Monday, June 14, 2021

Cinema Connections 1

Cinema Connections 1


Flintstones (1994) and The Ten Commandments (1956)

Henry Corden (1920-2005) provided the voice of Fred Flintstone in cartoons from 1977 to the mid-1990s. Before that the Canadian actor had appeared in The Ten Commandments in the role of the Sheik of Sinai.

The Ten Commandments (1956) and Spartacus (1960)

Woody Strode (1914-1994) was an actor in both films, first as the King of Ethiopia, and second, and more memorably, as Draba in Spartacus. Also, both epic movies were released on Presidential election years.

Spartacus (1960) and Julius Caesar (1953)

Not only did the actor Robert Fuller (b. 1933) appear in both films, but he also had a role in the previously mentioned Ten Commandments as well. He was an uncredited extra in all three.

Julius Caesar (1953) and Julius Caesar (1970)

Aside from both being based on the same play by Shakespeare, John Gielgud (1904-2000) appeared as Cassius with his "lean and hungry look" in 1953, and then under the title role in 1970.

Julius Caesar (1970) and Cleopatra (1963)

Maurice Pelling (1920-1973) of the United Kingdom won an Oscar for his art direction in Cleopatra. He later was the art director for Julius Caesar.

(1963) and Antony and Cleopatra (TV movie : 1974)

Same historical characters. As an aside Liz (1963 Cleopatra) Taylor was also in the first listed Flintstones. I still can't believe she's gone.

Antony and Cleopatra (TV movie : 1974) and I, Claudius (miniseries : 1976)

Patrick Stewart (b. 1940) in his pre-Picard days appears in both, first as Enobarbus and secondly as Sejanus. 

I, Claudius (miniseries : 1976) and Barabbas (1961)

Both included the historical figure of Nero.

Barabbus (1961) and Ben-Hur (1959)

The British actor Laurence Payne (1919-2009) was cast as a disciple in the former and as Joseph, father of Jesus in the latter.

Ben-Hur (1959) and The Robe (1953)

George Relph (1888-1960) played Tiberius in the 1959 film, Ernest Thesiger (1879-1961) in the 1953 movie. Both men served in the British Army during WWI and were wounded. They appeared together in a Karloff title, The Ghoul (1933) and a comedy Doctor at Large (1957) and died less than 9 months apart in London.

The Robe (1953) and Quo Vadis (1951)

The posters for both movies were created by the German artist Will Williams (1922-2015).

Quo Vadis (1951) and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

"Quo Vadis" translates from Latin to "Where are you going?" (i.e. "What ... is your quest?") to which Monty Python replies, "To seek the Holy Grail." Bonus point, one of Grail's ads, "Makes Ben-Hur look like an epic."

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) and A Performance of Macbeth (TV movie : 1979)

The story of Macbeth is set in Scotland. Most of the Holy Grail was filmed there as well.

A Performance of Macbeth (TV movie : 1979) and The Lion in Winter (1968)

Both were stage plays set to film where over two hours of intense dialogue each was the focus and action/scenery and other production values were secondary. Watching these two as a double feature would subsequently require days of therapy.

The Lion in Winter (1968) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Nigel Terry (1945-2015) played a doltish John the Prince in Lion, Claude Rains (1889-1967) the villainous King John in Adventures. Terry's first appearance as a TV/film actor took place less than two months after Rains' death.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and The Conqueror (1956)

Fred Graham (1908-1979) was a stuntman in both films. He had a long career and worked as an actor/stuntman in about a zillion movies, mostly Westerns. In Robin Hood he doubled for Basil Rathbone falling down stairs, in Conqueror he also was an extra in addition to stunt work. His penultimate appearance in a nice supporting role as an actor was in one of my very favorite flicks, Pocket Money (1972).

