Saturday, June 25, 2022

Watch Party Watch: His Kind of Woman (1951)



Watched:  06/24/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Third?
Director:  John Farrow

In celebration of Jane Russel's 101st birthday and enduring foxiness, we watched His Kind of Woman (1951) for our Friday watch party.  

I was aware this movie was weird and goofy, coming out of the Howard Hughes-era RKO studio where things seemed more dictated by Hughes' whims and libido than proven formula,  But until you watch a movie with a bunch of other people and you're responsible for what you're all watching - that's when you go from "yeah, this is kind of wacky" to "wow, this movie is bonkers".  

I'm aware that classic film folks turn their nose up at this movie, but they are wrong.  This is a movie that has everything, and it makes me laugh consistently throughout.  If you want serious, dark film noir, keep walking, because this thing has songs, Mitchum just swinging his dick everywhere, Vincent Price showing the moxie he'd bring to his horror career, and Jane Russell just being as Jane Russell-y as all get out (that's decidedly a feature).  

I had forgotten Raymond Burr was our big bad, and that Charles McGraw had shown up as a heavy.  Anyway, I can't think of a lot against the movie except that the last ten minutes goes on for 25.  Like - there's just way too much climax in this movie and it doesn't include Russell, and that is math I can't get behind.

Anyway, here's to the birthday girl.  Here's hoping she's having a great time wherever she is out there.



Return to Smallville - Season 4

Move, Clark.  You're in the way.


Well.  We finally got to Lois.  

We also finally got to the season where Smallville went from teen-romance to "they're 18 now, so it shall be SEXY".  

It's also the season where I didn't watch everything.  

Season 4 episodes we watched:  
  • Crusade - the one where Lois arrives and Clark returns from null-space with his memories wiped clean and he flies on camera to get a plot device MacGuffin stone that will do whatever it's gonna do when he collects all three.
  • Transference - the one where Lionel Luthor Freaky Fridays with Clark
  • Spell - the one where 17th Century witches Freaky Friday with Chloe, Lana and Lois
  • Spirit - the one where a Mean Girl ghost possesses/ Freaky Fridays the cast, Martha is hilarious, Chloe wins prom queen, and Lois looks smashing in a pink gown she has for some reason
  • Blank - the one where Clark loses all his memories and Chloe has to lead him around for the day
  • Commencement - the one where Clark and Chloe graduate, Jor-El is a parent who just doesn't understand, Lex is betrayed by everyone in his life, and then a meteor shower falls on Smallville.  Again.

Look, doing "they aren't themselves" is cheaper than actual make-up or special FX, and it also gives the actors something else to do, which seems fun for them.  See Annette O'Toole's version of a Mean Girl in Spirit.  Fantastic stuff.  But if what you wanted was Welling somehow more wooden, boy, have I got some episodes lined up for YOU.

But like "mind control" in prior seasons, amnesia and possession get old fast as plots when you watch them back-to-back.  It's mostly just waiting for the characters to resume their normal lives and *never mention it again*.  

By the way, I was absolutely wrong that heat vision would not come back tied to boners.  It came up twice in just the few episodes we watched.  I mean, fine.  I'm not above a good boner joke.

Mercifully, by skipping so many episodes, we missed a lot of Clark/ Lana drama.  16 years ago when these episodes aired, I was exhausted/ bored by the show leaning so hard into their drama, and stunned then and now at the writers room's utter inability to give us a reason to root for them or care while utterly centering on those characters.  

Friday, June 24, 2022

Friday Watch Party: His Kind of Woman - celebrate Jane Russell's 101st!


This week is Jane Russell's 101st birthday.  Let's celebrate with a movie that lets Jane do all the things she does best!  A little singing, some acting, some hanging out with Robert Mitchum, and definitely wearing dresses.

Anyway - if you like Robert Mitchum (and you should) and Vincent Price (who you definitely should like) and want to see mystery, romance, exotic locales, amazing wardrobe, Mitchum's super chill delivery, Russell's rad confidence and Price just Pricing it up...  this is a great Friday night flick!

Day:  Friday 06/24/2022
Time:  8:30 PM
Service:  Amazon Prime
Cost:  $3

Join us!  Link will be live 10 minutes before showtime.


Let's chill out with the birthday girl and her pal


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Happy Belated Birthday to Erica Durance, "Smallville"'s Lois Lane


Yesterday, June 21, marked the birthday of Erica Durance, Canadian actor, who played Lois Lane for seven seasons on TV's Smallville.  From her first appearance, she had the part down pat, and while I was an inconsistent viewer over the years, Durance remained a highlight and did a lot to elevate the show during some turbulent seasons.

She has several other TV series and a variety of movies under her belt, but has returned to the Super-media world as Alura, mother of Kara Zor-El on TV's Supergirl (yeah, I know, she's like maybe 9 years older than Melissa Benoist, but live-action depictions of Superman media often insist Kryptonian women age well).  

I am already planning an Erica Durance watch-party this Christmas, so get prepared to get merry.


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

101st Anniversary of Jane Russell Existing



One-hundred-one years ago today, Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell joined us on this weird orb flinging through the otherwise uncaring cosmos.  Her arrival and subsequent Jane Russell-ness was and remains a sign that maybe the universe isn't the meaningless void one might otherwise assume.  

Russell is still generally well remembered by the public, if for no other reason for most folks as a co-star in the classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.  But Russell was a major star in her own right.  She's a natural in front of the camera, a talented comedic and dramatic actress, can sing and dance, and was game for all sorts of scripts.  Paired with Robert Mitchum in a few films, she's met her equal and acting partner - I highly recommend the ill-titled His Kind of Woman, which is just a hell of a movie, and then move on to Macao.  

