Sunday, March 26, 2017

next LT: Gorilla my Dreams

Auteur Watch - Daron "Southboy" Fordham

Oh, good!  Another short one.  Welp, neither the IMDb or Wikipedia has any extended biography information on Daron Fordham.  Which seems to me that, while this guy's trying to pass himself off as a hardcore gangbanger and all that, if only by the thematic content of his oeuvre of work... I'm thinking he comes from old money!  Sure, maybe he's adopted, maybe he just had a really, really successful chain of coin-op machines, but somehow I'm thinking he doesn't quite have the street cred that he, um, purports!  But for the most part, the hip-hop musical is a burgeoning genre... is Idlewild one?  I guess the fact that it's a period piece might preclude it for some.
And so, having conquered the genre of the thinly veiled autobiography with Confessions of a Thug... incidentally, do thugs confess a lot?  Seems like the day you start confessing, that's the day you stop being a thug... at least, as far as "The Game" goes.  Not that I would know, mind you.  Seems like your partners in crime would have a problem if you started spilling the beans to the authorities.  Anyway, after (w)rapping Thug, pun intended, it was time to explore the wide world of documentaries.  You know, just like he did with Shake Dance.  Sheesh.  And so we get Film Hustle.  The plot summary on the main IMDb page seems a little vague at first, but wait til you get to the full plot summary!  That's right!  It's a documentary about the village roadshow-style promotional campaign for... Confessions of a Thug!  I'm thinking Bill Duke had to do most of the heavy lifting on this one... way way more than he thought he would.
But a long road trip is nothing if not elevating.  It changes your world view, often both literally and physically!  And if you get back home in one piece, you might think about trying something different with your life, in your life, what have you.  A conversion on the Road to Damascus, if you like.  Love that phrase.  For Mr. Fordham, he found himself interested in seeing things from an opposite perspective... you know, from the hip-hop fan's perspective.  And so we get a short film called Hip-Hop Headstrong.  It's only 30 minutes long... sure, he could've done a feature length feature about hip-hop fans, but no.  Fans only get the short feature treatment from the likes of Fordham.  Alas, we only get a taste of what to expect on the YouTubes.  I guess you can't blame a brother for trying... sorry, I mean brutha and... dyammmn!  Is that the dude from Hail, Caesar!?  IT IS!!  Oh, this dude's got the touch... then again, it was six years ago.  I guess TBS wasn't interested in turning it into a Tyler Perry-type deal.  Man, it's hard to get ahead.  Also, how many Hollywood producers have an AOL account that they're actually proud of?

The Big Choke

While we wait for the fresh box office numbers to come in... is it a holiday I don't know about or something?  What is the deal?  They're usually HERE by now!  The other... I mean, one of the bigger Trump-related stories is that the Right-wing, Republican-controlled Congress was unable to jam their health care legislation down our throats.  See, if Republicans try to do it, it's okay.  And if Democrats try to get health care legislation passed, well... it's too soon, and throats apparently will get jammed.  But Drumpf is new to this job, and apparently even he has learned that he can't just come out and say what he normally thinks.  I'm pretty sure he wants to say that it was all their idea, it's a failure because of the Republicans, he thought this health care bill was fine the way it was.  I know it's a stupid, simple question to ask, Mr. Drumpf President, but if I had a Breitbart press pass to one of your press conferences, I think I'd ask something like this.  You said that everyone would be covered.  EVERYONE.  But according to haters and losers like the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office have said that 24 million people would lose health coverage.  So my big question is... wait for it... WHAT'S THE DEAL?!  I THOUGHT YOU SAID EVERYONE WOULD BE COVERED.  WHAT HAPPENED???  Sorry about shouting... oh, wait, Drumpf blamed the Freedom Caucus.  Well, someone's got to!  Damn, I'm turning into Two Face.  I hate Drumpf, but I hate the Freedom Caucus AKA the "New" Tea Partiers a little bit more.  I mean, let's face it, Rich People... you're going to pay one way or another.  Sure, "no new taxes" sounds great and all that, but it just means that more people are going to come to you, soliciting donations.  Incidentally, this observation is brought to you by CFC... no, no, not chlorofluorocarbons.  No, that's the Koch Brothers.  I mean, the Combined Federal Campaign!  Reminds me: gotta talk to whoever is in charge of that at my office.  But back to the Rich People (TM) (R) (c) out there who have paid assistants that might be reading this.  Try to think of taxes as Angry Mob Insurance.  I know, your gated communities are impenetrable fortresses and all that, but they're a still part of this world.  (see Elysium for reference)  Do you still not need clean, breathable water and clean, drinkable air to breathe?  You don't want to have to pay for the good stuff all the time, right?  And don't you get tired of all the pyramid scheme guys trying to take your precious, precious d'argent from you with their various stupid, stupid fly-by-night ideas and shoddy products?  Try paying a little more of your fair share; you know, like you did in the Clinton years.  I know 1994 was a horrible time for you, economically, but you just gotta try to focus on the positive!  You know, like the other 99.999% of the planet does.
Anyway, it's a somewhat happy day in Sabanville, as the Power Rangers reboot comes in at #2 this week.  Also, there was a Chips movie... sorry, is that CHiPs?  I know this because Michael Pena was on "The Daily Show" and all that... but I just as quickly forgot about it.  There's Ryan Reynolds' latest; that won't slow him down much despite its tepid performance.  Also, there's one surprise film I feel like I need to mention: it's been 20 years, and it's apparently time for a sequel to Trainspotting!  Maybe I forgot the movie, or never saw it in the first place, but... shouldn't all these characters be dead, really?  I mean, what with the whole drug addiction thing and all.  But this will be nice for Ewan MacGregor, because I'm pretty sure he wanted all these years to get back at all his former fans who thought he went too soft when he started getting all the big Hollywood roles and all.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Let the Midnight Special Shine a Light on Me

...did I see the same movie?  Critical darling Mike Nichols... I mean, Jeff Nichols, can apparently do no wrong.  He is known for great-type movies like the Matthew McConaughey vehicle called Mud in which McConaughey's affinity for shirtlessness is given more import than a mere fashion ad on the back of 'W' Magazine.  I can't vouch for his segment of New York Stories... I mean, a film called Shotgun Stories, but I have it on the highest authority, The New Yorker, that Nichols has worked with actor Michael Shannon for four times now.  As a film buff, I usually appreciate the bond between actor and director, but the longer I live, and the more films Mark Wahlberg and Adam Sandler make, well...
I dunno.  Maybe I was in a bad mood, maybe I'm just jaded, maybe as the years continue to pile up I've just already been profoundly impressed by all the movies I'm going to be profoundly impressed by in this lifetime.
Let's dive into the plot instead, shall we?  We start with the abduction of a child.  The child is abducted by recently notorious fugitive Lily Tomlin... I mean, Roy Tomlin, played by Michael Shannon.  He first came to my attention in Grand Theft Parsons... why couldn't I be watching that instead?  Fellow thespian Joel Edgerton, also a hot property these days, is The Driver.  His character's name is George Lucas... sorry, confused again.  It's just Lucas.  Always the hallmark of a good movie where all the characters only have one name.  They take a cue from Terminator 2: Judgment Day; at one point, Lucas turns off the headlights, and puts on night vision goggles.  You know, wanted by fugitives and what not.


