Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Linked sausages

It looks as if I’m not going to have much on the agenda for today owing to the fact that I have a few errands to run and probably won’t be able to log in any movie screenings until sometime after this goes to press. I have been hunkering down here in the Yesteryear bunker because this Thursday, the ‘rents and I will journey back to the Mountain State for the annual Shreve reunion in Randolph County—or as I have referred to it in the past, “the driest weekend of the year.” (Well, that’s a bit of a misnomer…there’s no drinking during the actual reunion…but there’s plenty before and after with the members of my immediate family who know that it’s necessary to unwind with a good toddy every now and then.) While I’m there, my dearest high school chum The Duchess and her hubby will be hooking up with me…for some dinner and drinks, though I hope with a heavier emphasis on the former since I can’t quite run with the big dogs anymore.

Saturday found Mi Madre and I visiting the Tangers Factory Outlet in Commerce, GA (I’ve always marveled at the irony of that burg’s handle) where I picked up some badly needed shirts, shorts and unmentionables at Casual Male XL—or as I often call it, FatTown USA. Now, let me just state for the record that while my ribs aren’t going to be showing anytime soon, I did drop a couple of sizes, clothing-wise. I got some splendid deals while shopping, and upon our return enjoyed the 'rents' company both at lunch and dinner—the second meal was a marvelous affair, with a nice salad, baked potato, bread and butter and a gorgeous filet mignon. My mother insisted on calling this repast “simple.” I tried to explain to her that “simple” is when I shove a Stouffer’s pizza bread into the oven for a half-hour.

Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the release of The Blues Brothers (1980), and with the Pope’s recommendation of the film being a “Catholic classic” it was only fitting that the comedy blockbuster receive a nice write-up from John Cochrane at Edward Copeland on Film. Mr. C himself went out of his way to toast the golden anniversary of one of my truly favorite screen comedies, The Apartment (1960) yesterday. I had planned to mention this on the blog yesterday but I sort of got wrapped up in trying to complete yesterday’s Mayberry Mondays segment. (These R.F.D. episodes don’t watch themselves, you know.) Speaking of which, I’d like to thank the many reader who’ve taken the time to tell me how much you enjoy this popular TDOY feature…to be honest, I thought I’d do it for about four weeks and then get bored with it. But it’s turning out to be a lot of fun. (I’m kicking around the idea of adding a second feature that will be along the same lines—right now one of the contenders is Dennis the Menace.)

The winner of the Large Association of Movie Blogs’ 2010 LAMMY Award for Best Blog was announced Friday and once again, I somehow managed to pick the winner—M. Carter @ the Movies. I read quite a bit of the material on the other nominee’s sites and finally went with the one that I thought was truly the best. Kudos and victory laps to Meredith for taking all the marbles.

Cinema Styles' Greg Ferrara has gone on record as saying he hates me. Fortunately, the other people on his despised list are people I admire and respect greatly, so it’s nice to know I’m in good company. One of these individuals is Bill R. of The Kind of Face You Hate, who’s written a very funny treatise on how to become a superhero.

Jordan R. Young, an individual who I most assuredly do not hate (he’s the author of my go-to book on writing radio and television comedy, The Laugh Crafters) sent me a heads-up via Facebook that the L.A. Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats classic film series is going to show the 1924 silent classic Peter Pan on June 30th. I’d love to see this, as the only version of the legendary fairy tale I’ve seen is the 1953 Disney version.

At Forget the Talkies, Hala Pickford asks “Could we ever find the films of Theda Bara?” Sadly, the answer to this is a resounding no—unless there’s a collector out there hoarding some treasures featuring one of the Silent Era’s most notorious screen vamps. For the full story on why so little of her films survive, I suggest you give it a read. When you’re done with that, you might enjoy this article from IndianExpress.com on the individuals who do a lot of the grunt work in film restoration and preservation.

I found this article very depressing, so you if you want to bypass it I’ll certainly understand. It talks about the great British clown Sir Norman Wisdom and how the ravages of vascular dementia have taken such a toll on him (he’s 95) that he no longer recognizes himself in his old films. His is a name that might be (pun unintentional) foreign to classic film buffs, but you might remember him as partner to Jason Robards in the 1968 comedy The Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968), one of my favorite films. (I have a feeling I’ll have to compose an obit for Sir Norman sometime not too long in the future…and I’ll be saddened indeed.)