The Conqueror (1956) and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)

The Conqueror, considered one of the worst films ever but remains one of my treasured VHS possessions, had it's world premiere in London, Feb. 2, 1956. That date was also the 23rd birthday of London-born actor John Burgess (1933-2010), who played the role of the English Ambassador in Rosencratz. As a bonus point he was additionally in I, Claudius.

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) and Edward II (1991)

One is based on a play by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) and the other by Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593). The fringe Marlovian Theory contends that the so-called "William Shakespeare" was merely an alias for Marlowe, who was not stabbed in the head in 1593, but lived on to write the plays mainstream critics ascribe to the Bard of Avon. Extra bonus point, Nigel Terry (The Lion in Winter) appears in Edward II as Mortimer.

Edward II (1991) and The Name of the Rose (1986)

The main story of Name is set in the year 1327, the same year as the death of the real Edward II.

The Name of the Rose (1986) and The Flintstones (1994)

Drew Struzan (b. 1947) was the poster artist for both films.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Underappreciated Film Festival

Underappreciated Film Festival : very minimal notes

Hellfighters (1968). John Wayne, Katharine Ross, Jim Hutton. IMDb 6.6
Lots of reds and oranges and things blowing up real good. Hooooeeee! Seeing the Duke in the role of a business executive is probably closer to his real self. And hey, Katharine Ross!

Plan  9 From Outer Space (1959). Bela Lugosi, Vampira, Tor Johnson, Criswell, and the rest of Ed Wood's entourage. IMDb 4.0
Say what you want, when you see an Ed Wood film there is no mistaking who the director might be. The man was an original. This film was his crowning cinema achievement. My 33 year old VHS copy, which I bought new, finally bit it on this last showing.

The Flintstones (1994). John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Kyle MacLachlan, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Taylor. IMDb 4.9
Excuse me. Elizabeth Taylor's final feature film? Does not that very fact alone make this worth keeping around? Plus it has the B-52s! But as a bonus the film still makes me laugh.

Gigli (2003). Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Al Pacino. IMDb 2.5
OK, so it isn't the best film directed by the great Martin Brest (Going in Style, Midnight Run, Scent of a Woman, to name a few) but it certainly did not deserve the raking over the coals it received. Worth watching just for the Walken and Pacino scenes.

Terrible Joe Moran (1984). James Cagney, Art Carney, Ellen Barkin. IMDb 6.2
Cagney's final film, made for TV. Since he had a stroke someone like Rich Little dubbed his voice for the entire story, which was sort of bizarre. Still, Cagney's acting transcends this handicap.

Mother, Jugs & Speed (1976). Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch, Harvey Keitel, Larry Hagman, Allen Garfield. IMDb 5.9
By coincidence I watched this the same day Garfield died as a result of Covid-19. Raquel strikes a victory for feminism in this cynical humor film.

Wild Wild West (1999). Will Smith, Kevin Kline, Salma Hayek, Kenneth Branagh. IMDb 4.9
The unintentional message is how people are dehumanized and mere props in the face of the dawning Industrial Age as fantasy steampunk gizmos are more fascinating than the characters in the story. When you look at it through that prism it is a great film.

Conqueror (1956). John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead. IMDb 3.6
Watch John Wayne in the role of Genghis Khan and 200 other actors soak up radiation in the Utah desert as they act downwind of nuclear testing and will die untimely deaths in real life as a result of cancer. The final movie produced by Howard Hughes. Hear The Duke say to Hayward with drawling Shakespearean intonation, "You are beautiful in your wrath." Wonderful.

Beat the Devil (1953). Humphrey Bogart, Jennifer Jones, Peter Lorre, Robert Morley, Gina Lollobrigida. IMDb 6.5
From a novel by an Irish Communist who was blacklisted with screenplay treatment by Truman Capote. This offbeat, surreal John Huston film was so odd that Bogart said only the phonies pretended to like it. Call me a phoney. This is my favorite Bogart film.

