Thursday, July 2, 2020
Format: Netflix Streaming
Director: David Dobkin
I am not going to write this up and/ or oversell it. But it was better than I thought it would be, and I got to see Pierce Brosnan play an Icelandic fisherman. And now I know who Rachel McAdams is after Jamie explaining to me who she is once a year for twenty tears.
Saturday, June 27, 2020
Director: Charlotte Zwerin
I am not a jazz aficionado - that's NathanC's gig. I honestly haven't put on a Thelonius Monk album in a while - maybe years. I did go through my jazz phase twenty years ago, so, yeah, I still have those albums.
TCM has been doing a series called "Jazz in the Movies", which I haven't watched much of, but decided to record a couple of films one night, and had heard that Thelonius Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988) was an exemplary doc. This reputation was earned, and I am sure jazz fans all know it.
For folks like myself who are only vaguely aware of Monk, it's a fascinating crash course to get you past simply enjoying the music and understand the man who made it. Shocker of all shockers - a pre-eminent jazz artist has a complicated life and personal issues. Unlike Miles Davis, the wounds aren't as self-inflicted, but they do weigh on him.
Culled from footage shot on a late career tour and post-death interviews with colleagues, the doc paints a portrait of a complicated man who was *loved* by the people who knew him and couldn't help but stand in awe of his genius. And, yeah, I don't use the word genius a lot - but the names tied to Be-Bop sure seem like they deserve it.
It wasn't hurt at all by the intro and outro conversations on TCM by Eddie Muller (who knew he knew jazz?) and his majesty Wynton Marsalis (and, yes, I've see Marsalis play live once and it was worth every penny).
The doc gives the music room to breathe, and reminded me how and why I went through that jazz era. And what I'll be listening to after Jamie turns in tonight.
Saturday, April 4, 2020
Jamie and Ryan revisit one of Ryan's inexplicably favorite movies, 1984's "Streets of Fire" (which he is well aware is probably not a good movie, but it's somehow a movie he'll always stop to watch). Another time! Another place! It's sorta the retro 1980-50's, a sprawling urban landscape where rock rules and so do dudes in leather gear on motorbikes! But a steely-eyed dude with a high powered rifle and Amy Madigan at his side can save the day AND the cute girl (Diane Lane!)! Adventure! Excitement! Cool cars! Bad bad guys! Rock AND Roll!
Nowhere Fast - Fire Inc., Streets of Fire OST
I Can Dream About You - Dan Hartman, Streets of Fire OST
Tonight Is What It Means To Be Young - Fire Inc., Streets of Fire OST
Monday, March 23, 2020
Format: TCM on DVR
This movie had a lot of things converge to recommend it. It's from the same writing team that did On the Town from a few years prior, it was directed by Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, it *starred* Gene Kelly, and, if I'm being honest, Cyd Charisse.
Saturday, March 21, 2020
Musician Kenny Rogers has passed at the age of 81.
Country music went through a boom in the late 70's and early 1980's, and it's hard to think of anyone who crossed over to mainstream Soft Rock popularity more than Kenny Rogers. For a few years there, Rogers was everywhere on the radio and in my parents' record collection. His stardom rose enough that they put him in movies (see: Six Pack) and even based a series of TV movies on his hit song, "The Gambler".
On the back of a huge duets album, Rogers shared a headline act with Dolly Parton at one of the first concerts I ever attended at age 10 (it seems this was November 3rd, 1985). I mean, we all remember "Islands in the Stream".*
By the 90's, Rogers had settled into veteran star status and continued putting out albums, touring, appearing in movies, etc... but it would probably be a surprise to anyone under the age of 38 or so what a huge deal this guy was for a while.
Anyway, I can't say I kept up with Kenny Rogers much since... 1987 or so. But there's no question Rogers was a huge part of a certain era. At our house, his records spun on the turntable and we were called into the room if he was going to appear on TV (and my mom would exclaim "oh, he's so good!"). Circa 1995 my brother and I treated Jamie to an impromptu duet of "The Gambler" which she first found charming and then alarming as we would not stop.