You know, every once in a while a film will be critically acclaimed, yet do nothing at the box office.  Such was the case for Midnight Special.  Every once in a while... THE PEOPLE have the right idea!!  Okay, back to the movie.  There's also a side plot involving a Koresh-style "Ranch" that the kid was abducted from... I know, I know, but it's tough to find stuff about a single raid on a Christian-type compound these days.  Maybe the one I'm thinking of involved something like the "Yearning for Zion" Ranch.  They were famous for 15 seconds because all the women wore full-length pastel gowns that looked very, very... 18th Century Puritan.  Oh, and because they were all married to one guy, something like that.  Whelp, this Ranch, headed by famous playwright and sometime actor Sam Shepard, is probably the only facet of the movie I liked... but even that gets turned to sh... oe leather.  I mean, we start with the edict from the top that these two hit-men type deals have "four days" to get the child back.  Then the compound gets raided by the FBI, but in a polite (non-Koresh) way.  This takes about a day, as most raids by the FBI do, and it seems to be a detail that director Nichols can get away with... you know, being born in flyover country and what not.  Well, so was David Gordon Green, but you don't see him crowing about it, now, do you?
Let's get back to Roy Tomlin, Lucas and the goggles-wearing, comic-book-reading child in the back seat.  As you remember, they were driving very fast in a very cool car in the dark, their headlights off, much like the opening segment of 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie.  But all fun like that must come to an end, and Lucas takes off his night vision goggles and turns on the headlights.  THAT VERY INSTANT, Lucas has to swerve out of the way of a car in the middle of the road.  THE VERY NEXT INSTANT, a truck coming the other way plows into that very same other car.  Lucas gets out of the car and runs over to check on the victim of the crash... remember, Lucas is a fugitive on the run, as are Lily Tomlin and the boy.  Several Amber Alerts are seen on TV on the local news, thereby putting a strain on the film's almost deliberately small budget.
THE VERY NEXT INSTANT, a cop car is on its way to the scene of the accident.  It gets there right away, too!  Normally, what you'd want from the police in a situation like that.  And no sooner is Lucas trying to explain the situation to the cop, than the cop turns to see the hot car on the news... oh, I almost forgot!  Lucas and company have a police scanner, and they, and the rest of us, heard the alert over the police's wire about their car.  As his training would suggest, the cop pulls his gun on the fugitives from justice.  Lucas and Tomlin pull their guns in response.  Um... to cut to the chase, Lucas puts a couple of bullets into the cop... this is a PG-13 movie, right?  Call me old fashioned, but shouldn't shooting a cop like that count as an 'R'?  I mean, even if it turns out that Lucas is a trooper himself and he knows where to shoot a guy non-lethally in his or her body armour?  (Spoiler Alert: Lucas is a trooper)
Now, remember kids, if you're going to be fugitives on the run, you're going to want to have your safe houses ready for you in advance, especially in this era of the APB App... it doesn't officially exist, mind you, but in the Smartphone Era it might as well be.  And so, Lucas and company arrive at their first safe house.  We've heard whispers up until now that this child being abducted is no mere child.  And we had a brief glimpse into that in the car, for much like a similar scene in 1997's Conspiracy Theory... I know, I know, I invoke that at my own peril, but there's a scene where Mel Gibson is watching Julia Roberts from afar, working out on a treadmill, singing along with music.  Fortunately for him, it's on the radio, and he manages to find the same station.  Similar thing with the boy, but it's in Spanish!  Now if THAT'S not talent, well...
Next scene: there's a rumbling.  At first, it seems to be a fracking-induced earthquake.  Come to find out, it's coming from the next room.  Because, much like Firestarter before him, this kid's got abilities.  Abilities beyond the you and the me, mind you, stuck here in our average, good-for-nothing bodies, leaving debt after death (Yahoo! news blurb).  Lucas and Tomlin rush to the next room, and... yup, there it is.  The host of the house is looking deep into the boy's eyes, and... can I PLEASE finish the fricking sentence?  Sorry I'm not so eloquent!  Yeesh!  Okay, let me put it this way.  We find out that the film's title, Midnight Special, REALLY ought to be X-Men Origins: Cyclops.  For those of you who don't know, Cyclops can shoot fire out of his eyes, but he has trouble controlling this power so he wears special goggles to control it.  As for those of you who are well within the know, you're probably thinking to yourself that the two are different.  Totally different!  But one thing we can agree on: the resale value of that house is going to be nil after what the kid did to it.  But it's okay because, as the owner of that safe house tells us and Lucas and Tomlin, he needed one last look... something like that.  You know, like how in The Fellowship of the Ring, Bilbo Baggins wanted to wear the ring one last time.  Even enough to hiss over it, and haunt my nightmares forever afterwords... afterwards.
There's also a shootout at a motel.  The two bad guys from the Ranch tie everyone up with Zip Strips (TM), AKA the People's Handcuffs.  One of the bad guys gets a rather bloody wound to the gut.  Now, I'm no doctor, as this blog will surely attest to, but I did see 1999's Three Kings at a Holiday Inn Express one night... love those commercials.  For those of you who can recall, there were two rather gruesome physiology lessons in Three Kings, one of them I believe was for a bullet wound in said gutty-whats.  But the bad guys are full of Ranch Power, and they're rather crucial to the plot, so no mere stomach wound's going to slow them down and or keep them from their appointed rounds.
There's also a poignant moment in the movie that sums up parenthood.  The kid is in one of those cool all-white rooms, surrounded by the top military brass... or at least, what could be assembled on such short notice on this film's small budget... 18 million, I'm told!  The kid, like a Boss (TM), tells everyone to... sorry, I kinda hate that phrase.  The kid, like the latest, hottest celebrity, knows nothing if not his worth in the current humanity marketplace, and he decrees that he will only talk to Lacombe... I'm sorry, I mean Paul Sevier, played by Adam Driver, also known as the new Darth Vader, no less!  I thought he looked familiar.  Anyway, at some point, we cut back to Michael Shannon's character.  He's standing next to a busy highway with a blood-soaked shoulder, and we wonder to ourselves if he's going to actually step in front of that big semi truck that's barrelling down the road towards all of us.  And when you get right down to it... isn't all of parenthood like this moment?  The kid gets the star treatment, and the parent is down there by the side of the road, covered in icky bodily fluids?
There's also a very very VERY VERY ridiculous scene involving that old movie staple... the barricade.  The contest this time?  On the side of authority, we've got at least two armored Humvees, and about a dozen soldiers with military assault rifles.  We've got wire, a few of those big X-shaped barricades made out of railroad ties, and one of those tire-eating chains across the road.  On the other, an Isuzu mid-sized family SUV... AND WE'RE OFF!  The Authority's looking good.  You'd think they'd have this contest in the bag.  HOWEVER, as the kid pointed out, there are many roads to the final destination: that crater in Arizona featured in Starman (1984)... sorry, wrong movie again.  Incidentally, the kid has just a dash of John Carpenter's 1995 effort thrown in, his take on Village of the Damned.  Just a dash, mind you.  Also, look at the barricade.  Is there just enough room for the vehicle to get through?  I dare say there is!  Also, the Isuzu starts to hit 100 MPH, thanks to David Tomblin's careful driving.  Also, there's the kid!  Can't he pull some extra magic trick at this point?  After all, he wasn't supposed to go out into the sun, but he proved that wrong!  And he was supposed to keep those goggles on at all times once upon a time, but he proved that wrong!  Maybe he can make a quick earthquake that will gobble up the Authority's Humvees... nope, they get their tires popped, and come to a screeching halt just past the Humvees.  The soldiers retreat to... wherever.  Somewhere behind the Humvees.  Plot device achieved.
And so, much like The Last Mimzy, we're treated to a brief glimpse into the Architecture of Tomorrow: big, tough, aggressive... more moving parts than most Swiss watches, unaffected by the ravages of accumulated depreciation.  Just saw that Nova special on origami.  Origami and fractals, man.  Boy, did I pick the wrong line of work.  Kirsten Dunst plays the boy's mother, and she gets a glimpse of the world that the boy apparently actually belongs to.  Now, if you're a smart-ass stand up comedian out there, always making jokes about Jesus and Mary and questioning the Immaculate Conception, well... who's the real father anyway?  Didn't you wonder about that at some point?  Do we find out that Sarah and Roy are actually brother and sister, and we're forced to watch the whole movie anew, now armed with that knowledge?  But it's not just Sarah who gets to see all this 31st Century architecture.  Apparently, everyone within the larger bubble, including the Army and Tomlin and Lucas, gets to see all this really cool sh... stuff.  We also see a few beings of semi-pure light walking around on the futuristic staircases and what not.  And when you get right down to it, aren't all farewells to your kids this way?  You know, the mother gets to stand there, tears in her eyes and on her braided hair, and the father and his drinking buddy view the spectacle from upside down in the wrecked family van?  No?  A bridge too far?
So, The Movie (Review) Hooligan, did you like the movie?  Well, the cinematography was just lovely, and you could barely tell it was on crappy digital video... well, except when those birds took off flying.  Just little negligible moments like that that we used to have in the days of film.  We don't need those anymore.  But did the writer director plan ahead for a sequel?  It's all in the eyes, people.  For as with Unbreakable, it's all about the acting.  Now sure, in the wrong hands, this could have easily turned into some kind of Broken Lizard camp fest.  But everyone's so serious, bordering on Mumblecore(TM) at times... I still don't know what that is, frankly.  And unlike in Unbreakable where it's all waterworks all the time, no tears are easily shed in Midnight Special.  Just at the end, I think.  And in a continuing tribute to fatherhood, we get Michael Shannon in handcuffs in what is probably a federal facility.  All he's got left now is the chance to strike a good pose, staring off into space at the rising sun and... wait a second!  Was that the boy's twinkle in his eyes?  Are there superpowers in this guy's future?  Is this the end of Critters 1 where we go over to a clutch of Critter eggs?  Well, I guess you gotta give the guy something for his trouble.  He'll need some kind of edge to get by in prison.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Ntext LT: French Rarebit

