Thursday, May 21, 2015
As far as the morning show went, I remember laughing out loud at it, and my mother thinking I was weird because she couldn't figure out what was so funny. I also recall when "Late Night with David Letterman" came along he would refer to that morning show as 'way back in the late fifties.' Before this of course I knew Letterman from his stand-up comedy and guest-hosting on "The Tonight Show."
This is the way I first met Larry 'Bud' Melman, Chris Elliott, and Stupid Pet Tricks, the most memorable (and disturbing) of which had a dog drinking milk from his owner's mouth. I remember frequent guests Sandra Bernhard, future frenemy Jay Leno, and fellow only-New Yorker (at least at the time) Howard Stern. I was much happier when I could see the show on channel 3 finally, and remember seeing great acts of the day like R.E.M. and Indigo Girls.
Still, even though I hadn't watched much of "The Late Show," I'm sad to see Dave go. Last night's viewing only cemented the reasons that I should have been watching. Have a great retirement, Dave, come back and visit some time.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Phantom Killer who terrorized young couples on lovers lanes in Texarkana in 1946.
The movie begins documentary style establishing the period, including narration by Vern Stierman who also did the job more than ably for Boggy Creek. His frequent voiceovers keep the film solidly in docudrama mode, which for the most part works.
Unlike the slasher flicks that would follow, this one views things from law enforcement as opposed to the kids. Veteran character actors Andrew Prine and Ben Johnson take point in the investigation with great chemistry, along with Bierce himself providing much needed comic relief as their sidekick. Also look for Dawn Wells, Mary Ann from "Gilligan's Island," late in the film.
The film looks very good, and the period is set well. I loved the music, the clothes, the cars, and even the language. Kudos go to Jaime Mendoza-Nava, an underrated composer of 1970s B-movies who deserves more credit than perhaps he's been given. He was good. The film gets all As for atmosphere. And it's not just a great period piece for the 1940s, but also 1970s cinema as well.
Stuntman and later stunt coordinator Bud Davis played the masked killer known as the Phantom. Except for the ridiculous trombone scene, he is actually pretty frightening. And his white bag mask conjures imagery of the Ku Klux Klan, which is scary enough, but notably it made me wonder what the movie was really about when I saw the video box before I ever saw it.
The Town That Dreaded Sundown was reimagined in 2014 by Ryan Murphy, the brains behind "Glee" and "Nip/Tuck," and his sometime collaborator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a big muckety-muck at Archie Comics, and whose credits also include The Stand comics for Marvel, HBO's "Big Love," and the 2013 remake of Carrie. It might seem like an odd fit, but it kinda works.
This is notably not a remake as much as it's a sequel, one in which the original movie is a movie based on the real events. Yeah, I know, it's a whole new level of meta. There are many
Watching these two flicks back to back was an intense but entertaining evening of television, two generations of creators giving their take on a supposedly true story. They're both worth a look, more so for horror fans. And don't forget, it might have happened decades ago, but they never did catch the Phantom...
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
The opening, visually and verbally is strikingly and disturbingly racist. It's a precursor to what is to come, and sets the pace well. I understood what it was, accepted it for its time, and still winced as if physically struck. No matter how much DMX using the N word one listens to, there's just no preparing for this opening. What followed the racist Vaudeville joke told in animated blackface, was also hard to take, but at least it was full of talent and power.
Scatman (Scat Man in the opening credits) Crothers sings the seemingly racist song "Coonskin No More" with liberal use of the N word, but it's an amazing song as well. It's sad that many folks have forgotten what a tremendous talent the man was musically, although he's usually remembered for his acting. After recovering from thinking about how Crothers went from doing "Hong Kong Phooey" to this and then moved on to The Shining, I realized what Bakshi was trying to do, a little song and dance, and a little shock and awe.
Coonskin is a mix of animation and live action, owing much to The Song of the South as its characters and lessons are similar. The cast also includes Philip Michael Thomas who later gained fame on "Miami Vice," Pulitzer Prizing winning actor/director/writer Charles Gordone, and the one and only Barry White. The actual story is very seventies, so seventies in fact, I am sure that Quentin Tarantino loves this flick. And he does.
I can't recommend Coonskin, except for the curious, the fans of folks involved, and those with strong stomachs and high tolerance for the politically incorrect. Watch at your own risk.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Oh, I do get it. Don needed that part of the journey. Without that smile of revelation at the retreat, there would have been no Coca-Cola commercial on the mountaintop, arguably one of the greatest achievements in advertising, and the crowning moment of the real world McCann-Erickson. We are to assume that Don Draper is the engineer of this masterstroke, but man oh man. Didn't we all want to see Don pitch that? That's why I feel more than a little cheated. This was no "Sopranos."
On a side note, did anyone else also see "Happyish" on Showtime last night? They did a slightly different and just plain wrong spin on the famous Coke commercial. I'm really loving that show, and you can hear me talk a bit about it on this week's episode of The GAR! Podcast.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
last week's episode of "The Flash," or saw it, you know that Arrow came to the aid of his costumed friend in Central City to help take down the Reverse-Flash. You also know that Arrow in turn asked for the Flash's help. One would assume that help would come in this, the season finale of "Arrow." It does. And if that's all the help the Flash is going to be, Arrow sooo got the short end of the deal.
the last episode Team Arrow was left in a dungeon dying of the Alpha and Omega virus, while Oliver and R'as Al Ghul were on their way to Starling City to wipe it out with the virus. The good news is that Malcolm was able to inoculate Team Arrow with a method that would have made the 1966 Batman proud, while the Flash secured the Nanda Parbat headquarters and released our heroes. Then he went home, quickly, but nowhere near as quickly and mysteriously as Team Arrow went home. Are we sure Starling and Tibet aren't like next door to each other? This is getting ridiculous.
Oliver plays his hand on the plane over Starling and turns on R'as, who of course escapes with the virus, and the only parachute. Seriously, is this a joke? The only parachute?? Nevertheless R'as swears vengeance and Oliver and Nyssa crash-land the plane. They join Team Arrow where Oliver gets his ass kicked physically and verbally by Diggle and Felicity. Good.
Speedy, who along with the Black Canary, will be protecting Starling City. Katana has returned to seclusion. Roy is gone, for the moment, and the Atom blew up real good. Oliver and Felicity have driven off for the coast, like they're in the end of Blade Runner, presumably to live happily ever after.
Roy taking the rap for him), but he will be Green Arrow. Finally. And as for the Atom, we know he'll be back in "Legends of Tomorrow."
Kate Spencer version of Manhunter. Here is some reading for later about how one writer thinks they wasted her character. I kinda agree.
For my other reviews of the entire "Arrow" series, click here. And if you'd like to discuss this episode and anything else in the Arrowverse, please join the Arrow Discussion Group on Facebook.