Here's to Kenny Rogers.
*or, as the kids know it, that old skool Diddy track, "Ghetto Superstar"
Monday, March 9, 2020
Format: Amazon Streaming
It's the inaugural episode of Jamie's Cinema Classic Selections! If you liked Cats, we've got us some more movies to discuss.
For no reason in particular we decided to watch "Xanadu" (1980) and talk about it. It seems neither of us had ever seen it, and, honestly, we now have more questions than answers. Not a musical, not-not a musical, starring a legend of the silver screen in his swan song and an up-and-coming film siren in the movie that kept her off the big screen for decades - it's roller skating, disco, rock, big band, 40's and 80's, and more rollerskating! XANADU!
Magic - Olivia Newton John, Xanadu OST
Xanadu - Olivia Newton John, Xanadu OST
and just in case you missed it:
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Format: Cable TV
Decade: 1970's, baby!
I have no idea why we aren't all constantly talking about Phantom of the Paradise (1974).
Written and directed by Brian DePalma, starring and with songs by Paul Williams, it's a 70's-splosion take on Phantom of the Opera and Faust, with impressionistic and stylized art design and cinematography mixed with oddball performances and larger-than-life glam rock fantasy - it's a hell of a thing to watch (and hear).
For my music-aficionado pals and those of you who like something just amazingly, audaciously over the top - give it a shot.
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Viewing: 5th or 6th
We welcome all-new co-contributor and longtime pal JAL to the PodCast for a new series: Noir Watch! We're kicking it off with a dreamy murder mystery, Laura (1944) - a whodunnit about a detective who falls for a painting, a venom tongued columnist and Vincent Price in his pre-Master of Horror Days. And, of course, the lovely Gene Tierney.
Laura - Dan Raskin, Laura OST
Noir Watch Playlist:
Whiskey: Bonesnapper Rye
Some films mentioned:
His Kind of Woman starring Vincent Price, Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell
Kiss of Death starring Richard Widmark and Victor Mature
Laura as cover song
by Charlie Parker
by Ella Fitzgerald
Sunday, January 19, 2020
Saturday, December 28, 2019
Format: TCM on DVR
I've been aware of Victor/ Victoria (1982) since, probably, college. Just never got around to seeing it. The movie is famous for it's plot of "woman posing as a man presenting as a female impersonator (re: Drag Queen)", but you hear little else about it. It had no radio hits from the songs and hadn't really permeated the culture the way many-a-musical will.
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Format: Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane
(Our most NSFW episode yet!) We hit the Alamo Drafthouse, settled in and ordered up some cocktails, for we were watching "CATS" - the adaptation of the 1980's musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber! Join us in a Day Drinking the Movies episode as we discuss 2019's favorite (and deserving!) movie punching bag - with special guests Doug and K!
Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats - Cast, Cats OST
Memory - Jennifer Hudson, Cats OST
Monday, December 23, 2019
We've all seen this movie, and the weirdest part to me is still that they got Michael Caine to sing and (kinda?) dance.
I like it, too. It's probably as safe a bet as you've got for introducing your kids to the notion of A Christmas Carol, which they might as well get to know at some point. But it is genuinely a sweet movie, even if not my favorite adaptation of the book (the George C. Scott version is incredible, the Patrick Stewart version surprisingly moving, and I'm always in the bag for Scrooged).
But, hey, you get penguins ice skating, some great muppet-eering, and Paul Williams providing excellent musical numbers. The sets are absolutely mind-boggling, and the "let's put a ton of Muppets on the screen" approach totally pays off.
Anyhoo, I'm a fan.
Sunday, November 24, 2019
Friday, November 22, 2019
I was on hiatus with The Signal Watch when I saw Frozen (2013) the first time, so there's no record here of what I thought at the time. I do regret not having any of my reaction caught, because it was the most I'd loved a new Disney movie since Lion King, and, now, Frozen and Moana are probably my two favorite Disney animated features produced post Walt's passing.
