Format: Amazon Watch Party
Director: John Carpenter
While I was a Wheel Watcher and had an odd affinity for "Sale of the Century", Jeopardy! was clearly the thinking-person's gameshow - because it was one of the last surviving quiz shows on TV. And, it was hosted by the thinking-person's gameshow host. Trebek ran a tight ship - foolishness was not creeping into the world of Jeopardy!. Demographic-pleasing plebes were not going to find their way onto the contestant's stand - he needed people who could answer a medley of trivia questions, and not lose their cool.
Trebek grounded the show with a cool, dry, breeziness that was polite, maybe a tad formal, and was unimpressed with credentials even when touting those of his guests. He was far more impressed if you made a run on the board. And, his giddiness (which amounted to a small smile at the best of times) shown through during returning champions weeks where he could count on a battle royale instead of watching middle school librarians fall by the wayside early in the game.
Most game show hosts you kind of just shrug at - goofy entertainers with a gift for hucksterism. But Trebek outsurvived almost all of them (Sajak is still doing his thing, along with Vanna). And he did it with a certain poise and sincerity about the show that gave gravitas to 30 minutes daily of people being asked random-ass questions for money. That could have been dumb, y'all.
Jeopardy! existed before Trebek, and it will exist after Trebek. But it will not be the same without him. Nor will the television landscape as I've known it my entire life. And, yes, I will be quietly very judgey of whomever tries to fill Trebek's podium.
Here's to a well deserved rest and may he never have to hear a response in the form of a question ever again.
Sooooooo... I had two weeks worth of plans, maybe three, for our Friday viewings. But someone pulled their catalog off of Amazon Prime as near as I can tell. So, no Pump Up the Volume or Short Circuit for us. I'm in a bit of a panic, so I'm reaching for a personal favorite since it was pointed out it was on here by Jenifer.
It's a post-apocalyptic future of 1997, and America is perpetually at war. New York has been turned into one big penal colony, and Air Force 1 just went down nearby. The President's escape pod has fallen into the middle of NYC, containing the President and a recording which will bring an end to conflict.
The Feds happen to have just laid their hands on one of the toughest criminals to ever walk on American soil: Kurt Russell with an eyepatch.
Now, Kurt Russell with an eyepatch needs to enter NYC, retrieve the package, and make it back out before the bomb in his neck explodes. And he's gonna need Harry Dean Stanton and Adrienne Barbeau (which I think we can all say).
Written by John Carpenter! Directed by Carpenter! Music by Carpenter!
Frankly I'm surprised I'd never seen this movie before, except: I've always been embarrassed to not have actually read the novel, which I usually like to do first on things like this. For a while as a kid I read my brother's Sherlock Holmes collections, and like many a 13 year old kid, was a fan. Frankly haven't read much since, so if anyone is doing any Christmas shopping for me... could use a nice Holmes collection.
Anyhoo... Peter Cushing was TCM's Star of the Month, and they aired the movie and I decided: heck, now is the time. It's Halloween-ish. Ghost hounds and all.
Cushing plays Sherlock Holmes (to perfection, I might add). Andre Morell is Watson. I was further delighted to find out it co-starred Christopher Lee is the heir to the Baskerville manor and fortune, Sir Henry.
The mystery surrounds a longstanding curse of the Baskerville family, that a demon hound occasionally gets them out on the moors surrounding their manor house. When the latest occupant dies, killed by some large creature, the next in line is summoned home from South Africa to take his place. In London, a Dr. Mortimer enlists the aid of Holmes and Watson to sort things out before Sir Henry falls to a similar fate.
The scope of the story plays well to the strengths of Hammer studios - access to solid actors, a limited number of locations, a grisly murder and kind of crazy story. It has that Terence Fisher touch to it of not being overly stuffy, but also not ever feeling exploitative regarding the horror or grisly details while also painting a picture of what has occurred off screen or which was hinted at.
If I have *any* complaint, I could have stood *more* of this movie. It runs 87 minutes, and feels like it could have spent more time building suspects, detailed a bit more here and there, and given more room for Sir Henry's budding romance/ infatuation with the neighbor's comely daughter. And, of course, with Cushing as Holmes such a delight, it would have been great to get more Holmes/ Watson time.