 hours until we find out how much Jurassic World made.  With the global ad blitz and the tie-ins with Barbasol and what not, I'll be damned if it ain't number one!  I mean, that guy going all Dog Whisperer on the velociraptors?  Oh, dude.  Better use that as the headline...
(Sunday proper) DAYAMN... now THAT's how it's done.  Twenty million more than the latest Avengers movie!  Good payday for somebody!  Not bad for a non-comic book-based movie.  But somehow the moviegoing economy's slightly up, as the 2nd place movie (in this case, Melissa McCarthy in Spy) made $16 million.  Clean and low eight figures!  Nice.  When Avengers 2 came out, the 2nd place movie made only 6 or so.  That's right... I have to find the dark cloud for this silver lining.  If I had a stake in the outcome, I'd keep my mouth shut.
Meanwhile, Love & Mercy debuts on the top 10 at tenth place.  Let me just be the first to call it... Oscar for Paul Dano.  I can only assume for Best Actor.  Oh, this kid's got the bug in his eyes.  I've seen him in interviews, and he thinks just that highly of himself.  He's going to get something!  As for John Cusack, well... clearly the Academy voting bloc is either 1) jealous, or 2) they just have Cusack in their permanent blind spot.  I mean, Tager's got his statue... no love for Alexeev?  I guess that figures in a way.  Gold for the artist, nothing for the slimy businessman... just the Best Picture award.  You get the brass for portraying the kid next door, not for actually being the kid next door.  Incidentally, what about Brian Wilson?  I mean, he's only one of the greatest geniuses in American music of all time, including Cretaceous and Devonian.  WHAT ABOUT HIM??!!!!!  Well, he's got to play the game, like Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel and Paul McCartney.  Oh, and Sting.  Basically, Brian Wilson has to become a Brit somehow.  Don't they have some kind of honorary knighthood or something?  Let's get it done, people!  Let's make that ideal world.  Be the change you wish to see in the world already!

Friday, June 05, 2015

All Men are Dogs... and some even have Dog Names!!!!

