Saturday, November 26, 2016
I forgot to write this one up when we watched it a while back. It happens.
For a long time I thought the first MST3K episode I'd ever seen was Bride of the Monster, the Bela Lugosi-starring picture by Ed Wood with Lugosi playing a mad scientist living in a spooky old house with a slow-witted assistant and pursued by an eager girl reporter out to prove her mettle. But I actually remembered one of the jokes from the first time I saw MST3K, and as I've subsequently watched Bride of the Monster more than once, I've realized: nope, that joke wasn't used with that film.
So, I have very particular memories of the day I first saw MST3K which helped me track down the correct episode.
For no particular reason, we watched Return of the Jedi this evening.
It seems dumb to write up a Star Wars movie, so I won't. We were going to watch A New Hope, but decided to wait til after Rogue One.
But, man, Luke is the world's biggest back-seat driver.
Well, 2016, you finally got one I'm not going to shed a tear over.
I'm not going to eulogize Castro, but it would be disingenuous not to note the death of someone who had such a pivotal role in international politics for so many decades. You guys have Wikipedia, so I'll leave you to look him up on your own.
We seem to inch towards a free Cuba, year by year. Perhaps with Castro's passing, our neighbors are that much closer to a better tomorrow.
Friday, November 25, 2016
In our house, a visit from The Dug is a holiday tradition, and part of that visit is always filling two hours of my life with regret. I don't go in for terrible movies quite the same way I used to, but I'm still willing to roll up my sleeves and dig back in a few times per year.
To refer to Rollergator (1996) as a "movie" is a bit of a stretch. Shot on, at best, 3/4" tape (but I strongly suspect it's S-VHS) over what may be, at longest, 3 days, it's nearly impossible to tell if the movie has a script, who this movie was intended for, and what anyone involved was thinking.
For something like 80-85 minutes, this thing just keeps happening, and it's all you can do by the 15 minute mark (even with the benefit of Rifftrax) to not start slamming your head in a car door to make the weird, dull pain behind your eyes go away.
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
It's been a busy week for us here at League HQ. I had two separate trips out of town between Monday and Sunday, to Waco and then Ft. Worth. In my 1.5 days in the office, I was catching up and adjusting to both a new office and a standing desk (we're gonna have to work on the standing desk arrangement. Complications have arisen from the fact I'm about 6'5" and this desk thinks that's too tall for a reasonable desk jockey.
I even went into work today for about three hours even though I'd asked for Monday - Wednesday off - but I didn't want to not show my face around the office for that long.
Today Dug and K arrived at our house for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I expect to be in low content mode while I pay attention to our house guests.
I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. I am not sure I'll be online or posting, but I also didn't want you to think I'd fallen off the face of the Earth.
Wednesday, November 16, 2016
I was glad to get a chance to re-watch Zootopia (2016), which I'd last caught on a plane from Austin to London, and that's never an ideal viewing environment. You can read my write up here. I also think that whatever version I saw on the place was the British version, which was maybe called Zootropolis, because in the version we watched last weekend I'm pretty sure they called the city Zootopia.
Anyway, I still liked the movie just as much. It's not the same instant myth-making as Frozen or Beauty and the Beast (and did y'all see that trailer for the live action version? Pretty keen.), it's too high concept and plot-driven. In it's way, it's dealing with a lot of cultural abstractions that, pretty clearly, a lot of people are not quite internalizing and dealing with in the adult world, which makes the all-ages nature of the film kind of a peculiar fit.
But, yeah, I still like the movie quite a bit.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Ah. Okay. So.
I had a free rental for some reason at Vulcan Video, so I wanted to continue down the path of watching some additional Hammer Horror. I was vaguely aware of the movie The Vampire Lovers (1970), maybe from a suggestion from one of you fine people. I don't know. What I did know was that the Hammer aficionados have a warm spot in their hearts for Ingrid Pitt, and this one was heavily featuring Ms. Pitt, so who was I to not watch this movie?
Monday, November 14, 2016
At one point in my life, I was an Arnold Schwarzenegger completionist. If Arnie put out a movie, I was seeing it. This went right up through his pre-Governator movies that were of middling quality. It is true I fell down on the job and didn't see Jingle All the Way during it's theatrical release, but I did rent it with my mom the following Christmas, and we yukked it up together to the antics of Arnie and Sinbad.
But somehow, I missed out on Kindergarten Cop (1990). I don't know how or why. It's kind of odd, really, because it came out during a window when I went to the movies on a weekly basis, and movies were in the theater for usually about a month or more before disappearing back then. And Kindergarten Cop did pretty well. Lots of people saw it.
Further confounding my how's and why's, the movie co-stars Penelope Ann Miller, who was a draw for me back in the day in a post The Freshman world (and even pre-The Shadow). The only thing I can think is that movie came out in December 1990, shortly after I'd moved to Houston but before I had a driver's license. So, it's possible I couldn't get to the cinema and I didn't have anyone to go with.
So, I finally watched the movie.
And it is terrible.
Sunday, November 13, 2016
I don't know where to start or what, exactly, to say about Starcrash (1978).
I'd heard of the movie decades ago as it was always in with the sci-fi/ fantasy movies at video rental shops, but with Caroline Munro in a vinyl bikini on the box cover, I knew better than to bother to rent the movie. When I was young enough to have to ask my parents to rent something for me, I didn't want to put up with the questions and then the reporting my parents would gleefully do given the first opportunity (my family looooooves a good embarrassing story, and a 10 year old Ryan standing there with a video with a buxom space-lady on the cover would have been fodder for them for weeks, if not years).
When I got older and was renting movies on my own, and, I know it seems counter-intuitive if you've been following this site for a while, but I already knew any movie relying on a bikini-clad off-brand actor on the cover wound up as a terrible decision. Yes, it was also the kind of thing that became fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000 in it's later years when the cheaply produced post Star Wars/ post Mad Max knock-offs were showing up over and over at the video store, but without Joel or Mike to guide me through, it wasn't worth it.* And, I don't mind that at one point in my life I was subconsciously trying to understand what was and was not a good movie.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
No real write-up. We re-watched The Legend of Tarzan (2016), which I wrote up this summer.
It's too bad this film didn't perform better and get more attention, because I quite like where they were going with Tarzan here. It's a leap from the books and various other incarnations, but it was a version I would have gotten me back to the theater for a sequel, and it was at least as fun as Doctor Strange, while also having something of a point to it (which I'm not sure you can say about Marvel's latest entry).
It's also weird to think a movie can make $356 million and be seen as a "meh" performance, but that's today's Hollywood. If a movie isn't part of a system like the Marvel franchise where they can build and build on even a middling performer (see Ant-Man or even the first Captain America movie), it's really tough to get a second go or, weirdly, even to get any attention. I mean, it's kind of funny we'll take Doctor Strange seriously (it's at $350 million after a week! Go, Doc Strange!), but without the Marvel label, we'll shrug off Tarzan.
In short: that Marvel brand is a powerful thing. Being seen as old or legacy is not.
It's not a perfect movie or even a great movie, but it's certainly okay. I wish it did some things it didn't, but it did lots of things that surprised me, and gave me the first Jane Porter outside of the books or comics I've really liked.