The Train Robbers (1973). John Wayne, Ann-Margret, Rod Taylor, Ben Johnson, Ricardo Montalban, Christopher George, Bobby Vinton. IMDb 6.5
The most visually sophisticated John Wayne movie not directed by John Ford. A pleasant glide of a story with no real sharp peaks or crisis valleys, more like a study in camaraderie. The unsubtle use of the leitmotif in the soundtrack is corny and fun. Love the ending.

Wyatt Earp (1994). Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman, Dennis Quaid, Michael Madsen, Catherine O'Hara, Bill Pullman, Isabella Rosellini. IMDb 6.7
It is over three hours long and was a box office bomb, but is quite possibly the only film about one of the most movied historical figures of the Old West where his backstory is explored. Rather than appearing as an instant grownup legend, we see how Wyatt's character was shaped starting in his teens.

The Phantom (1996). Billy Zane, Treat Williams, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Patrick McGoohan. IMDb 4.9
Suspend all adult logic and go back into the mind of an 8-year old, which is sometimes fun to do. Don't look for great acting, complex character development, or deep symbolism, just enjoy the adventure as a kid would. Set in 1938, a great era for fashion and car design which is used to good effect in the production values.

Mr. Holmes . (2015). Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Milo Parker. IMDb 6.9
Complex and darkly gentle character study of Sherlock Holmes in post WWII on the border of senility. Conan Doyle meets Eugene O'Neill in this film. It brings to mind what Holmes said in the Adventure of the Cardboard Box: "What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever."

Virginia City (1940). Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott, Miriam Hopkins, Humphrey Bogart. IMDb 6.8
Triangle #1= Flynn/Hopkins/Scott. Triangle #2= Confederates/Union/Banditos. Bogart has a pencil moustache, wears black, and his poor attempt at a Mexican accent comes off sounding French. His performance is preciously bizarre.

Ferry to Hong Kong (1959). Curt Jurgens, Orson Welles. IMDb 5.6
A train wreck of a film even though it takes place on a boat, but worth watching Welles go through the motions of being in a film he doesn't care about, giving what is regarded as the worst acting performance of his career. His false nose keeps changing shape. His English accent is awful. Welles at his nadir is still fascinating-- maybe even more so.

Ice Station Zebra (1966). Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine, Jim Brown. IMDb 6.6
McGoohan displays his unique and enjoyable brand of ham as always and as such is the core of the movie. Howard Hughes was alleged to have been obsessed with this film, and indeed the director spent a long time on mechanical and engineering details in the story.

Wired (1989). Michael Chiklis, J.T. Walsh. IMDb 3.7
The John Belushi biopic that resulted in the blackballing of those associated with it by Belushi's influential friends and family. In fact, this movie never made it to DVD, making my VHS copy sort of rare. This film documents the senseless crash of a talented comedian that came as no surprise to us at the time.  

The Holcroft Covenant (1985). Michael Caine, Victoria Tennant, Lilli Palmer, Michael Lonsdale. IMDb 5.7
A Frankenheimer paranoia picture regarding Nazis in the 1980s, with an especially cheesey soundtrack. The always engaging Michael Caine seems as confused as we are, and that provides the hook that makes this film so watchable in spite of the multitude of flaws.

Deadfall (1993). Michael Biehn, Nicolas Cage, Charlie Sheen, James Coburn, Peter Fonda, Talia Shire, Micky Dolenz. IMDb 4.0
Quite probably the most wonderfully zany over-the-top performance ever by Nicolas Cage, and that's saying a lot. He saves the movie. Also, you'll never want to eat deep fat fried food again after watching this.

The Statement (2003). Michael Caine, Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Northam, Alan Bates, Charlotte Rampling, John Neville, William Hutt, Frank Finlay. IMDb 6.2
Final feature film for Bates and Hutt. Religion is the last refuge of fascists, in this case a right-wing sect of the Catholic Church. Based on a chilling true story.

