Saturday, October 13, 2012

Longhorns get trounced: 63-21

The Red River Rivalry (or Shoot Out, depending on your generation) is a tradition more than a century old.  The UT Longhorns drive up to Dallas, the Oklahoma Sooners descend from Norman, and they face off at the Cotton Bowl in an elliptical stadium that, when full of fans, is colored half burnt orange and half red in team colors.

As important as the rivalry is (and, I hate to tell Ags, was probably the more important of the two), its also a marker that tells us how our team is really playing this year.  Every year this game seems to be a tipping point for the fortunes of the Longhorns - displaying exactly how well we might do against the conference play in the Big 12 and more or less setting bowl expectations.  OU is always a worthy opponent, and in neutral territory, they don't want to take the slow, painful bus ride home, either.  

more or less the story of the game

Flat out, OU outplayed UT in every conceivable way for about 58 of the 60 minutes of the game.  We couldn't even get the extra point after a fluke touchdown.

Doc Watch: Winnebago Man (2009)

This is sort of the second movie I've watched in recent months about a filmmaker tracking down the subject of a failed project that has found a second life as a bit of a laugh for a winky, nichey audience of jerks exactly like myself.  As someone who grew up on MST3K and still has no problem watching Frankenstein Island and laughing himself silly, I try not to think too hard about the people behind the camera for whom producing, say, The Curse of Bigfoot, was their life's dream.

I worked in video production for a few years in and out of school.  It's hard, tedious work and I don't miss it (sorry, Paul and Juan).  Circa 1989, a man named Jack Rebney was working as writer and star on an industrial film for Winnebago sales associates, and the blue-tinted outtakes from the shoot captured his endless stream of profanity and frustration.

Confession time:  I am all puppy dog tails and whatever here, but I have a short temper and am known to curse like a sailor, especially when frustrated over a long period of time trying to make the same task work.  Jack, I feel ya.

Austin filmmaker Ben Steinbauer was obsessed with the VHS dup he had, and then the YouTube meme that stemmed from the VHS tapes.

Here you go.  NSFW.

Octoberama! "The Haunted Castle" (1896) from Melies!

From the artist we learned a bit about in Scorsese's Hugo.

Friday, October 12, 2012

October Watch: Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

Probably the weirdest thing about this movie, an all ages movie featuring classic Universal Monsters at their least scary meeting the comedy duo of Abbott & Costello, is that there's a sort of continuity to the Universal Monster pictures, and this movie is absolutely a part of the long narrative tied together by meetings of Frankenstein, Wolfman and Dracula.

In fact, in addition to the stars in the title, this movie also features Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Lon Chaney Jr. as Talbot/ The Wolfman, and Glenn Strange as Frankenstein's monster (who he'd played in at least 2 prior films).  It's 17 years after the first Dracula film and 16 years after Frankenstein (and 7 years after The Wolfman, so you don't need to look that up).

Octoberama! Fridays with Elvira!

Elvira has her own line of wine, but for some reason we can't get it in Texas.  No idea why.  I'd like to try the "Macabrenet".  Californians are encouraged to get me box.

Nice to know Elvira hangs out in her sofa with her laptop during her downtime, too.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Test Pilot (1938)

This was a pretty great movie.

Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy star in Test Pilot (1938), a movie that sets the tone for a lot of future films, right up to and including one of my favorite movies of all time, The Right Stuff.*  Gable plays the titular test pilot, Jim Lane, in the post-barn-storming days as aviation was really hitting its stride and the technology and engineering in airplanes was revving up for the incredible feats of technology that came with WWII.  Tracy plays his side-kick/ mechanic/ nanny who is all too keenly aware of the endgame that comes with taking a job that's all about going out and cheating death.

Clark Gable will haunt your dreams...

Octoberama! Esther Williams!

You will not recognize Ms. Williams at first as she is nowhere near a swimming pool or dozens of other swimmers.  But Ms. Williams takes some time off from submerging herself to enjoy the holiday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Animated Watch: Dark Knight Returns (Part 1)

When I was in 6th grade, I walked into Austin Books and Comics and had some birthday or Christmas money to spend.  I don't remember much about my early days of comics collecting, or chronological order of events, but I most certainly remember standing in ABC, flipping through the pages of a collection of Dark Knight Returns and not buying it.  I've always regretted the decision.

Because it was a whole 3-6 months later that I bought a trade paperback of the comic that changed everything for me.  And I could have read that comic much, much earlier.

Today that copy of Dark Knight Returns is in a sealed bag with a board.  It's worn from wear from the literally dozens of times its been read cover to cover, not counting the hundreds of times it was simply picked up and leafed through, nor the times it was handed off to friends (even as they were told: do not lose this, do not tear the pages, do not read it while eating, do not in any way harm this book) and, when I was making some early decisions about Jamie, she took it with her as assigned reading.

Flat out, I have most of the book memorized.  Like some people spent their middle-school years memorizing baseball stats or all the words to their favorite sci-fi movie, I (and a lot of you, I'd guess) were memorizing every caption and thought bubble in Miller's comic attributed to Batman.  I was a Batman nut.