Auteur Watch - Thomas Mikal Ford

...what happens when you're a big-time director, and you die in the middle of production?  Well, in the case of Thomas Mikal Ford, we might have an answer.  Unlike the rules of succession in government, Hollywood has no similar rules.  But as any member of the increasingly visible PGA (Producers Guild of America), as you can tell from that extremely annoying practice of everyone now having "p.g.a." after their name... YEECCCCHHH... they will probably tell you that the most senior producer takes over as director.  And by "most senior," I mean the producer who sunk the most money into the production.  If, God forbid, all the producers are in a horrific traffic accident, the crew takes over, starting with the Director of Photography... or is it the editor?  I assume the cameraman and the editor duke it out for control of the pic.  Then we go to production assistants, and the lead carpenter, and on down the food chain... unless a foreign investment company buys the rights to the production, at which point they will appoint new directors and producers.
But I've divulged too much yet again.  Let's get back to Thomas Mikal Ford, AKA The Pope of Comedy.  Clearly directing was his third or fourth love at best.  I mean, when you're dealing with a polymath such as The Pope of Comedy, you can't expect him or her to devote his or her energies exclusively to one craft, especially of a managerial type such as directing or producing a Hollywood film.  But judging from the number of his credits alone, acting clearly is #1 at 83 credits, followed by 9 producer credits, and followed by the highly coveted "Self" at 7 credits.  And alas, he departed this mortal coil too soon, leaving only four directing credits to his credit.  Up first is a stint on the show "Boulevard West."  Apparently, it wasn't worthy of his acting talents, so let's move on.  His next, "Beat Street (Resurrection)" was worthy of said acting talents, but he relied on a co-director for that one.
Ford passed on before Conflict of Interest could be released... it hasn't been released yet, right?  Apparently, no one knows, but I gotta say... the plot description doesn't fill me with a lot of confidence.  I mean, any time you have a vague phrase such as in the film's "Plot Summary," well... first of all, they gave away the ending.  And second, the ending is that "family is God's most precious gift to us."  Now, I haven't seen the film yet, and this is God we're talking about.  Maybe God's most precious gift is giving us the ability to build the tools to explore space.  I mean... there's a lot of space out there!  Lots of galaxies, globular clusters, Earth-like planets where we could set up shop anew and totally f... mess up in addition to Earth.  And what about all those burnt out stars that are apparently giant masses of diamond?  Sounds more valuable than family to me!  I mean, don't get me wrong.  I love family as much as the next person, but... you get me one of those white dwarves, break it up into pieces, and build some 22nd-Century infrastructure out of it.  Now we're talking!
Anyway, let's get to the other one, tentatively called Changing Lanes... I mean, Switching Channels... I mean, Switching Lanes.  Phooey.  I'm always getting those mixed up.  See, that's the problem when you're a dead director.  Take Eyes Wide Shut, for example.  I mean, Kubrick left very detailed instructions to... someone.  Actually, he left one hand-written note that said "PLEASE don't let this be my last film!"  Oh, s'z'nap.  So we may never know what Switching Lanes is ultimately going to end up looking like.  It probably won't conform to the director's original vision.  Maybe it will.

You know, when you Get right down To It............