Here are several articles that seem to be part of a theme; beginning with FearNet.com’s A Dad’s Guide to Introducing Your Kids to Scary Movies. I enjoyed some of the choices made here, particularly Frankenstein (1931), Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) and TDOY Halloween annual Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)—but at the risk of being considered both fuddy and duddy I can’t for the life of me figure out how Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) keeps making lists like this. Don’t get me wrong, I love Factory—I think it’s a brilliantly twisted fairy tale…but that scene during the psychedelic boat ride where the chicken loses its…well, let’s just say an individual I know on a first-name basis saw that as a young tad and not long after discovered an old bedwetting problem had come back in spades.

This Cinema Blend list is a little more kid-friendly (though Wonka makes this list, too) and I love how they decided not to leave out any of the Disney animated films by simply lumping them all together under “The Entire Disney Traditional Animated Catalogue.” The most offbeat choice on this tally (even more so than Wonka) is Abbott & Costello’s Pardon My Sarong (1942)—the author, Josh Tyler, argues that any Bud & Lou outing will suffice but I think I’d go with Meet Frankenstein or any of the other “monster” films (Meet the Mummy, Meet the Invisible Man) before going with Sarong—heck, I’d even put Hold That Ghost (1941) ahead. Again, Sarong is one of my favorite A&C vehicles…but there’s a scene in that one where Bud tries to convince Lou to commit suicide and I’m not sure that's something Dick and Jane will understand.

Finally, for shits and giggles—Cracked.com has a countdown of “7 Classic Disney Movies That Taught Us Terrible Lessons.” My favorite is The Lion King (1994), whose actual message is “In order for you to be successful, other people will have to pay. And ultimately, that's okay, because the ends justify the means!”

With a blogroll as large as TDOY’s, it’s safe to say that I read a lot of blogs…and as such, I get the opportunity to read other people’s opinions on films that I admire—here are two examples of favorite TDOY flicks getting first class treatment: Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings salutes the 1956 comedy classic The Court Jester, and Mark Bourne at Open the Pod Bay Doors, HAL riffs on the 1967 cult comedy The President’s Analyst. Over at Things That Don’t Suck, Bryce Wilson gets a leg-up on the upcoming John Huston Blogathon at Icebox Movies with a look at one of my favorite of the director’s many classics, Wise Blood (1979). (This is also one of sister Kat’s favorites, she being a Flannery O’Connor devotee and all.) I hope to be able to contribute a few essays to the Blogathon but for right now I know that one of the films I’ll be examining will be The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), which I purchased on a Region 2 DVD in 2008. (It will give me an excuse to unwrap it.)

I don’t own a Blu-Ray player—and I probably won’t anytime soon until I see a severe drop in the asking tariff—but when I get one, I have a feeling that this will be among my first Blu-Ray purchases…sneak peek courtesy of ClassicFlix.com.

I saw this over at J. Kingston Pierce’s invaluable The Rap Sheet—and since he’s been so generous in linking to things I’ve scribbled over here from time to time I thought I’d return the compliment. Technically, it’s not something he wrote—but had he not mentioned an interesting article at the I Spy forum about a script composed for a proposed fourth season for the classic espionage series starring the late Robert Culp and Bill Cosby I would have otherwise not read it and found it very worthy of a look-see.

So long, Reader’s Digest, adios, Radio Shack, fare thee well, Ballbuster Blockbuster Video. (This last one is particularly gratifying to hear.) These and seven other “brands” will vanish by 2011, according to this article at 24/7 Wall Street…thanks to the one and only Malignant Bouffant at Just Another Blog (From L.A.)™ for pointing me to this.

Finally, I have to admit the ol’ Yesteryear sphincter got a little tight when the ‘rents told me about this Spaghetti-O’s recall (the first person who makes an “Uh oh!” reference will stay after blog and clap erasers). My mother said to me: “You didn’t hear about this?” Me: “How the hell am I supposed to know? It’s not like it’s the topic of discussion on Turner Classic Movies…”

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fiftieswesterns said...

Like you, I'm a Meet Frankenstein kinda guy. (My daughter, nine, digs it, too.)

Hold That Ghost would be my #2.

But really, you can't go wrong with any A&C.

M. Carter @ the Movies said...

Hey, Ivan, thanks so much for the shoutout and for picking me for the win! It was quite a nice surprise and I can't say it didn't make me feel a little vindicated for all the time I put into the blog, my tedious, time-gobbling, no-paying labor of love.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

my tedious, time-gobbling, no-paying labor of love

Meredith, I am so stealing this description.

Matthew Coniam said...

It certainly is sad about Norman, but that article, like the tv doc it refers to, takes an unnecessarily doomy tone about his popularity. (Smartarses always hated him, and there is clear relish in this piece.)
He is well remembered and sells well on DVD. When he does finally join the pantheon there will be a lot of coverage.

Who Done It? gets my A&C vote, by the way.