Navajo Joe (1966). Burt Reynolds, Fernando Rey, Aldo Sambrell. IMDb 6.4
A Spaghetti Western with so many levels of wrong that it becomes fascinating. One of the more awesome soundtracks by Ennio Morricone, especially the parts where the singers are screaming.

Heaven's Gate (1980). Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Isabelle Huppert, Jeff Bridges, John Hurt, Sam Waterston, Joseph Cotten, Richard Masur, Mickey Rourke, Willem Dafoe. IMDb 6.8
The visually amazing and legendary Titanic of epic cinema disasters. That alone should merit a viewing. With some decent editing this could have been one of the greats since it has really inspired moments buried within those frames.

Grave Indiscretion (aka The Grotesque aka Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets) (1995). Alan Bates, Lena Headey, Theresa Russell, Sting, John Mills. IMDb 5.6
Alan Bates is at his eccentric best here, presented with 20/20 self-reflective hindsight narration. The humor was apparently too dark and smokey for audiences-- this film never made it to DVD in the USA, making my VHS copy obscure.

The Last of Robin Hood (2013). Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon. IMDb 5.7
Kline expertly portrays Errol Flynn in his last days as his wicked, wicked ways catch up to him and impacts the lives of others. The physical resemblance between Kline and Flynn is astounding.

Up the River (1930). Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Claire Luce, Warren Hymer. IMDb 6.0
John Ford directs a fresh-faced Bogart and cherubic Tracy in this pre-Code crime comedy where music is squeezed in as much as possible. Warren Hymer was one of the great unsung character actors and he steals this movie as the comic relief.

Tough Guys (1986). Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Eli Wallach, Dana Carvey, Alexis Smith, Billy Barty. IMDb 6.3
Film Noir meets the 1980s with an undertow of ageism. In the same subset with Going in Style (1979) and Atlantic City (1980) although more comedic.

The Paper (1994). Michael Keaton, Glenn Close, Marisa Tomei, Randy Quaid, Robert Duvall, Jason Robards, Jason Alexander, Spalding Gray, Jack Kehoe, Catherine O'Hara. IMDb 6.6
A frenetic film at the start of twilight for a medium we older folks knew and loved. Outstanding cast, especially Quaid and Alexander.

The Amateurs (aka The Moguls) (2005). Jeff Bridges, Tim Blake Nelson, William Fichtner, Joe Pantoliano, Isaiah Washington, Ted Danson, Glenne Headly. IMDb 6.3
This is a "Hey gang, let's put on a show!" film where everyone realizes their hidden talents, except the "gang" is a bunch of small town amateurs attempting to produce a porn film. Unlike porn itself, this film is the opposite of dehumanizing.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999). Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfieffer, Sam Rockwell, Gregory Jbarra, Stanley Tucci, Rupert Everett, Calista Flockhart, Christian Bale, David Strathairn. IMDb 6.4
Great production values but the movie is really saved and worth watching by two words: "Kevin. Kline." 

Razor's Edge (1984). Bill Murray, Theresa Russell, Catherine Hicks, Denholm Elliott, Brian Doyle-Murray, James Keach, Peter Vaughan, Bruce Boa. IMDb 6.6
Bill Murray's first foray into a dramatic role, although he wasn't quite able to fully contain his inner comedian-- thank goodness! The bathos/pathos crosscurrent here actually clicks.

Too Much, Too Soon (1958). Dorothy Malone, Errol Flynn, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Murray Hamilton, Martin Milner. IMDb 6.6
In this biopic about Diana Barrymore, the self-destructive Errol Flynn was near the end of his life playing the part of his mentor John Barrymore near the end of his self-destructive life. A poetic and strong performance by Flynn, one of his best.

