Saturday, February 27, 2016

Disney Watch: Pete's Dragon (1977)

Last week I noticed Disney had put out a trailer for a new version of Pete's Dragon starring Bryce Dallas Howard and Robert Redford.  "Hey, that's a movie that could stand a re-make," I said to myself.  And then I realized - I'm pretty sure I haven't seen the actual Pete's Dragon (1977) since its theatrical release or sometime pretty close to it.  Honestly, I only really had a memory of a Disney record and picture book we had around when I was very small, and it's entirely possible that's all I remember, and that I never saw the movie at all.

Here's a link to that new trailer.

Fighting Cancer and a Chance at Prizes!

As we've been promoting in our sidebar this month, we're supporting Max's efforts to raise some dough for cancer research and treatment.

The way it works is - you donate to one of Max's charities of choice, email him the receipt, and you're entered into a raffle for a wide selection of comics-related goods.

Here's the instructions.  Clicky Click.

I have no idea if any of you guys are doing this.  I certainly hope you are.  It's a good cause, and you aren't just helping to make the world a better place, you've got a chance to win some loot.  And, hey, Max has gone to a lot of effort to make this both a good cause and fun.

Friday, February 26, 2016

A Short Stay in Houston: Old Pals, Work Stuff, a GOP Debate

This week I was in Houston for a short conference at which I presented.  A nice, friendly little conference we have once a year with folks that have known each other a while, and where new folks are usually made to feel very welcome.

I was staying at the hotel on campus, a Hilton commissioned by the late, great Conrad Hilton as part of the hotel management school at the University of Houston that bears his name.  During the conference, the candidates for the Republican party were slated to have a debate on the other end of campus, but CNN had set up adjacent to the library.  So, yes, yesterday I saw the back of Anderson Cooper's magnificently silver head.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

If you see me on the news, it's going to be because I followed my lesser angels

So, a while back I scheduled myself to be at a conference at the University of Houston.  It's a small, local conference and important to my professional community.

And, ha ha, that is the same campus at the same time where the Republican Party has scheduled it's next debate.  That's right.  As I'm eating the most-food like substance librarian money can buy and talking about the excitement of Thesis and Dissertation workflow over a glass of iced tea, somewhere on that same campus, Trump, Rubio and Cruz will be hollering at each other.

It's gonna be a disaster.

I was working at Arizona State University when President Bush and Senator Kerry had a debate on campus, and it was one of the worst days at that job.  And that was a job where I pulled all-nighters and 100 hour weeks.  Basically, it was super loud and crazy on campus, and I failed to leave early (because I was working.  Like a chump.) and it took me two hours to get home as a post 9-11 Secret Service thought it wise to shut down all the useful roads.

So, we'll see what's up.  Could be fine, but I'm staying at a hotel on campus that I assume will be filled with press and party faithful, so, if I get no sleep Wednesday or Thursday night, I blame the free-wheeling ways of an overly-excited bunch of political conservatives loaded up on Pixie Sticks and too many sodas.

Basically, I'm saying - I may go dark for a few days.  Unless, of course, I see a news camera.  In which case - LOOK FOR ME.  Then, send bail.  Because I have a LOT to say about this election cycle.  Also: workflow for theses and dissertations.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Caine Watch: The Italian Job (1969)

Sunday evening, our own SimonUK - who moonlights as a server at The Alamo Drafthouse near my house - was given the opportunity to take it up a notch with their "Staff Presents" program, wherein a member of the staff not usually in programming selects a movie and the Alamo shows it.

You like movies.  I like movies.  We all like movies.  Simon LOVES movies.  He lives amongst piles of them and may well have underwear made of celluloid taped into a rough briefs shape.  I don't know.  And, no matter how many movies you think you've seen, Simon has seen more.  During the Alamo pre-shows when they're showing clips of deep-cut obscure 1970's horror flicks, Simon has seen them all.

Simon is from some far-flung part of England I can never remember, so he had access to movies we really didn't in the U.S., and he's seen a goodly chunk of American movies we all watched growing up, too.  Every once in a while I'm surprised he hasn't seen something from a typical American kid of the 1980's heyday, but not all that often.  He's been responsible for me seeing a lot of flat out great stuff the past several years, gotten me out of the house for Planet of the Apes marathons, etc...  and for all that and more, and making me eat a Full English Breakfast only once, I am forever in his debt.

So, while I had previously seen The Italian Job (1969), when I heard he was showing and introducing the movie, I couldn't not go.  Plus, I really like the movie.  It's good, cheery fun and a great heist pic.  Plus: Michael Caine.

Parker Watch: The Outfit (1973)

I've seen a few adaptations of the Richard Stark-penned series of crime novels starring heist-man, Parker.  Point Blank (great), Payback (not so great), Parker (really not so great).   Maybe another one or two.  But The Outfit (1973) was maybe the closest to an actual Parker book in spirit and execution.  I won't dwell on the differences, because they're many, but the movie does use scenes from the book in whole and in part (it's been a while since I read the early Parker books, and I think they pulled a scene or two from other Parker books, but I may be wrong).

The movie captures a lot about the world of Parker.  It's a lot of backroads, hiding or waiting in cheap motel rooms, the people you try to work with are unreliable and dangerous, and the people who are the closest thing to something you'd call "friend" tend to wind up dead, in prison or both.

I really didn't know much about the movie before SimonUK brought it over Sunday morning for a view, other than that it starred Robert Duvall in the Parker role - here named "Macklin" (author Richard Stark wouldn't let films use the name "Parker" - I suppose until they made a straight adaptation).  The film co-stars Karen Black and Joe Don F'ing Baker.