Boy!  These 1910-era cartoons are so tawdry.  Of course, the world is being completely rocked by two recent events from the Chauvinist realm.  One, the comments of... let me look that up... Tim Hunt, a NOBEL-PRIZE winning scientist, said in jest that female scientists are a distraction to their male counterparts.  He swears that it was in jest, anyway.  Now, were I a younger man, sure, I'd be howling for his blood, as it were.  But I play Devil's Advocate more and more, these days, and not just the pinball version from The Simpsons.  The dude's 72 years old, he resigned from his post at... some college, and... HE'S 72 YEARS OLD!!!!  See, people forget that you're not allowed to say anything anymore, at any age.  Well, the youth always like some fresh meat to sink their teeth into.  Time to degrade his accomplishments, time for all his victims of harassment, sexual or otherwise, to step forward... hmm!  Wonder if he did that just ahead of a Cosby-esque scandal break.  Oh well.
So, there's that, and then there's the hot new review of 25-year old GoodFellas.  So let me be the first to apologize to all my reader(s), in Russia or otherwise, and to my ten followers... how does that work, anyway?  Do you get an email every time I post a new... post?  I want to apologize for that as well, as I finally bit the bullet and started subscribing to "i suwannee."  Oh, all you bloggers out there know what I'm talking about.  It's the hot new blog for the last three years; that and cats that look like Hitler, you know the drill... I'm sorry, it's "Skipjack's Nautical Living" and "i suwannee."  Blogs of note for the past five years.  Boy, some people couldn't take their fingers off the national/international pulse if they tried!  But I want to apologize to my readers.  Clearly you've all been wasting your time with me.  It's the New York Post that's the place to be.  Now, sure, some may say that this Rupert Murdoch-based publication is trying to reduce film criticism to the lowest level possible, discussing plot points just in terms of testosterone.  I try to be a positivist and say hey!  At least he's using English; his original plan was to use Neanderthal grunts, and posting Vine videos in which he points to various bodily orifices to express the film's emotions.  And sure, you could point out that the film reviewer seems to refute his own claim by pointing out that Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco) makes her own bid to join the world of testosterone when she confronts Henry about standing her up on that one date.  Maybe this female character does in fact understand the world of gangsters and their groupies like Henry Hill!  Now, I didn't read the whole article, but this can probably be explained away because Karen Hill is a very butch Lesbian... something like that.  In any case, I'll be the first to admit, I must be a lady too, because I always thought that Joe Pesci's character was just a psychopath.  Turns out he just has big balls.  I thought Billy Batts had big balls too, and I think the article begrudgingly acknowledges that, but he 1) belongs to another crime family, and 2) he "breaks ball-busting etiquette" with the whole shinebox comment.
Anyway, clearly I've spent too much time analyzing this.  The douchebag reviewer ends his "review" by asking all of us, "What would 'GoodFellas' be like if it were told by a woman?"  To which I say, well, I'll bet Kathryn Bigelow would've made it just as awesome!  I think this guy just doesn't want to admit that he skips over all the depressing parts where Henry and Karen have domestic squabbles.  I will, though.  Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems to me that GoodFellas is one of those rare mob movies that is kinda gender-equal in a way.  We see Karen's side of things too!  Then, of course, there's Diane Keaton in the Godfather trilogy, but I guess she slows things down too much or something.  Anyway, I think my response to this idiot's in-your-face postulation is that, women do understand GoodFellas, but they're just a little disappointed in it, that's all.
Which brings me to our next "From the Vault" short, a Mutt and Jeff animated cartoon called Domestic Difficulties.  It's basically like Laurel and Hardy's classic, Blotto, but came a decade and a half ahead of it!  Also, the print of it that survived is in really really good shape... I'm sorry, I mean crazy good shape.  Hella good, scary good, double-plus-good, what have you.  I kinda like that the Popeye DVD doesn't add music to it.