The Anderson Tapes (1971). Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam, Alan King, Christopher Walken, Garrett Morris, Margaret Hamilton, Conrad Bain, Max Showalter. IMDb 6.4
Sidney Lumet explores our surveillance-crazy society. Sean Connery breaks from Bond without his toupee. Walken is a kid. Hamilton's final film. Quincy Jones soundtrack. A great heist movie.

Ishtar (1987). Dustin Hoffman, Warren Beatty, Charles Grodin, Jack Weston, Carol Kane, David Margulies, Matt Frewer. IMDb 4.4
The notorious box office bomb everyone hates but no one has seen. If they had, they wouldn't hate it because it is pretty darn funny. Never released on DVD in the USA, making my VHS copy a rarity.

King of California (2007). Michael Douglas, Evan Rachel Wood. IMDb 6.6
One of Douglas' best. An eccentric story about a Quixotic Dad and his long suffering daughter.

The Alamo (2004). Dennis Quaid, Billy Bob Thornton, Jason Patric. IMDb 6.0
After stealing the land from the Indians, opposing imperialists battle over Texas. There are no heroes here but this is better than the 1960 version. Thornton's stand-out performance as Davey Crockett is the glimmer of humanity against a backdrop of flat characters and well worth watching just for that.

Max (2002). John Cusack, Noah Taylor. IMDb 6.5
Well written and acted portrait of Hitler as a young bad artist. You have to love a film that has an actor portraying George Grosz entering an art gallery and vomiting.

Glen or Glenda (1953). Ed Wood, Bela Lugosi, Delores Fuller, Timothy Farrell, Lyle Talbot, Conrad Brooks. IMDb 4.2
Ed Wood's earnest debut film regarding cross-dressing. A movie unlike any other, in a class by itself. "Only the infinity of the depths of a man's mind can really tell the story."

Night of the Ghouls (1959). Kenne Duncan, Tor Johnson, Duke Moore, Valda Hansen, Paul Marco, Harvey B. Dunn, Criswell. IMDb 3.7
This was considered an Ed Wood lost film until it was tracked down and was first released to the public on VHS in 1984. The seance scene is one of my favorite Woodian moments.

The Klansman (1974). Richard Burton, Lee Marvin, O.J. Simpson, Linda Evans, David Huddleston. IMDb 5.2
What makes this low-production value film so watchable is the fascination of viewing a very drunk Burton attempting to pass as an actor. He frequently slurs and can barely walk, yet somehow remains the only character who is not a stereotype.

The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996). Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, Nelson de la Rosa, Ron Perlman. IMDb 4.6
Since this was a huge box office bomb, perhaps the team of Brando and 2'4" Nelson de la Rosa should have made the movie entitled Fat Man and Little Boy. I love watching films with Brando unhinged as he ballooned up and didn't give a damn, just doing what he pleased.

Tortilla Heaven (2007). José Zúñiga. Miguel Sandoval, Olivia Hussey. IMDb 5.4
The face of Jesus appears on a tortilla in a tiny New Mexico town and all Hell breaks loose, literally. Sandoval's depiction of the Devil is deviously subtle, a guilty pleasure to behold.

Utopia (aka Atoll K aka Robinson Crusoeland) (1951). Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy. IMDb 5.7
In their final movie Hardy is morbidly obese, Laurel is skeletal, and the direction is awful. But the story is unusually political for them, and they are actually part of a group of friends, all of them fun supporting actors.

Pocket Money (1972). Paul Newman, Lee Marvin, Strother Martin, Wayne Rogers, Héctor Elizondo. IMDb 5.5
A quietly beautiful film filled with losers. Lee Marvin's character sums it up: "Y'know, they say that every man has a star. And a guy should find his star out there. Unless he doesn't have one. Which just may be the case with me. And if what they're sayin' is right, guys could just follow their stars. But not me because I don't have one."

Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988). Dudley Moore, Liza Minnelli, John Gielgud, Kathy Bates. IMDb 4.6
Alcoholism was not as funny in 1988 as it was in the 1981 original Arthur movie. By suffering consequences (to a Bacharach soundtrack) this becomes a problem play. Gielgud's Hobson, who was the best part of the franchise, reappears as a ghost, or hallucination.