Frozen became a smash in a way even Disney hadn't anticipated, becoming the soundtrack of choice for kids for a two year stint there, with merchandise everywhere, and with BluRays on repeat. I know it became one of those things that a lot of people turned on, simply burnt out on a thing they'd initially liked. It got so crazy, I recall Mommy Blogs ranting about how Disney was ruining their lives by way of under-producing Anna and Elsa dolls (btw, not Disney's fault there, moms... That's a toy company's issue, or a sudden case of supply and demand not meeting.).
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Format: Amazon Streaming
We welcome special guest, Eric S, as Maxwell and I discuss one of the greatest episodes of TV of all time, from one of the greatest sitcoms of all time! It's a 2019 Thanksgiving edition of The Signal Watch! We talk about the series in general, but all through the lens of one turkey of an episode. Oh, the humanity! (We recommend watching S1: Episode 7 of "WKRP in Cincinnati" before listening)
My entries for The Signal Watch Challenge!
Monday, November 11, 2019
Decade: 1970's/ 2010's
If asked to compile a list of the greatest popular American singers of the 20th Century, I'd assume Aretha Franklin would make the top few - if not the number one slot - for much of the US populace.
We lost Franklin in 2018, and it's unclear who can begin to fill her role in the zeitgeist, but maybe it's too soon, and maybe we don't need to. Maybe she was a singular talent.
Shot in 1972 and unreleased until the last 12 months or so, Amazing Grace (2019) is an attempt by Sydney Pollack to record and capture the experience of Franklin recording a live Gospel album at a church in Los Angeles over the course of two nights. Backed by a local choir and supported by the Reverend James Cleveland, Franklin takes to the pulpit and - as one would expect - nails every song before her.
Thursday, November 7, 2019
Format: TV broadcast on ABC
This "show" was some rough going, and I hope it's not how anyone would introduce their child to The Little Mermaid, stage musicals or entertainment in general.
In honor of the 30th Anniversary of the animated The Little Mermaid, Disney, for reasons that remain totally unclear, decided to show the original The Little Mermaid, but when the movie reached the musical numbers, cut over to actors performing the numbers on a stage in front of their big movie screen.
Look, I've seen The Little Mermaid maybe twice and neither of those times occurred in the past 20 years. As with about 1 in 2 Disney movies, I just don't really click to the movie about a young, dumb mermaid in love with a guy she only met when he was wet and unconscious. I skipped TLM at the theater because I thought it was for very young children, and missed the memo that this movie the thing to tell people Disney was no longer making kinda bad movies. I finally saw it summer 1992, thought it was better than I expected, but was more into what Disney was doing when I did hit the theater for Beauty and the Beast in '91.
Thursday, September 5, 2019
As was noted today by Post-Punk (srsly, follow these people), and our own JimD (follow Jim, too, he could use the emotional support), today is the 31st anniversary of the release of Peepshow, the 9th album by Siouxsie and The Banshees.
Peepshow was one of those albums that, as the kids would say, got me through high school.* While I liked the single of Peek-a-Boo when it debuted on MTV, I didn't actually buy the full album til the following year. In practical terms, I listened to this album over and over, nurtured a fanboy crush on front woman Siouxsie Sioux, and felt things deeply while listening to said album on tape, which I was in danger of wearing out when I got my first CD player.
I tend to think of Peepshow as a very complete album. It's more than a smattering of songs from a band, and it's not just that every song is single-worthy, or so I believe, but that the band found a flow to the songs that takes you from point to point. It isn't a "concept album" nor does it tell a story, really, but it just clicks, track after track. And, mostly, makes me miss the thing where you just lie on your bed, staring at the ceiling, listening to a record.
Here's to Peepshow, the first sexy depressing album with a dollop of S&M and pop fun that got me to hang posters of a woman on my wall that I know my mother did not approve of at all.
I did see Siouxsie and The Banshees in 1991 at the first Lollapalooza in Dallas, TX when they toured in support of Superstition, which also had some great singles. And, yeah, they were pretty great despite the fact it was 98 degrees when they hit the stage.
*one day I suppose we should tackle this notion of "got me through high school" on the podcast with Maxwell and MRSHL.