Okay, better get to the plot.  We see Augustus (AKA "Mutt") sitting in the living room, playing his banjo.  You know, regular guy stuff.  And then, the plot point that will drive the rest of this damn pic: Mutt's wife is headed out for the evening, and she issues her edict: "I want you to stay home, and go right to bed!"  Something like that.  Hmm!  Wonder what she's up to?  Alas, we don't get her full story, as this is a Mutt and Jeff joint.
And so, when the cat's away, the mice will play, so to speak, and as soon as the wife's gone, Mutt places the call to Jeff.  No fake telegram for Mutt, as Jeff is his Reconnaissance Man.  It's Jeff's job to see that the coast is clear, so Jeff hot-foots it over to Mutt's building, and watches as Mutt's wife ambles off into the night, to do God knows what... I know, she's leading her church group or something.  Anyway, when the wife's sufficiently out of the picture, Jeff calls out to Mutt, "She's gone!"  And so, Mutt makes the long climb down the four stories of his building on the rain chute... only to get to the bottom to find that GASP!  His wife's headed BACK HOME!!!  And so he has to CLIMB ALL THE WAY BACK UP  to his window on the fourth floor.  Alas, there's no time to get the wrong floor; that's for the director's cut maybe.  Ooh!  I forgot to mention that the wife looks in on "sleeping" "Mutt," smiles and shuts the door.  "Mutt" has to climb back into bed and feign sleep a second time, and the wife's animation loop is repeated, looking in on sleeping "Mutt," smiling, and leaving anew.  Does she not trust this man that she married?  Maybe she just forgot something, came back to get it and, what the hell, might as well double-check on the hubby.  You should ask the New York Post.
And so, with the coast clear anew, "Mutt" makes the long climb BACK DOWN THE RAIN CHUTE.  They don't see the wife returning this time, and so off "Mutt" and Jeff go to get stinking drunk.  Damn... I hate to spoil the laugh, but yup, the wife comes back a second time.  Okay, so the guy isn't as prepared or as technologically savvy as Ferris Bueller.  So what.
Now comes the part that women don't understand... I mean, married women of high moral fiber.  "Mutt" and Jeff go into "The Dutchman's" to get stinking drunk.  Dayamn!  Did you check out that fat boy's elbows?  Good thing Jeff's so short, otherwise he'd lose an eyeball or two!  Fortunately for the Hays Code-approved audience, we're spared the graphic details of the creation of a drunken night on the town, but we are treated to the aftermath.  Cut to 3 a.m., and "Mutt" and Jeff are walking past an infinite fence, singing God knows what.  Some fake Hawaiian song.  Boy!  Alcohol's better than acid, according to this film!  Meanwhile, while "Mutt" and Jeff are enjoying a platonic drunken romp around the city park, "Mutt"'s wife is sitting at home with a rolling pin, eyeing the clock on the dresser.  Far too sober.
Next scene: "Mutt" tries to make the climb back up his building's outer rain gutter... but alas, he's far too drunk to get off the ground... Lol?  Sorry, I'm a simple mind, I couldn't help it.  Always remember, kids: never drink and climb.  "Mutt" eventually gives up his drunken vertical pursuits and decides to TAKE THE STAIRS.
BUT THEN...... it's time for the masterstroke of drunken genius!  "Mutt" convinces Jeff to go upstairs for him and check to see if his wife's asleep.  Of course, it's an easier sell in the fog of alcohol.  Jeff goes up to the door of "Mutt," knocks, then tries to open it, only to be met by the rolling pin of fury, right on top of his head that's closer to the ground than "Mutt"'s.  Jeff heads back downstairs and, for several reasons, says "Yup!  She's asleep all right..." ...isn't that close enough to verbatim for you?  I forgot to mention that the dialogue in this cartoon are in their own bubbles on the same screen, as opposed to the usual silent movie format of having the dialogue in separate scenes on their own black cards.  And if it was a D.W. Griffith picture, the word "GRIFFITH" would be displayed prominently somewhere... probably.
And so, influencing the future TV shows Breaking Bad and Fargo, "Mutt" makes the confident, drunken climb up the stairs to his humble abode.  I guess it was an easier sell in the fog of alcohol.  Plus, Jeff's hat disguised his new-fangled head lump.  We see the carnage from afar, and I was reminded of that one scene in Schindler's List where machine gun fire lit up the windows of several buildings in that one long shot.  I'm sorry, but the scenes are emotionally and pictorially similar.