Stuart Saves His Family (1995). Al Franken, Laura San Giacomo, Vincent D'Onofrio, Shirley Knight, Lesley Boone, Harris Yulin, Julia Sweeney, Joe Flaherty, Robin Duke. IMDb 5.2
The way Al Franken was able to humorously examine social problems such as dysfunctional families and alcoholism, along with the recovery support groups without trivializing the issues makes this film unique and brilliant.

Blackthorn (2011). Sam Shepard, Eduardo Noriega, Stephen Rea. IMDb 6.5
An elliptical Western set in Bolivia, 1928 where Butch Cassidy is yet alive and living under the name Blackthorn. The overlapping hunter/prey themes are poetically constructed.

Rhinoceros (1974). Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Karen Black. IMDb 6.0
Forget the script and direction, just enjoy these three eccentric actors working with a very conceptual piece of drama with few props and no special effects in an effort to convince the viewer the majority of people are transforming into a rhinoceros.

Waterworld (1995). Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Michael Jeter, Jack Black. IMDb 6.2
As long as you accept the script is comic book action, this is a visually great film with an intriguing dystopian premise.

Princess Cariboo (1994). Phoebe Cates, Kevin Kline, Jim Broadbent, Wendy Hughes, John Lithgow, Stephen Rea. IMDb 6.0
Based on a true story about a beautiful young hoaxer who made fools of the English Establishment and nearly paid with her life in 1817. To date this is Cates' penultimate film. Cates and Rea expertly provide the core of the tale.

Zardoz (1974). Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling. IMDb 5.9
A pretentious and self-indulgent squandering of talent. See a felt-tip goatee, Sean Connery in a big red diaper, and a Paul McCartney lookalike. Although set in the future this movie is truly a snapshot of the mid-1970s and in the so-bad-it's-good category.

The Shadow (1994). Alec Baldwin, John Lone, Penelope Ann Miller, Ian McKellen, Jonathan Winters, Peter Boyle, Tim Curry. IMDb 6.1
The radio and pulp fiction proto-superhero operates in a richly dark Art Deco NYC battling external and internal evil. The special effects are fun but do not distract but Baldwin's excellent version of this nostalgic character.

The Oklahoma Kid (1939). James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Rosemary Lane, Donald Crisp, Ward Bond. IMDb 6.4
How many movies can you name that start off with an actor playing President Grover Cleveland on the screen? Only this one! Cool, huh? Spunky Cagney and Brooding Bogart are unconvincing Western characters in 1893 Oklahoma. Great fun.

Dick Tracy (1990). Warren Beatty, Al Pacino, Madonna, Glenne Headly, Seymour Cassel, Michael J. Pollard, Charles Durning, Dick Van Dyke, Frank Campanella, Kathy Bates, Dustin Hoffman, William Forsythe, Mandy Pantinkin, Henry Silva, James Caan, Catherine O'Hara, Jack Kehoe, Allen Garfied, Mike Mazurki, Ian Wolfe. IMDb 6.1
The use of garish comic strip colors coupled with a parade of bizarre personalities makes this an eye candy film. Hoffman as Mumbles is priceless and Pacino is wonderfully full-on operatic as Big Boy.

Swing Your Lady (1938). Humphrey Bogart, Frank McHugh, Louise Fazenda, Allen Jenkins, Ronald Reagan. IMDb 4.8
A musical comedy set in the Ozarks with stereotype hillbillies. Bogart considered this his worst performance. Very funny although half the humor is unintentional.

The Rounders (1965). Glenn Ford, Henry Fonda, Chill Wills, Edgar Buchanan, Kathleen Freeman, Barton MacLane, Doodles Weaver. IMDb 6.2
A character study Western set in modern times and an ancestor to Pocket Money (1972) concerning two drifters who will never change.