Faithful readers of this dreck I produce will surely note, especially if they use some flavour of "word cloud" software, that I've been saying that thing for years now.  Months even, when it comes to relationships between men and women.  I mean, aren't all marriages between men and women, and all stages of relationships leading to the pinnacle of marriage, just like Beauty and the Beast?  You know, she's a princess, and he smells like he just came in from shoveling various animal dungs at the circus.  Show biz, baby!  Nothing like it.
I think it has something to do with the Internet.  You work with a computer long enough, and you start to see the world in terms of Xs and O's... or was it 0s and 1s?  You know, Boolean-type logic.  If only Freud had access to an abacus in his time, modern psychology textbooks might be a lot different.  Alot. 
But new, cutting-edge HD/3D revampings of the same old stories can still turn a buck or two, and it's a happy day in the Magic Kingdom.  Why, even Walt Disney's frozen head must've cracked a bit of a smile!  Also, they had a blurb about it on my local radio news report.  "They say that the new Beauty and the Beast, despite the new gay character, is going to crack the 100 million mark!"  Well, I guess 170 million will just have to do.  Wonder if the Chinese have illegal Blu-Ray (TM) copies of it for sale yet... and WITH commentary, no less!  Sure, the commentary track is in Chinese and all, but they've got Celebrity Insight (TM) technology now!  They're able to fake the typical observations made on a commentary track.  You know, production went slightly over schedule; such-and-such was a pain in the ... to work with, but they brought their A game anyway; it was a joy, what have you.  And I finally wondered who's the director responsible for all this... Bill Condom?  Dude's on a veritable streak!  Good for him.  Between this and the last two Twilight movies, he's set for life.  All he needs to do is get those incessant calls from Michael Laughlin to stop, and life will be perfect.  One long, rosy crucifixion.
Now, the new Beauty and the Beast did well and all... or did it?  I mean, look at this!  Another debut debuted in the Top 10 this week.  No, seriously... LOOK AT !T.  It's called The Belko Experiment and, true to its subject matter, debuts somewhere below the Top 5.  If you want to be well within the limits of the Top 5, you need more conventional material.  But the director's not the important one here, though.  No, it's out-of-left-field Wunderkind James Gunn.  This is one of his small projects in between installments of the franchise-to-be called Guardians of the GalaxyVolume 2 is due out this May, and it's probably going to make about 170 million on its opening weekend.  Wonder when it'll actually turn a profit.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Next LT: Bunny Hugged

Auteur Watch - Geoffrey Fletcher

Now, sure, I could sit here and say about Geoffrey Fletcher's solo directing effort Violet & Daisy "Hey, Violet & DaisyHanna called; wants its plot back!"  But that's too easy!  And besides, don't we owe the whole Underaged-Girl-as-Assassin thing to Kick-Ass 1?

Hollywood's Perpetual Adolescence, Part XXIV

...did I use this one before?  Well, Kong: Skull Island is the big winner this week, so when I think of an island in the movies, I think... yeah, that one there.  I also think, man!  There's NO WAY an insurance company's going to let a movie star climb up a mountain like that.  NO way!  Must be a stunt double.  Of course, some of these stunt doubles must be pretty valuable too.  We watched all the extras on The Big Lebowski Blu-Ray last night, and Jeff Bridges was going on and on about his stunt double.  "He's done 80 movies with me, we went to high school together, friends for 50 years..."  That kind of stuff.  And yes, it's the jealousy talking.  So far, the only high school mates I have on Facebook are ones that didn't have to put up with me in grade school.  And isn't that as it should be?
But the big Kong movie when I was growing up was a big stinker called King Kong Lives.  Another gem from Dino De Laurentiis, probably produced in Wilmington, North Carolina, or as Dino liked to call it, "The Sicily of the South, but with better Tax Breaks on Film Production."  I only saw a little bit of it on television once, and it was the part where Kong eats a guy.  And I couldn't help but think to myself, "Hmm!  Kong ate a guy?  Kong shouldn't eat a guy!"  It's probably why on a very special Halloween episode of "The Simpsons", which I believe was called "King Homer," we have Homer as King Kong.  And he eats about ten or twenty people, give or take.  Now, that we expect.
But that was the old Hollywood.  I mean, for God's sake.  What a difference a generation makes.  Film companies were still struggling with the new art of transferring 35mm films to quarter inch VHS tape, and not well.  Why, how many shows did Siskel and Ebert devote to "panning and scanning"?  Probably less than I think, but still!  Now we live in the era of HD television, and even veteran silver screener Joe Dante thinks film and TV are equal now.  And frankly, I'm starting to think that the stuff coming out of my HDTV looks better than old celluloid.  As for the art of celluloid storytelling, well... that seems to be improving as well, and I'm confident that the screenplay geniuses behind Kong: Skull Island did everything they could to make a viscerally entertaining action pic for the Rubes and the Rednecks, while throwing in enough future-proofing and in-jokes for the Hollywood insider crowd.  Of course, no one seems to like to do odes to O.P.E. and P.O.E. anymore.
And so, the Kong movie was the only debut this week, which gives me time to focus on less important things.  A feature I used to do was look back at the year in flops.  And by flops, I mean a film that was in the Top 10 for only one week, then disappeared.  Sometimes they would come back, especially if it was an independent feature that got a couple Oscar nominations, but usually they don't.  I don't know why I stopped this feature.  Maybe it was too depressing, even for me... but I did take a look back at this year so far and... permit me to do a direct address to Hollywood a la Bernie Mac in his "The Bernie Mac Show" on Fox. 

Hollywood?  I think you need to checkity-check yo'self!  I mean, we got Manchester by the... wait, skip that one.  We got The Bye Bye Man. (it said "buh-bye")  We got The Founder. (it floundered)  We got A Cure for Wellness (yeah, it's called Trump)... Gold!  We've got Gold, for God's sake.  How do you screw up a movie called Gold?  That's how jaded people are, Hollywood.  They see that title and go, "Ah, there's probably no useful tips in there.  We can't afford to take time off to go to Indonesia anyway.  Anyway, now that we saw that movie about how the McDonald brothers got ripped off, let's go to McDonald's... I mean, Taco Bell.  Let's be 'Breakfast Changers' or whatever the hell it is..."