Of course, Jeff thinks he's safe on the ground below.  If only he knew.  And again, if only subliminally, the world of cartoons will end up influencing the plots of live-action film, because "Mutt" ends up flying out of his fourth story window, or third if you count the mezzanine, amid a hail of bricks, much like the explosive finale of Laurel and Hardy's Be Big.  "Mutt" lands atop Jeff, and the bricks keep coming, much like a similar scene in Laurel and Hardy's Hog Wild.  "My wife hates me," "Mutt" tells Jeff.  Well, women may not understand works of quasi-fiction like GoodFellas, but men will never understand the reality of why their wives hate them.  Jeff's response?  He removes his hat, shows "Mutt" the lump, and says "Oh, I don't know... she thinks the world of me!" (sic)  I guess that means men will never understand other men either!!!!!

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Auteur Watch - Bill Cosby

Um... maybe we'll just skip that one.

I see you from my Spy Plane, Baby.....

I overheard a hipster last night talking about a They Might Be Giants cover band, so I feel no shame about that! referencing their lyrics!  Who knew?  I thought that I was the only one who liked them.  Sure, I'm not familiar with their last ten albums or so, but I'm working on changing that.  As for the song that was #1 when I was born, however...  Great.  Another unhealthy body image to cultivate.  Anyway, surprise surprise, the latest Melissa McCarthy vehicle, the rather generically titled Spy, debuts at #1.  Sure, maybe not smashingly so, but hey!  It pounded the crap out of the Entourage movie!  Go figure.  Who's more manly now, bitch?  Girls have to do everything for men these days.  I guess Entourage fans don't like to go out in public so much.  That's what's so great about having it on TV, I guess.  You can sit at home in your undies on the couch drinking a beer and eating day-old pizza... oh, and you can watch the show as well.
Okay, so that Entourage movie debuts at #4, and Spy at #1, and the only other debut is Insidious: Chapter 3 at... what else?  Number 3!  As Butch Cassidy once said about something... this Insidious series is beginning to get on my nerves!  Who are those guys?  Well, the main culprit is a triple threat named Leigh Whannell.  Now, according to his IMDb bio, he became obsessed with "telling stories" at the age of four.  Yeah.  Stories like the Saw series, apparently.  That must've been one messed-up kid.  Reminds me of this one annoying little puke in band class.  I think he was a freshman when I was a senior, and one day during our lunch breaks he started telling stories or jokes, trying to give us all the impression that he was wise beyond his years... or his ears?  One of the two.  It didn't last, unfortunately, but I hear he's selling insurance someplace now!  Well, that's what happens when you were born on Third Base.  Nothing but Easy Street for you.  Well, God bless the insidious Insidious series, and may it outlast Paranormal Activity.  Clearly it's not crashing and burning like the Blair Witch series.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Short Reviews - June 2015

...ooh!  Ooh!  Tuddy, I think I finally decoded the hidden meaning of the old "Princess and the Frog" tale.  That's the tale where you have to cross a river, but you have to take a princess, a frog, and a rabid badger with you... no, wait.  I mean the one where the princess kisses a frog, and the frog turns into a handsome prince.  Unfortunately, it doesn't bode well for the ladies, especially if you're expecting a handsome prince right out of the gate.  Because, as it turns out, a lot of the frogs out there are really good kissers.  That's right, go for the shy, awkward geeks who'd just be so grateful to be with a girl.  They know how to kiss, lemme tell ya!  And catching flies with that long tongue?... well, FRENCH kissing, right?  So princesses, go for the frog that kisses real good, and just try to picture George Clooney or Brad Pitt in your mind.  That's why you close your eyes during kissing.

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension - Rated PG for thematic elements, including all of the Hong Kong Cavaliers being armed with handguns, a character named "Big Booty," and a slightly early version of the Flux Capacitor.  But hey!  Why not hire the best?  You figure Neil Canton worked on a movie about a car that travels through time or space or something... get him to do your movie!

Aloha - With Woody Harrelson as Carson Wells

The Associate - Look... quit picking on Rachel Dolezal, all right?

"Ballers" -  Because even HBO's getting tired of that old, musty "1st and Ten" series, and not just because of the O.J. Curse.  Also, I can't help but think of that one time that "The Rock" was on SNL and he did a light parody of "The Sopranos" called "The Goombahs."  What I'm trying to say is... am I the only one that finds fault with the title?  Of course, I also thought that Schitt's Creek was a bad title, so what do I know.

The Bonfire of the Vanities - There are of course many, many problems with this movie.  Everyone knows that.  Mostly because of director Brian DePalma, one who has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory more times than not... probably even more than John Carpenter.  But I couldn't help but stumble over the name Michael Cristofer who adapted the novel, and I thought to myself... really?  THAT'S who you get to do your screenplay?  Mr. Sex?  Mr. Gia?  Mr. Body Shots?  To be fair, DePalma didn't know that at the time... I guess James Toback was busy or something.  Also, Bruce Willis as the Token Brit?  Even Kevin Costner tried on the accent... oh, right.  Not really.

Boynton Beach Club - Looking more and more ahead of its time than ever

The 'Burbs - Farewell, Art.  You left us too soon.

Disorganized Crime - This was filmed in Montana!... I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't.