The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990). Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Morgan Freeman, Saul Rubinek, Alan King, Clifton James, F. Murray Abraham. IMDb 5.6
The box office bomb all the critics insisted on comparing with Tom Wolfe's book. But for a dullard like me the movie is fine on its own as a sort of living cartoon about the "Greed is Good" Reagan/Bush years.

Hudson Hawk (1991). Bruce Willis, Danny Aiello, Andie MacDowell, James Coburn, David Caruso, Lorraine Toussaint, Frank Stallone, Sandra Bernhard, Richard E. Grant. IMDb 5.8
Mix the Three Stooges, ex-con heist movies, Albert Camus and a ton of Boomer television references and you come up with this utterly surreal and hard to classify action comedy. And I mean not in a funny ha-ha way but a funny peculiar good way.

Line of Fire (aka The Swap) (1979). Robert De Niro, Jennifer Warren, Viva, Sybil Danning. IMDb 3.4
In a very Ed Wood type of maneuver the director recycled footage of De Niro from his earlier film Sam's Song (1969) into a badly written story. De Niro almost sued when he found out-- for good reason! And that is what makes this movie so fun to watch.

Daddy and Them (2001). Billy Bob Thornton, Laura Dern, Andy Griffith, Ben Affleck, Kelly Preston, Diane Ladd, John Prine, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jim Varney. IMDb 5.7
Long Day's Journey Into Night collides loudly with The Beverly Hillbillies. John Prine makes us wish he had been acting in more movies. Varney's final appearance on screen. One of the best movies you've probably never heard of.

Sunset (1988). James Garner, Bruce Willis, Malcolm McDowell, Mariel Hemingway. IMDb 5.7
Bruce Willis plays Tom Mix and Garner is Wyatt Earp in 1920s Hollywood. Garner is the one who carries this great concept and makes it worth watching. Did I ever tell you I had an uncle named Bruce Willis? He escaped a chain gang. Now there's a real movie for you.

The Defector (1966). Montgomery Clift, Roddy McDowall. IMDb 5.8
Clift's final film. His broken spirit and fragility totally fit the character he is playing all too well. Clift surpasses the low production values in this one.

Drowning Mona (2000). Danny DeVito, Bette Midler, Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Affleck, William Fichtner. IMDb 5.7
A quirky whodunit comedy that has fun with the relativity of comparative memory. The characters are hilariously unlikable.

Isn't She Great (2000). Bette Midler, Nathan Lane, John Cleese, David Hyde Pierce, John Larroquette, Amanda Peet, Stockard Channing. IMDb 5.4
A box office bomb that was an intentionally campy biopic of trash author Jacqueline Susann to a Bacharach soundtrack. Cleese in his supporting role is especially entertaining as is Pierce.

Hamlet (aka Hamlet 2000). Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Diane Venora, Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Steve Zahn, Bill Murray, Sam Shepard. IMDb 5.9
An especially intense Hamlet, set in the modern era with new technology. Bill Murray as Polonius [!!!] plays the character as a real human, not a comic prop.

Casino Royale (1967). David Niven, Ursula Andress, Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, Deborah Kerr, Charles Boyer, John Huston, William Holden, Kurt Kasznar, George Raft, Jacqueline Bisset, Peter O'Toole. IMDb 5.2
The total chaos and disorganization of this film-- set to a Bacharach soundtrack-- showcases the quintessence of the 1960s. When I recently weeded my movie shelves this was the only entry in the James Bond franchise I felt was worth keeping.

The Mogul (aka The Ratings Game) (1984). Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Huntz Hall, Michael Richards, George Wendt, Jerry Seinfeld, Barry Corbin, Kevin McCarthy, Steven Allen, Jayne Meadows. IMDb 6.0
DeVito is at his conniving best in this made for Showtime movie with an original con game concerning the Nielsen Ratings. My copy is a knockoff VHS bootleg retitled by the infamous EDDE Entertainment. 