Sunday, March 05, 2017

next LT: Bugs Bunny Rides Again

Remember VCRs at all?  I sorta do, especially when it comes to short films like Bugs Bunny Rides Again.  You'll maybe see the old tapes in pawn shops, or at the Goodwill or other thrift stores... actually, the old pawn shop that used to have a whole section of a wall dedicated to old VCR tapes finally got rid of them.  Who knew?  Nobody wants and or needs them anymore!  I mean, Tom Hanks already lashed together his makeshift raft with them in Cast Away (2000), so what's the point anymore?  No more time for sentiment or nostalgia that old at the pawn shop.  But there's still a slight call for video in physical form, rather than computer file or streaming form.  The latest and greatest format is Ultra HD Blu-Ray, because now that HDTVs, projector form or otherwise, are getting bigger and bigger, people are starting to notice that, yup... the digital resolution's not keeping apace, so they gotta fix that now.  Still gotta wait for that better color (TV) set, so to speak.
But for those who used VCRs at any great length of time, this one's for you.  I say that because the VCR mindset still lives on a little bit, and now it's being incorporated into a few films.  Has been for a while, really.  Take 2006's testosterone-fueled classic-ish silver screen offering, 300, for example.  It's for those people who liked the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but who thought to themselves, "Why are there so many female characters?  Icky!"  I wouldn't dare try to demean 300 by calling it a mere action film, but it does indeed contain action scenes, if I may point that out.  In fact, I dare say the film was rather proud of how entertaining its action scenes were going to be.  So proud and self-confident, in fact, that it would slow down the good parts for you!  In advance!  For when you were to check out 300 on VHS from your local library, there might be certain scenes you'd either pause, or rewind a couple times.  You know, just to revel in its ultra-transcendent awesomeness.  Again and again.  But the filmmakers tried to save you the trouble, and slowed down certain critical moments of action.  Just to make sure you wouldn't miss them.  One example of this is where you have a crowd of people, WHEN SUDDENLY... one of them leaps up, aims their hand-held weapon, and SLASH!  All in slow motion.  This also happens in the first big scene from the latest Tarzan movie.  Alas, I must be jaded now by this technique, because I did not feel the need to rewind it and watch it again.  Oh, it was epic and all, don't get me wrong.
And not only that, they also occasionally do the opposite, and slightly fast-forward past a part that the focus group found a trifle boring!  Even in an action sequence!  Oh, but I digress again.  Let's get back to our latest and greatest, Bugs Bunny Rides Again, another Friz Freleng-Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam classic.


We start with... one nice thing about DVDs is that you can pause them and not have to worry about stressing out the disc.  Now, the CD player in my car, on the other hand... a little overheating, and it can't handle it!  Just can't.  A lot.  I guess sitting out in the sun all day isn't good for the car's CD player, go figure.  Anyway, pausing the VCR tape has that potential for being bad.  More than five minutes was the rule of thumb, if I may use that expression.  On the other hand, when's the last time you heard about someone wearing out a DVD of Fast Times at Ridgemont High?  Wonder if Cameron Crowe ever beams with pride over that?
Okay, back to beeswax.  Bugs Bunny Rides Again is indeed a thinly-veiled parody of a Western, and we start with... what else?  Bullets.  Just bullets.  A wide angle shot of a Western Town, and the bullets are flying.  Kinda sounds like someone's got a machine gun or two in the mix down there, but whatever.  As long as it's consistent with the 1880s... you know, the official era of the Western.  It's like what the 1970s are for Disco; it just is.  It is what it is!
Next scene: more bullets, but there's a nice, sly commentary about traffic problems.  They even have a shout out to that phenomenon of that one guy who runs the red light, and everyone in the opposite lane has to wait.  Now, c'mon.  You gotta like that!  Because even cartoon bullets have some etiquette.  Classic.  I should probably recuse myself from this one, but, you know... I'm not a Russian spy, so I won't.  Chuck Jones used a similar gag in one of his Westerns, but it just wasn't as funny; at least not to me... Drip-Along Daffy, that's it.  Like and Subscribe!  Like and Subscribe!  I'm mo git me some Like and Subscribe... oh, right.  That's YouTube.  Waah. :( [sniff, wipe away tear}  }:
Next scene: exterior.  It's the "Gunshot Saloon," where you go in to get a slug.  I'm actually kinda shocked!  When you think of Friz Freleng and the Looney Tunes, you tend to think shout outs to either Friz himself, or several of his employees.  Hasn't happened yet, but it's coming, folks.  I highly doubt that there was a Josiah Cheever on the animation staff, but who knows.  Lol.  Maybe he worked in the mail room or something.  Anyway, back to the actual movie, where the incidental music switches off, and saloon music from a lone piano switches on.  You know, if this one had a commentary track, AND IT SHOULD... they might mention something about the genius of Carl Stalling, that he used to play an organ for silent pictures, or maybe some juicy tidbit about how they had to go on location to a live-action WB Western to get the authentic sound of a saloon-type piano.  But no.  All they focus on is the next scene, where a guy gets shot over his drink, and how creepy it all is.  And what really makes it creepy is how fast it happens, and how normal it all seems.  Creepy, creepy, creepy... IT'S A CARTOON!!!!  IT'S JUST A CARTOON!!!!!!!!!!!  JUST A FUNNY LITTLE CARTOON FOR THE TIDDLY-WINKIES... sorry, I apologize.  Sorry for shouting.  And yes, I'm probably being a little hypocritical.  Or a lot.  Creepy.  Everything's creepy... and what about that topless woman on the wall there?  How did that get past the censors?  Why is this not rated GP or X or NC-17?  Or B for boobs?
Next scene: a woman screams.  Note that it doesn't seem to be because of the incidental character that just got shot.  No, it's time for Yosemite Sam's big introduction.  For a short guy, he sure scares a lot of taller people!  You really gotta admire that about him!... I mean, the guy!  Sam walks in to the Gunshot Saloon... completely under the swinging doors, naturally.  Then guys start saying "It's Yosemite Sam!  It's YOSEMITE SAM!!!"  Now, Blanc was the man, perhaps the greatest living cartoon voice maven of all time... including Cretaceous and Devonian, with Dan Castellaneta a close second, of course.  But even Blanc had some limitations, and one of the guys saying "It's Yosemite Sam!" SOUNDS LIKE Yosemite Sam.
Now, in my carefree, ill-spent youth, watching Bugs Bunny Rides Again on old purloined VCR tape, I think I first noticed something in Sam's big introduction.  He introduces himself as usual, in that larger-than-life self-referential way of his.  But then he says "And I AIN'T no Mamby Pamby!"  Now, call me oversensitive, but I seemed to notice that the quality of the audio changed a little bit, and I think I noticed that Sam's mouth didn't quite sync up somehow.  Believe it or not, these little details matter.  I forget which one it was, but I saw some of the early silent cartoons, and the characters were mouthing some line of dialogue.  And if you were to see it, you'd probably think to yourself what I thought to myself, and that is... what the hell was THAT?  Did the cat just come in through the flap, and is the flap swinging back and forth?  What is that, is a FISH trying to BREATHE out of the water?  Good fricking LOURDES!
But we are living in a post-secrets society, and all we have to do is turn to Wikipedia for the answer.  Right there near the top, they say that it was changed.  They changed "Mamby Pamby" from "Mahatma Gandhi."  Apparently, the cartoon was released the same year that Gandhi was assassinated, and someone wasn't too happy about that line in the cartoon!  But that's the irony of the times for ya.  Meanwhile, all the blackface and making fun of Native Americans that occurred in Looney Tunes... all that stuff could stay.
Okay, let's move on to the next tiny detail.  Sam is done introducing himself, so now it's time to lay down some law.  As you might remember, law without order is worse than order without law... I was going to post a link to it, but I dunno!  Maybe I'll just let you guys scratch the itch instead.  No contest, no reward money, none of that "Hit the Watermelon and earn $10" crap that used to appear on the web all over the place, just suffer in silence or non as you try to place the quote.  Anyway, Sam says "Now all you skunks clear outta here!"  Then he starts shooting the two guns.  Your favourite and mine is, of course, when he fires a bullet into the floor, thereby causing himself to jump up in the air about three feet, or about the full length of his height.  You know how in Astronomy 101 they refer to the Earth's orbit as 1.0 units?  Same thing here.  1.0 units of Sam's height.
Next scene: the skunks clear out of Gunshot Saloon, running past Skunk-in-Chief Sam himself.  And I dare say that Sam gets a little enjoyment out of watching all the scaredy cats running past him, even though there's no grin on his face.  And then, of course, because cartoons have to take things literally, an actual skunk starts to run out.  And, dare I say... a GAY skunk at that?  Holding one of those hobo bags on a stick?  Ever do that when you were a kid?  Tie a bunch of stuff in a towel onto the end of a stick?  Ah, the good old days.  We used to have a house with endless forest in the backyard... well, semi-endless.  And every once in a while, we'd take a walk to the edge of the forest to find the dead end street that ran behind it, then walk back up the hill to our house.  Different era.  Completely different.  Lower middle class people in Washington state back then could have such amenities.  Someday I'll gather you all around me and I'll tell you about mythical things we used to have like forests.  We cleared them all away to make suburbs.  It didn't used to be all Scotch broom like it is now.
Next scene: there's one last skunk trying to sneak away.  Seems there always is.  Well, Sam starts shooting the dickens out of that guy and... it's apparently an homage to an old carnival game.  One that involves the use of a gun, and you shoot at targets.  Note the scoreboard above the dude's head!  The picture quality of the DVD is so good that I just finally noticed that the yellow numbers at the top of the "screen" are painted anew each time one is added... makes sense.  You don't want to have six layers of cels if you can help it, as much time as that would save.  Here's one drawback of the VCR: those numbers used to get cut off!  Oh, I'm telling you kids, it's video's Golden Age.  No more pan and scan (even though I kinda miss it), no more stuff like that cut off...