Donovan Quick - ...I think Colin Firth is the Highlander.  I mean, look at him in The English Patient.  Now look at him today.  What is it?  Yoga?  Pilates?  No!  Highlander!!!!!  Dude hasn't aged a day!  Not ONE DAY, Jerry!

The English Patient - I think I understand Seinfeld's obsession with The English Patient, or rather, perhaps just Larry David's.  And I'm talking about the scene where Juliette Binoche is riding in the back of a truck, and she hands a big wad of bills to one of her friends in a jeep.  The jeep then starts to drive ahead of the convoy and hits a land mine, killing everyone in the jeep.  Now, if that isn't a Curb Your Enthusiasm moment, I don't know what is!  Binoche, of course, handles the moment much differently than would, say, a George Costanza or a Larry David.  They would, of course, go to the next of kin and say "You know, just before she was killed by that land mine, I gave them about 40 dollars!  It was all the money I had and.." well, the rest writes itself.

Entourage (the motion picture) - The commercials on the TV have quotes from critics for some reason.  There's some complete sentences, but they had single words like "Dope" and "Sexy."  Those are givens, of course.  Then they had this one scary word... I think it was "Smart."  And I'm all, like... smart?  Whoa, dude.  What do I look like, a mathematician?  Are you trying to scare people away?  Why?  Why are you doing that?  Why are you trying to scare people like that??

The Flying Dutchman - This was filmed in a town called Darby in Montana!... I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't.


Great Expectations (2015) - Hagrid's got the moves like Jaggers?!!!

Great Expectations (1998) - .... NO Jaggers!!

Great Expectations (1946) - Someone named Frances L. Sullivan's got the moves like Jaggers... now I hate to be one of those people, but um... hel-LOOO?  Someone LIVING, please!!!!

Heaven's Gate - I think I blogged about this already, but I wasn't able to find it when I searched for it, so here goes again anyway.  SPOILER ALERT: the big finale.  Kris Kristofferson, Jeff Bridges, and Kris' bride to be get ambushed outside their tiny cabin.  They are shot at by about six guys with shotguns... not at all an homage to James Caan's death in the first Godfather.  Anyway, in the shooting, the Dude is killed, the bride gets hit point blank in the stomach about three times... and Kris isn't touched at all!  Cut to 20 years later, and Kris and the bride are on a tiny yacht together.  Welp, that's the power of love for you: stronger than three shotgun blasts to the stomach.  Is that too nitpicky of me?  I don't think so.

Helen Keller vs. Nightwolves - This unfortunate genre continues, unapologetically

"Humans" - Ah, yes!  This is what William Hurt was flogging on "The View" recently, because he misses working on A.I. too.

I'll See You in my Dreams - Blythe Danner is... a revelation?   Personally, I already knew about her.  I mean, Fockers?  Anyone?  What about Brighton Beach Memoirs?  Am I the only one?  Thought so.

Love & Mercy - Silly me, I thought that Todd Haynes directed this. Boy!  Directors are getting usurped left and right these days!  Also, not that anyone cares, but I've actually heard the Brian Wilson song called "Love and Mercy."  And let me tell you something, kids... when you're watching Paul Dano and/or John Cusack in Love and Mercy, you won't be sitting there with your hands on your chin!  No sir!

Marvin's Room - With Margo Martindale as the rather somber Happy-Go-Lucky Overweight Best Friend... okay, DOCTOR Best Friend!

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Great double bill with Lars and the Real Girl and probably The Fault in our Stars... wow.  Even I'm thinking, "...why does the girl have to be dying?"  Must be a man's screenplay... yup!  And it's about filmmakers!  What a shock!  Great quadruple bill with Super 8.

My Gun is Quick - Robert Bray was from Kalispell!!!... I'll bet you 50¢ he wasn't.

Nightingale - Dang!  There's more producers than actors in this thing!!!!

No Country for Old Men - With Bill Murray as Carson Welch

Northfork -  This was filmed in Augusta, Montana!... I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't.

Oz the Great and Powerful - Michelle Williams was born in Kalispell?!!!  ...I'll bet you 50¢ she wasn't.