Life Without Dick (2002). Sarah Jessica Parker, Harry Connick, Jr., Johnny Knoxville, Craig Ferguson, Teri Garr. IMDb 3.8
Direct-to-video dark comedy that I was all prepared to hate because I was supposed to. But then I watched it. Now it is a keeper.

The Cat in the Hat (aka Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat) (2003). Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin, Kelly Preston, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin. IMDb 3.9
Edgy, adult-oriented surrealism that disappointed critics because they were expecting the movie to be like the Dr. Seuss books. But on it's own the film is actually a big positive on my bizzare-o-meter and I generally am not a fan of Myers' cinema comedy.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Olympia Comics Festival 2019

As you can see my little 20th century Toyota Corolla was filled with so many Morty Comix that I consider it a major victory that I made it to Olympia without being pulled over. Driving on the back streets helped.

Those white bags in the center, next to Max Clotfelter, was my table. In all between the expo portion and handing them out at the wedding, I gave away about 250 Morty Comix.

With this project finished I will be moving on to to truly diabolical art scheme, also using Morty Comix. 

I'll keep this blog up for another week or two, then it returns to hibernation where only a few trivia hunters in the Diogenes Club come to occasionally visit. If you are comix historian and still want to have access to this blog let me know and that can be arranged.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

See you on June 15th at the Olympia Comics Festival!

See you on June 15th at the Olympia Comics Festival! Celebrate Marisha and Casey's wedding and take home some free art!

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Friday, May 17, 2019

Olympia Comics Festival June 15, 2019

I'll be giving away nearly 300 Morty Comix at the Olympia Comics Festival at the Olympia Community Center on June 15, 2019. The comix are wedding favors on the happy occasion of the wedding of Marisha Kay and Casey (Danger Room) Bruce.

A little more than half of the Morty Comix are in the "traditional" 4-page format. Each issue is one-of-kind original art. The series dates back to Feb. 1983. The rest of the Morty Comix are 3-dimensional "installation pieces" given away in wedding white bags.

I hope I can fit them all in my little 20th century compact car (see photos of giant plastic tubs and boxes, as well as a ton of loose bags). We might have a clown car situation here.

The issue number range is between # 2900-3200, created between Aug. 2018-Mar. 2019. Hope to see you there!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Lt. Frank Columbo was a cartoonist

In the Columbo episode "By Dawn's Early Light" (1974) we get a glimpse of the LAPD's TV homicide detective's notes. We always liked this guy but now we like him even more.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Cryogenic Comix # 39

Cryogenic Comix # 39
Copyright (c) 2019 Steve Willis

Felt tip on a sketchpad, Burlington, Vermont, Sept. 1979.

This issue of Cryogenic Comix concludes bringing out this collection of late 1979-early 1980 drawings.

The photo of me in my living room was taken in Sept. 1979, the same month that I drew these images. The other photos, taken Oct. 1979, was where I lived, 349 Pearl St. The old house had been divided into at least three units. I lived on the first floor with four other people, all strangers to me when I landed in Burlington knowing not a soul. My room had a door to the back, as seen in the rear view.

As seen in one of these drawings I quickly learned the Vermont trick of politely giving wrong directions when a big car would pull up and someone with a NYC or Boston accent would rudely demand a geographic lesson. It happened so often that I would be utterly thrown when the driver was polite.

Cryogenic Comix # 38

Cryogenic Comix # 38
Copyright (c) 2019 Steve Willis

Felt tip on a sketchpad, Burlington, Vermont, Sept. 1979. Note the appearance of Morty the Human.

The third image could be a drawing of the brother of Benb, one of my favorite of Steve's Lafler's great characters-- of course at the time I had yet to know Steve or his work. My introduction the whole Newave comix scene was still a couple years away.