Probably time for an Act break, even if it's a little early.  Spoiler alert: time for Bugs' intro.  Sam of Yosemite wants to make doubly sure that there's no one left in the saloon.  Sam's a lot like James Thorogood that-a-way: when he drinks alone, he drinks alone.  However, there's one guy left, and the music changes a little bit, in order to telegraph a change in the mood as our focus is drawn away from the loudest, shortest guy in the room.
Next scene: ah, you can feel the clichés, can't ya?  Seriously, though, who in Hollywood doesn't love a good Western?  Alas, we're stuck with Bugs Bunny Rides Again.  But give Bugs credit where it's due: he can be the coolest rabbit in the room with the best of 'em.  He can roll his own cigarette, for God's sake!  I keep confusing this one for the one where Bugs just says "Yep!" after the big dramatic slow intro in that one.  Oh well.  Here Bugs answers Sam with "I aims t'!"  (oh, the Closed Captioning's so white bread.)
Next scene: the slow march to density... destiny.  One step per second, saves some wear and tear on the overtaxed animators.  And even though Bugs' giant rabbit feet aren't in boots, they still clang with each step, just like Elmer's... I mean, Yosemite Sam's.  And then, soon enough, there they are, nose to nose.  Bugs draws first... oh, wait, he's just reaching for a carrot.  A move like that could've gotten you killed in the Old West.  But no time for that.  It's on to Bugs' new old catch phrase, which Sam repeats, then he points two guns at Bugs.  For some reason, this threat of violence is somehow worse than the anonymous, cross-eyed expendable from earlier.  How is that?  Well, perhaps it's star power... something like that.
And then... you know, it's been a while since we've had a corny joke.  Well, to be fair, cartoons have the opportunity to put their own unique spin on a corny joke or, in this case, a Western cliché.  Alas, I'm no historian of clichés.  For a guy like me, I'm having a hard enough time just trying to keep up on clichés, new and old.  If only I had catalogued them, or maybe had a photographic memory, like Matt Groening or something... I might've actually made something of myself.  There's two bunnies in our front yard!  Anyway, back to the cartoon, speaking of bunnies.  Sam tells Bugs, "This town ain't big enough for the two of us."  Of course, with an egomainac like Sam, it's probably more like three: Bugs, Sam, and Sam's ego.  Bugs runs off to remedy this population crisis.  We hear various industrial sounds like sawing, hammering, what have you.  Bugs returns, holding a saw, and asks "NOW is it big enough?"  Next scene: a visual punchline, which I dare not ruin here in this space.  You'll have to hunt for it yourself.
Needles to say, Sam's not happy with Bugs' remedy.  Typical Tea Party-Freedom Caucus-type reaction.  Nothing's ever good enough, government is bad, tax cuts for the rich are the only thing that's good.  And then, time for another joke that only a cartoon could do.  I have yet to see a live-action Western do an homage to this sequence.  Maybe the Zuckers did it, or maybe Mel Brooks in Blazing Saddles, or maybe Seth MacFarlane in A Million Ways to Die in the West... ooh!  Just thought of that one Itchy and Scratchy they had in Ghost Dog at the end of the film where the cat and mouse involved find themselves with larger and larger guns.  An homage, really.  It ends better for Yosemite, even though his pride's still hurt.
Next scene: Bugs takes off running, but no matter where he goes, there's Yosemite Sam!  Bugs stops, midair, making a weird horn noise... I don't recall offhand where it's used elsewhere.  I'm thinking of the one that Chuck Jones used in one of his Orange Monster pics where Bugs keeps poking him in the eyes, Stooges style.  Anyway, the main takeaway of this is, it's time for that old staple of the Western pic, when the bad guy exercises his Second Amendment rights, and shoots at another guy's feet, and exclaims "Dance!"  There was a scene like this when Bluto, or Sindbad, is making Olive dance in Popeye the Sailor meets Sindbad the Sailor.  It's also featured in Back to the Future, Part III and in GoodFellas... both from 1990!  Is my age showing or what?
And so, in this grand tradition, Sam shoots a couple bullets at Bugs' feet, and Bugs starts in with the dancing.  Bugs does a tap dance number, accompanied by hat and cane.  He does a similar jig to similar music in Stage Door Cartoon.  And here's a real bit of Cultura Obscura for you: one time on Al TV... you know, when "Weird Al" Yankovic would hijack the airwaves of MTV and do his shtick, one time he did his own fan version of this one Matthew Sweet video that featured animé... "Girlfriend"!  That's it!  Wonder whatever happened to that guy?  Anyway, after some more browsing on YouTube, here's Weird Al's take on the video, and here's the part with Bugs dancing from this very cartoon we're looking at right now!  Now, to be fair, the film by itself still has showmanship that modern audiences can relate to.  Particularly, the part where Bugs tries to sneak off, mid-dance.  Sam quickly puts a stop to that, firing another bullet.  Bugs gets right back to "center stage," right there in between the Study Club and Ken Champin's Veterinary... Study Club?!  VETERINARY?  Of course, back then, the vet was the blacksmith, and he'd usually just shoot a horse that had a broken leg.  You know, much like what we do today!  Some things never change.
Bugs finds an opportunity to turn the tables, and takes it.  "Take it, Sam!" says Bugs.  And, for whatever reason, Sam does what this talking rabbit tells him to.  Sure, they've just been fighting, and Sam shot at him a couple dozen times, but that's one of the unspoken rules that used to be respected.  When a talking rabbit tells you to do something, you just do it.  No matter how much you've just been trying to kill him.  And so, Sam does indeed take the next part of the dance.  And you gotta hand it to Sam!  He seems to be about as good a tap dancer as Bugs is!  And arguably Sam's got a better, um... what would you call that?  An exit dance?  Incidentally, also used in Stage Door Cartoon; alas, I gotta wait til Season 2, Disc 4... I mean, Volume 2, Disc 4 for that one.
And so, we come to yet another part that I used to laugh myself silly with.  Sam does his Exit Dance, Stage Left, and, with Bugs' blessing, he falls into a very, very deep mine shaft.  Apparently, he forgot that old Showbiz rule about not falling into a mine shaft.  And you certainly can't fault the various safety committees!  I mean, it says right there in yellow rubric above the mine shaft!  It says "DANGER"!  But Sam did indeed miss it, and down he goes.  Audiophiles take note: as Sam is dropping... alas, we don't get to see him fall, because we get a shot of the mine shaft after Sam's already fallen into darkness... Sam is apparently bumping into the mine shaft walls quite a bit as he falls, taking a lot of extra falderal with him as he reaches his final destination, at the very bottom of the mine shaft.  "Poor little maroon," taunts Bugs at ground level.  I know Sam had it coming and all, but...
Next scene: a car full of mining waste arrives back at the surface, and dumps its contents onto the ground.  Next scene: Sam emerges from said ground contents, and is back at square one, pissed off at Bugs.  Lol.  Why does it always take him seven minutes to learn?

