Friday, August 19, 2022

Friday Watch Party: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1939)

I have never seen a Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes film, and now I found out a very young Ida Lupino co-stars in this particular movie.  

Look, I'm remarkably easy to please, in many respects.  Just put Ida Lupino in your movie.  Or Basil Rathbone.  Or Sherlock Holmes.  All are perfectly cromulent reasons to watch a film.

So let's do this.  

Day:  08/19/2022
Time:  8:30 PM Central/ 6:30 PM Pacific
Format:  Amazon Prime
Price:  $4

link is live 10 minutes before showtime

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Happy Birthday, Lois Lane

Apparently I have it in my Google Calendar that today is Lois Lane's birthday.

Happy birthday to the world's greatest reporter!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Happy Birthday, Madonna

Happy Birthday to Madonna Ciccone of Bay City, Michigan.

Here's to the person who kept me with one ear on pop music during my grumpier years and both eyes on MTV for years upon end.  Heck, seeing the video for Lucky Star is one of my seminal memories as a kid, and I probably need a series of lengthy therapy sessions to work through Express Yourself and Take a Bow.  

She's got a new album out there (of remixes, I think) and currently is going through a new look I have several questions about, but we'll always have Open Your Heart.

Monday, August 15, 2022

2020's Watch: The Lost City (2022)

Watched:  08/14/2022
Format:  I don't actually know.  Jamie put it on.
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2020's
Director:  Two guys named Nee

Sunday night we threw on the recent Sandra Bullock/ Channing Tatum romantic adventure comedy, The Lost City (2022), as it had received a generally favorable RT score and my brain wasn't functioning, anyway.

This movie is the platonic definition of "it's fine".  It is more or less exactly what you think from the trailers, everyone appears to be having a good time, it's got fewer laughs than what you'd like but is reasonably funny, and you'll have a frictionless experience which results in forgetting you saw it in about two months.

The movie co-stars Daniell Radcliff as a somewhat mad billionaire, the lovely Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Bullock's agent, a goofing Brad Pitt as a sort of mercenary, Hector Anibal as a henchman, and Oscar Nunez providing comedy relief in a comedy?

The movie is Romancing the Stone with no edges.  

Like, I don't really know what else to say about it - someone watched Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas and said "let's do that, but different enough that copyright isn't an issue".  But it just feels like a re-write of a wildly popular movie that tries to make up for the lack of sexy sexiness with "hotness", reminding you Channing Tatum works out a lot and eats a lot of protein and Sandra Bullock is a fan of pilates and it's paying off.  

But, it's a romance novelist living out one of her own books in a vaguely Latin-American country with a jungle helped along by a hunky guy and there's a jewel to be had.  Romancing the Stone.  Everything else is just wing dings they put on it.

Por ejemplo:  There's also a dead husband storyline that feels very much like a 1990's movie that insists our lead occasionally acts, but it's also, like, a weirdly dark cloud over what's supposed to be a funny romp through the jungle.  It's made all the more confusing because no one seems to care about Bullock's dead husband or her grieving him or what seems to be clinical depression that screams "it is not funny that people are forcing her through the steps of the first act, she is a grieving widow suffering depression".  The cumulative effect was me wondering if the dead husband thing was an early or late addition to the script that didn't fit most of the rest of the script.

The movie should really just be about her figuring out her male-model doofus pal has an inner life and it's okay to bang him - something he seems up for from jump.  But he also has a weird and unwarranted relationship to the book series as a guy who probably has one photoshoot a year?

What flat out doesn't make sense - minus crippling depression - is why Bullock is kidnapped instead of paid-off and why she doesn't want to participate in Radcliffe's scheme, especially when he has unlimited resources and is willing to remove her from her tour she doesn't want to be on.  She states she was a practicing archaeologist at one point.  That seems relevant.  Like -having her just go and then realize she's in over her head is the infinitely more interesting choice. 

Pretty clearly the movie wants to be the start of a series, much like Romancing the Stone tried to do same, so we keep up with various players who will be our gang in future adventures, like Bullock's publisher, her weird friend in Oscar Nunez and Radcliffe, who will be Danny Devito in future installments. 

80's Watch: Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985)

Watched:  08/12/2022
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Director:  Tim Burton

I saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985) the first time in a theater in the Chicago area when we were on a family roadtrip and were staying with some people who had kids our age.  I mean, we were all a little obligated to like Pee-Wee Herman at the time, and I think there was a smidge of misunderstanding that this was a kids' movie rather than an all-ages movie.  

I recall thinking the movie was funny, better than I expected, and that I'd about needed a change of pants after the Large Marge sequence during which I'd leaped about a foot out of my chair.  

I've seen the movie a few times over the years, and every time I am reminded of the film's genuine greatness.  

I really don't know much about Paul Reubens outside of his work as Pee-Wee Herman, but I assume he's a pretty smart guy.  Literally no one else does what he does.  What was kind of lost on us at the time as kids, and what will be lost on kids new to the movie now is that Pee-Wee Herman is a sort of living embodiment of a Boomer nostalgia and retro goofiness that wasn't commodified in the way Gen-X nostalgia has driven, like, billion dollar Transformers movies.  He was more of a boy-man who still lived in a sort of Howdy Doody world of kitsch and camp that now looks like generic kid-fun, but was roughly coded to bend the intention of everything around him from Abraham Lincoln in the kitchen to a hobo bindle stick.

The story, the characters (Simone!), the settings (dinosaur truck stop, the rodeo) and the set-up are all amazing nonsense.  I mean, it's a movie that features a Santa sleigh with a Godzilla in it during a climactic scene.  The movie doesn't pause for life lessons, it just keeps upping the goofiness.  

Also, the casting is pitch perfect - at least it seems so now - with Jan Hooks, Elizabeth Daily, Diane Salinger, Cassandra Peterson, Mark Holton, Judd Omen, and more..!
Anyway - if you want 90 minutes of pure joy, I welcome you to it.  If you do not, take a pass.