I'd highly recommend you check out her work some time.  
 



Return to Smallville: Seasons 2 and 3

These people all hate each other but will only talk to each other



It's kinda kooky keeping on with our Smallville rewatch.  We're now past the few episodes we watched for Season 1, and moved from Season 2 (episodes:  Heat, Lineage, Rush, Rosetta) and all the way through Season 3 (episodes to date: Shattered, Delete, Truth, Covenant).  I'm not picking episodes, I'm just bearing witness.

It's amazing what a weird, weird show Smallville became in the course of three seasons.  

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Vegas Watch: Viva Las Vegas (1964)




Watched:  06/17/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  First
Director:  George Sidney

Confession:  I thought I had seen an Elvis movie all the way through, but looking at The King's IMDB profile, I hadn't. I've seen others in part (Blue Hawaii, Roustabout, etc..), but am not overly keen on jukebox musicals with a book thinner than a pamphlet.  However, Viva Las Vegas (1964) is kind of the high water mark for these kinds of films, and it co-stars perennial favorite, Ann-Margret.  

Part tourist boosterism for America's playland, part romantic comedy, and all boppin' musical, the film is about 85 minutes of rocket-sled plotting paired with Go-Go dancing, while absolutely nothing happens, and we basically watch plot points used a million times over by '64 to tell the story of Elvis and Ann-Margret falling in love.  And in the last ten minutes of the film, we suddenly have a massive bodycount.  Did not see that coming.

Did I like the film?  Yes.  It's charming, dumb and cute.  Ann-Margret is something else.  Was the film good?  By conventional standards, its a mess.  But it was intended to get teens out to cinemas, promote Ann-Margret and Elvis and sell some records, and by that standard it's Citizen Kane.  

Picture stolen from Jenifer's blog, but you can see Garr in white and Basil's backside in red



Sidenote - Teri Garr is briefly in the movie as a background dancer, and you can see how she got pulled out of the chorus for a leading position.  Also: I heard Toni Basil is in the movie, and you cannot miss her when she's on screen for maybe 4 seconds.




But, yeah, basically Elvis plays a would-be race car driver who is in Vegas to drop off his car for a big road rally before heading off to LA to pick up the new motor.  He meets, immediately, an Italian Count who is the definition of Frenemy, and Ann-Margret, who is a pool manager/ swimming teacher.  Trying to find Ann-Margret, Elvis and the Count go on an ogling expedition of the showgirl shows across Vegas, so, you too, can fill your spank bank and have an idea of what you can objectify for a few bucks if you come to Vegas.  Eventually Elvis finds Ann-Margret, they begin to date (having enormous fun with money we're told Elvis doesn't have), but she doesn't want him to race lest he crash.  So they kind of break up.  But then he goes to race, and she helps.   It makes no sense, as nothing in the movie makes any sense.   And then they show the race, and it's a reminder of how terrifyingly dangerous racing was in mid-Century America and how far we've come in not thinking motor sports should end in death.  

Anyway, it is exactly what I was expecting, except for the scene where Elvis hangs out with a bunch of drunk Texans and it suddenly feels like a documentary or how-to video about how to deal with drunk Texans that is accurate to this day.




Friday, June 17, 2022

Emergency Friday Watch Party: Viva Las Vegas

 


What's 90 minutes and contains as much Ann-Margret shimmying as a movie can handle?  More Elvis being charming as hell than a movie should contain?

That's right, we're emergency watching Viva Las Vegas.  

  • Day:  TODAY 06/17/2022
  • Time:  8:30 PM
  • Service:  Amazon Prime

SHIMMY WITH US BY CLICKING HERE  


Thursday, June 16, 2022

Tim Sale Merges With The Infinite




Comics artist and illustrator Tim Sale has passed.  




Sale's work was singular, unmistakable, and reminded an industry what could be done with a certain minimalism if you knew how to capture the essence of character in gesture, expression and motion in a line.  He volleyed between Marvel and DC for a good bit, but I believe I remember learning of his work through Haunted Knight and then the superlative Long Halloween.  

His work at Marvel provided a depth to characters with whom we're all familiar on multiple series, such as Daredevil: Yellow and Spider-Man: Blue.  

As a Superman reader, it's hard not to point to the defining work of A Superman For All Seasons, a new chapter to the life of a young Man of Steel finding his place in the world.  It's a beautiful comic with a deeply sympathetic take on Superman that you simply wanted to comfort as he sought his place in the world.











Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Return to "Smallville"



It's a fascinating thing to return to a show 20 years later.  For the kids, Smallville debuted when I was about 26 and would have watched pretty much anything that was comic-book related, but was aggressively obsessed with all things Superman - an obsession which started roughly five or six years prior and continues to this day in a toned-down sort of way.  It will sound weird to new comics readers now, but arriving at Superman around the age of 20 or 21 was late for a comics nerd as I'd been reading comics for a decade with no particular interest in The Man of Steel.  But, a confluence of comics that spoke to me where I lived featuring Superman* began trickling out in the mid to late 90's, and that, paired with the WB's Superman: The Animated Series, turned the tide.

At the time of show's debut, I wasn't much of a TV watcher - as in, I didn't make time for television, but I did watch a lot of films.  That said - I'd followed X-Files til right about at this point (when I gave up on the program), but had not been a person to obsess over a particular show, otherwise.  Well, maybe Seinfeld, Simpsons and some Babylon 5.  And lest we forget, Chef!.  No Buffy, Angel or whatever else for me.