Auteur Watch - Antwone Fisher

Boy, what it must do to a man to have his first movie with his own name as the title.  Well, seeing as how we have only the one case study to draw from, really, it's probably premature to draw terribly sweeping conclusions.  I mean, I love Antwone Fisher as much as the next movie blogger, but he's no Augusten Burroughs or Charlie Bartlett... oh, wait, Charlie Bartlett is fictional, by which I mean loosely autobiographical on someone, and even Augusten Zen Burroughs was bourne as Christopher Robi(n)son.  But look at it this way: he's one superpower away from joining the X-Men, am I right?
But according to the A.V. Club, apparently mentioned on "Saturday Night Live," Fisher's stock in trade is triumph over adversity, whether it's his own growing up in the Navy, or his own growing up in Atlanta, or... well, at least My Summer Friend is based on someone else for a change!
Anyway, having conquered the world of the autobiography, it was time to tackle the world of the documentary, or in Antwone's case, the autobiography of someone else for a change.  And just like Scorsese trying to rip off Ken Burns with Gangs of New York,... I don't know how to finish that sentence.  Anyway, what Antwone's next project was was called This Life of Mine The Leon T. Garr Story, a story full of triumph over adversity, and even greater triumph over grammar... I mean, shouldn't there be a '-' or a ":" in between the "Mine" and the "The"?  Am I right, middle school English teachers?  Well, I hate to say it, but if I were Leon T. Garr, I wouldn't be too proud.  I mean, this is a guy who apparently amassed millions of dollars, yet the film of his life story only cost $100,000!  What's a guy gotta do around here?  You mean to tell me he couldn't get David O. Russell to do a Joy-type treatment of the material?
Having all but quit the business, Antwone wades a little deeper into the deep end of the pool now with his next effort, and it's tentatively called Lincoln Perry.  Um... Madea called, wants his/her franchise back!

Just a Guy (Named Logan) and That's All Right

While we're waiting for the IMDb to give us new box office numbers, let's get into national politics a little bit... I know, I know, too easy these days.  And all the wise-ass comedians are trying to stomp on Trump's buzz, post-non State of the Union speech to Congress... I guess no one wants to hear what Trump has to say about the state of our union.  I'm sure it'll be positive.  He'll try to be gentle, saying something like "Now that I'm president, I just realized... America, you're getting kinda old!  240 is pretty old for a country.  Now, take Iraq.  Iraq's got the right idea.  She's 15 years old this year!  She's got a new constitution, and she's great at fancy pageant walkin' and what not.  I'd walk in on that!  'Oops, sorry, I thought this was the supplies closet.  But as long as I'm here... and this is a big 'but', folks..."  Okay, better quit now.
See that?  I already forgot what the other outrage was.  Oh, now I remember.  Thinking it was still the campaign, Trump once again tweeted about Obama "founding" Isis.  Ah, he's just jealous because Isis is doing better than most Trump companies... no, wait, Trump tweeted that Obama "wiretapped" Trump Tower, one day before the election or so.  Wonder how Twitter CEO Biz Stone is sleeping these days.  Is he sleeping well?  Does he still think Twitter's a good idea?  Does he still like being Facebook but with less features?  Maybe Biz should get out, take a drive somewhere, maybe get an Uber.  Personally, I long for the 80s, mostly because it's the era of my ill-spent adolescence, but mostly because there was still some integrity in the Get Rich Quick crowd.  You know, we may have had our disagreements, but we all agreed that nuclear annihilation from the Russkies was a bad thing.  Now we've got a president that's worried because our nukes are, and I quote, "just sitting there."  I mean, for God's sake!  The Russians wait in line for toilet paper!  They bug their own people!  Now we live in the Amazon era, where toilet paper comes via the mailman (me, BTW), and people freely bug themselves (social media and what not).  Hey, whatever it takes to get that 15 minutes, am I right?  We don't know what it takes!  Could be anything!  Maybe a blog sometimes about movies!
But back to the allegations of wiretapping.  Now, as any regular reader of this well-esteemed blog, occupying valuable hard drive space somewhere on what is surely a secure server farm, will know, there is no one on God's semi-green planet that hates illegal wiretaps more than I do... but look at what we could learn!  Am I right?  Trump Tower?  The things that must go on there.  Oh, but to be a fly on the wall at that otherwise very clean, very busy edifice of the last vestiges of American capitalism / exceptionalism.  But hey, just give us the tax returns and we're (non-showers) golden.  Must be some pretty bad stuff in there, that I can tell you.
...well, clearly I didn't learn the big takeaway lesson from 2002's The Count of Monte Cristo, because I didn't wait for the IMDb to cough up some new numbers.  They finally coughed up last week's numbers after some empty page refreshes, but I finally decided to go to Variety to find out what's what.  The much-advertised Logan was the big winner this weekend... see, Logan is Wolverine's birth name, or somethign... something.  As it happens, Deadpool was no mere isolated incident, the lone 'R'-rated superhero movie satire in a long line of Marvel(TM) superhero movies, and a few DC Comics ones.  But I am a Traditionalist (C) and I think that PG-13 will be the rating that movie studios turn to in order to get that core 18-49 demographic off their fat, underexercised asses and into the air-conditioned multiplexes for the latest Ryan Reynolds and or Lady Gaga delivery device... even though now it's basically an R rating in disguise, especially if the pic costs $100 million or more.
(Monday evening) ...okay, the numbers are officially in.  Now, Hugh Jackman swears that this will be the last Wolverine movie he does, but I dunno... seeing as how it's #1 by a wide margin, even in March, I think the market has spoken!  Surely there's just one more Wolverine movie in him?  I mean, given his last couple of bombs, particularly Pan... ouch, okay, that was a little mean.  I mean, Roger Moore finally hung up James Bond when he turned 60.  What's YOUR excuse, Jackman?  Surely the geniuses over at Marvel have thought of this in the storyline, or is Wolverine just 25 forever?  In any event, back to your plate of skinless chicken breast, Hugh!  You've got a physique to maintain, dude.
The only other two debuts this week... strange.  Key and Peele's movie debuts at #1 last week, shutting out any and all other newcomers.  Meanwhile this week it's Marvel's latest and greatest R-rated fare, and we've got two other debuts on the horizon.  This is not the stuff of blockbusters, Marvel my friend.  The block doesn't need repaving today.  Anyway, the corporate mindset triumphs this week in the stories being peddled at the box office.  We've got Before I Fall about the lady in those ads where she says "I've fallen and I can't get up!" when she was younger.  She wore glasses when she was younger, but she takes them off, and the romantic lead says "My God!  You're BEAUTIFUL!"  The other debut is called The Shack and it's about the first Radio Shack, and in the Third Act, we find out why they came to the decision to start asking people their phone numbers.  Spoiler alert: it wasn't good.  And the Unabomber was only indirectly responsible.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Short Reviews - March 2017