Poker Donkey - Banner headline: Lara Harris to World (Facebook): I Exist!

Pretty Ugly People - AKA the Casting director's... agent's goal

Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys! - With Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward in roles originally intended for Rock Hudson and Doris Day, respectively..............

Red Skies of Montana - I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't actually filmed in Montana...................

Revenge of the Nerds - Wait a minute... this isn't in Ogre's IMDb Top 4?  Oh dude... I seriously just died a little bit.

Room 13 -  This was filmed in Hamilton, Montana!... I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't.

Room 13 Part 2 - Yeah, the Scream series was fun

RRRrrrr!!! - ...I don't know how I got here, but this is my new favourite title of all time!

Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills - Some say that this is one of Paul Bartel's least offensive films.  But try mentioning his name when you're in Beverly Hills!  See how far that gets ya!

Season of Change - This was filmed in Hamilton, Montana!... I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't

Self/less - The plot of Freejack, the title structure of Face/Off.  Two homages make an original piece, right?

"Sense8" - Yeah, Scanners was fun

Shock Corridor - In a post-Dolezal world, this film seems less and less crazy...

Six Degrees of Celebration (AKA Yolki) -The Russians rip off Garry Marshall's holiday series!  New Year's Eve... or maybe it's the other way around, who knows.  Sounds like the Russian version did better at the box office... oh, s'z'nap!

The Super Cops - Wambaugh-Lite... holy crap!  Did they use the F-bomb in a PG movie?

Three Priests - This was filmed in Choteau, Montana!... I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't.

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot - This was filmed in Montana!  ...I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't.

Tomorrowland - Director Brad Bird is from Kalispell, Montana! ... I'll bet you 50¢ he's not.

True Identity - Look... quit picking on Rachel Dolezal, all right?

Under Siege 2: Dark Territory - It was partly filmed in Montana!!..... I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't.

Up in the Air - TOXIC air, as it turns out!

Valentino Returns - Based on a play named "Christ Has Returned to Earth."  Maybe I'm just a superficial being, but I prefer my gods to be a little unattractive.  You know, like Fat Buddha!  Or those weird blue elephant gods and stuff.  I mean, Jesus is okay, but he's probably not going to be captain of the football team anytime soon.  But sure, if Jesus came back to Earth to do silent movies, Valentino's a great role model.  Plus, you get to smoke!

Virtuosity - As a movie reviewer in all seriousness... I don't know where Virtuosity belongs in the scheme of things, how prescient it has turned out to be about artificial intelligence or computer-enhanced law enforcement... but it was SPOT ON when it comes to my satellite reception during a rainstorm!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  As I'm sure that new Adam Sandler movie Pixels will be as well!

War Party - This was filmed in Choteau, Montana!... I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't.

Watermelon Man - Look... quit picking on Rachel Dolezal, all right?

Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael - Boy!  Some movie critic I am!  And all this time I thought Winona Ryder was Roxy!  All I knew is that it was one of the first signs that Jim Abrahams was drifting apart from the Zucker brothers.  In some ways, he never really returned.

White Chicks -  Look... quit picking on Rachel Dolezal, all right?

The Winner - Is it me, or does Michael Madsen have the same look on his face EVERY POSTER??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wisconsin Project X - I'll bet you 50¢ it wasn't filmed in WISCONSIN!!!!!!

The Witches of Eastwick - Rated R for violence, language... and an instance of slut-shaming

Yankee Zulu - ... I've never even heard of that one

Young and Wild - Ummm... Far be it from me to correct the IMDb, but I think they have the wrong poster for the movie, so to speak...

The Young Kieslowski - Oh, The Big Lebowski!  I LOVE that movie! ...well, not really.  I don't care for drug humor.  And bowling!  I never really liked bowling.  I just don't understand what people see in this movie anyway.  I think people just like dressing up as movie characters.  But why this and not Star Wars?