Octoberama! Cyd Charisse!

You didn't really think I'd make it through a themed series without posting Cyd Charisse, did you?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

No Post Wednesday

I had an impromptu dinner with a pal from out of town, and then came home and started watching the very-not-Halloween-themed movie, Test Pilot.

It will surprise you to learn this movie is about a pilot who tests planes.

We have recently hung new art around the house.  We've never lived anywhere this long together, and I am on track to have lived in this house as long as I've lived anywhere, the previous record held by the house I lived in from 1984 - 1990.  Time for some changes.  Its cheaper and easier than moving.

After watching Looper last night, I realized this movie will be remade in 15-20 years with someone who is currently a child actor and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  But you can't get hung up on remakes.

Anyone who tells you that all Hollywood does these days is remakes is missing the part where all anyone has ever done is remakes.  This is from Arthurian legend to most mythologies, to Hollywood adapting books and plays during its pre-Hollywood days in New York, to the fact that A Star is Born is remade approximately every seven years when an actress decides she's found her vehicle for getting some Oscar attention.*  Remakes are a Hollywood tradition.  Truly new movies are the exception, by far.  Or, at least new movies worth slogging through.

Tomorrow night, Jason and I will delve into the cartoon movie of The Dark Knight Returns, Vol. 1.  DC Animation finally took on this massive project, and I am not exactly thrilled.  It's a work of its medium, and I'm not sure even the talented folks at DC Animation can pull this off.  But they did break it up into two movies, surely a marketing ploy as much as breaking up the last, plotless Twilight film into two parts, but at least my usual criticism of worrying about cramming too much story into 80 minutes shouldn't be a problem.

I have a lot of travel planned for work.  I will actually be in Houston, if anyone is there.

Then Lubbock(!) and then Denver.

Help me.

*I wrote this as a joke and then checked, and, yes, there's one on IMDB listed for 2013.

Octoberama! Carole Lombard!

We will forgive Ms. Lombard her whack jack-o-lantern and focus on the ruffle on that blouse.  That's amazing.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Looper (2012)

Like all non-comedies about time travel, this movie becomes primarily about the mechanics of the plot devices and which corner our characters will get painted into to make the plot make any sense.

Like all time travel movies, this one basically falls apart if you think too hard about the mechanics of what they're saying and doing - and once the movie concludes and you have time to think on it - no, it won't make sense, but that doesn't mean I didn't like the movie.  Also, no, I haven't seen Primer (I expect the comment section to get filled with Nag Troll Comments), but I basically expect for time travel movies to not really work as well as one might hope.  In fact, the last one I thought did work pretty well was 12 Monkeys, which also sent Bruce Willis cartwheeling through time and space.

So what did I like?

Octoberama! Betty Grable!

In my long history of blogging, I've use this picture before, but I don't believe I knew this was Betty Grable.  Nonetheless, let us join Betty in her spooky moment.

Happy Birthday, Eddie Rickenbacker

No, he did not invent popcorn.  He has nothing to do with popcorn.

Eddie Rickenbacker was the leading WWI Ace of the United States Army Air Force.  In the deadly skies over Europe, in first a Nieuport 28 and then a Spad XIII, Rickenbacker has 27 confirmed air victories on record and flew more than 300 hours, the most of any American during the war.

A stunning feat, and certainly laurels enough upon which one could rest.  But after WWI, Rickenbacker first promoted Liberty Bonds, then started his own automobile company (that didn't make it), but went on to get involved with Eastern Air Transport and then Eastern Airlines, which he ran successfully during the golden age of air transport.

He would be 122 today.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

October Watch: Dracula's Daughter (1936)

I can't remember if I'd watched this movie before or not, because bits looked familiar, but I'm counting this as my first viewing of Dracula's Daughter (1936).

Following quickly on the heels of 1935's Bride of Frankenstein, this movie took a different angle from the Frankenstein sequel, and this one features a lot of the titular character instead of a scant few minutes and mostly hissing at Karloff.  However, it lacks any of the over-the-top insanity of Bride.

Octoberama! Sundays with The Bride!

Ms. Elsa Lanchester takes five on the set of Bride of Frankenstein

No Matter What, Dressing Like Hawkman Makes You Look Like a Lunatic

I do not cosplay, and I'd be lying if I said I do not find myself mentally judging those who do.  Not for cosplaying, but cosplaying badly.  I, for one, will never slip into a Flash costume just because  like Wally West and Barry Allen.  I know the limitations of my body and that red one-piece.

On paper, Hawkman sometimes looks totally AWESOME.  He has wings and a mace and a cool helmet.  I really want to like Hawkman.  The character appeared on Smallville for a handful of episodes, and when he had his helmet and wings on, he looked like a lunatic.

Turns out, cosplaying as Hawkman, no matter the quality of the costume or the physique of the wearer, points out one thing:  that is one crazy @#$%ing look.

Kudos to the couples costumes on this one.  At least you two know you're made for each other.