Jack and the Beanstalk (1902) - With Thomas White as Jack

The Fairylogue and Radio-Plays - With Bronson Ward Jr. as Jack Pumpkinhead... whose Brains are Seeds

The Guerrilla - With Arthur V. Johnson as Jack Stanford

The Friend of the Family - With Frank Powell as Jack Hudson

The Hindoo Dagger - With Harry Solter as Jack Windom

His Duty - With Kate Bruce as Mrs. Jack Allen

The Little Teacher - With Arthur V. Johnson as Jack Browning

Lucky Jim - With MACK SENNETT as Jack!!!!!

The Open Gate - With Owen Moore as Jack... George's nephew (like I need to tell you)

The Restoration - With Owen Moore as Jack

Those Awful Hats - With Mack Sennett as Man in Checkered Jacket and Top Hat (uncredited)

The Bad Man's Christmas Gift - With Brinsley Shaw as Jack Brinsley

The Engineer's Daughter - With Carlyle Blackwell as Jack Sinclair (unconfirmed)

The Girl on Triple X -!  Even back then, huh?  I mean... with Gilbert M. "Bronc(h)o Billy" Anderson as Jack Hartley

Her Terrible Ordeal - With Owen Moore as Jack

An Indian Girl's Love - With Gilbert M. "Bronc(h)o Billy" Anderson as Jack Hartley Sherwood

A Mother's Devotion; or, The Firing of the Patchwork Quilt - With Robert Gaillard as Jack McCoy... the Son

Pals of the Range - ...TWO Jacks?  That must've been confusing

The Ranch Girl's Legacy - With Gilbert M. "Bronc(h)o Billy" Anderson as Jack Tyler

The Ranchman's Feud - With John B. O'Brien as Jack Matthews

The Angel of Paradise Ranch - With J. Warren Kerrigan as Jack

The Battle of Bunker Hill - With Frank McGlynn Sr. as Jack - a Colonial Officer

The Child Crusoes - With Kenneth Casey as Jack... a Young Stowaway

Comrades - With John T. Dillon as Jack

A Country Cupid - With Edwin August as Jack

The Country Lovers - With Mack Sennett as Happy Jack

Flo's Discipline - With Owen Moore as Jack Doyle - Assistant Principal

Forgiven in Death - With Gilbert M. "Bronc(h)o Billy" Anderson as Jack

The Girl Back East - With Gilbert M. "Bronc(h)o Billy" Anderson as Jack King

The Gold Lust - With J. Warren Kerrigan as Jack Caxton

The Indian Maiden's Lesson - With Arthur Mackley as Jack Beardsley

The Law of the Range - With Harold Lockwood as Jack Corning - the Sheriff's Son

Love Heeds Not Showers - With Owen Moore as Jack

Love and Hatred - That's what you need tonight... I mean, with Charles Ogle as Jack - the First Suitor

Sweet Memories - With Jack (Johnny) Pickford as Young Earl Jackson

The Thumb Print - With Earle Williams as Jack Plympton - Helen's Sweetheart

A True Westerner - With Gertrude Claire as Jack's Mother (and Bob's)

The Two Fugitives - With Gilbert M. "Bronc(h)o Billy" Anderson as Jack Harvey

The Two-Gun Man - With Gilbert M. "Bronc(h)o Billy" Anderson as Jack Harvey... the Two-Gun Man

When a Man's Married, His Trouble Begins - With James Morrison as Jack Howard

Saved By the Pony Express - With Thomas (J.) Carrigan as Happy Jack

Cally's Comet - With William Garwood as Jack

The Pasha's Daughter - With William Garwood as Jack Stevens

The Apache Renegade - With Carlyle Blackwell as Jack Lane... a Cowboy

The Close of the American Revolution - With Ben F. Wilson as Jack Jouett... an American Patriot

The Cub Reporter's Big Scoop - With Harold Lockwood as Jack Hunter... Reporter

The Dam Builder - With George Lessey as Jack Marley

A Double Reward - With Francis Ford as Jack Williams

Fog - With Marc McDermott as Hon. Jack Penberberry

For Her - With Robert Brower as Mr. Hanley... Jack's Father

For the Cause - With Ray Myers as Jack

Friends - With Henry B. Walthall as Dandy Jack

Buford's Beach Bunnies - ...with David Robinson as "The Amazing Foreskin"!  What a relief.  Thought I just imagined it.  For now, however, the IMDb seems to be a little squeamish about this character's name.  Rightfully so, Frank Lee.