Thursday, August 19, 2010

Of blogathons and other topics of concern

There are a couple of upcoming blogathons that I wanted to direct your attention towards—but before I impart this information I sort of wanted to apologize to the good people who sponsored both the Summer Movie and the John Huston Blogathons.

Adam Zanzie at Icebox Movies was the mastermind behind the Huston event, and I was really gung-ho about participating because of my fondness for the director’s work—but I feel guilty because I kind of shortchanged him in as much as I recycled a pair of essays that I originally put together for Edward Copeland on Film. Honest to my grandma, I had originally conceived write-ups on Fat City (1972), Three Strangers (1946) and The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)—the latter film is still in my DVD player on “resume” if you don’t believe me—but because I can’t seem to manage my time properly they did not come to pass. I thought about punishing myself via repeated viewings of Huston’s Victory (1981)—and then I thought, “Well, I’m not that masochistic.”

With regards to the Summer Movie splash, I sent Kate Gabrielle at Silents and Talkies my condolences about not being able to put something together for what appears to have been a resounding success. A combination of Mayberry Mondays, multiple dinners with the ‘rents and, again, that whole time-budgeting thing found me staring at my computer screen on Tuesday (August 17, the deadline) and realizing I had nothing. (I’ve promised Kate I’d make it up to her the next time she throws a blogathon wingding.)

So with the mea culpas out of the way, I wanted to let faithful TDOY readers know that next week, beginning August 25th, Ruben at The Floating Red Couch will kick-off (pun intended) 1st Annual Bronko Nagurski Memorial Football Flick Fest:

Starting on Wednesday August 25th and running right up until September 3rd, the night before the Huskies open their season, the FRC will run, kick, and pass its way through 10 special football-related movies.

I encourage anyone interested to come along for the ride.

I am accepting and posting links to past reviews or reviews specifically written for the fest, or html if you want to be a guest contributor at the FRC. Or essays on football, football in movies, any football movie, any football player turned actor (there are a few if you smell what I'm cooking). Basically anything football-related, and not even movie related.

And if you're really ballsy, you'll devote these 10 nights to following along with the movies that I am watching.

Here's the schedule:

Wednesday 8/25 -- Pigskin Parade (1936, Judy Garland's film debut)
Thursday 8/26 -- We Are Marshall (2006)
Friday 8/27 -- Go Tigers! (2001, documentary)
Saturday 8/28 -- Any Given Sunday (1999)
Sunday 8/29 -- Everybody's All-American (1988)
Monday 8/30 -- Rudy (1993)
Tuesday 8/31 -- Little Giants (1994)
Wednesday 9/1 -- Knute Rockne All American (1940, starring The Gipper as ... well, The Gipper)
Thursday 9/2 -- Remember the Titans (2003)
Friday 9/3 -- The Longest Yard (1974, Burt Reynolds not Adam Sandler)

Let me just go on record as saying that I am tremendously pleased that Ruben is staying as far away from the Sandler version of The Longest Yard as possible, and for that he earns my undying admiration and respect. Nevertheless, I’m slightly pissed at him because Yard is the first film I thought about doing when I learned about this blogathon from Chuckie Award-winning blogger Stacia “Futurama quotes available upon request” Jones…only to become positively crestfallen when I saw it was the last movie on the list. Bloodied but unbowed, I have found a suitable substitute for his blogathon, so everything is copacetic. Here's a link to the banner Ruben's concocted to promote this auspicious event...he explained to me that "it's a little rough and archaic, but then again so is football and that's why we like it."

Come September, in the little area of the blogosphere hinterlands known as Blog Cabins, Fletch (the hardest working man in the movie blog bidness and Lord High Priest of The Large Association of Movie Blogs) will inaugurate the 30 dAyS oF cRAzY blogathon; a month of essays on films dealing with the subject of being cuckoo-for-Cocoa Puffs:

In honor of, well, nothing (how insane!), I've decided to host a blog-a-thon spotlighting 30 great movies in which craziness, insanity, and or someone that's just plain loco is involved. Most are from the last 25 years or so, but I've tossed in a few classics as well, for those classically inclined.

Movies about people that are nuts have a long, storied history in Hollywood - after all, what's more fun for an actor than to play a loon? As a bonus, they often get nominated for awards aplenty and sometimes even win.

Fletch has a list of the movies to be examined over at Cabins, and he originally had Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) on tap for the 6th…and seeing how I was keen to participate in order to shamelessly goose the hit count at this lonely piece of blog real estate, I told him I’d do a write-up for it. But I added an editorial comment about how I couldn’t believe he left off the cult classic Shock Corridor (1963) and expressed my desire to do that one instead…and so he graciously agreed to let me switch. I had no idea I possessed such powers of persuasion. (Rest assured, I will use them for good and not evil.)

The above is a little promo I cooked up in the Photoshop lab ("I'm actually doing science...") and if anyone wants to grab it and hug it and pet it and squeeze it and call it George it’s yours for the taking. (That’s TDOY fave Livvy de Havilland from The Snake Pit [1948] in the photo—Pit being another movie surreptitiously missing from the 30 dAyS oF cRAzY…along with Love Crazy (1941), Gaslight (1944), Harvey (1950), Dementia (1955), Autumn Leaves (1956), Splendor in the Grass (1961), The Caretakers (1963), Repulsion (1965)—but hey, this is not my blogathon…I just work there.)

As hard as this may be to believe, I’ve actually watched a few films from this century recently—one of which, Happy Endings (2005), I wrote a review of and it’s over at Ed Copeland’s if you’re in the neighborhood and would like to visit.

I got an e-mail from yesterday that heralds a couple of nice Region 2 DVD bargains you might be interested in if your multi-region player is suffering from underuse. First off, they’ve got the splendiferous Harold Lloyd Definitive Collection on sale for £14.99 (about $23.08 US) and while the contents of this box set pretty much mirror those of the US release, the notable exception is that the Region 2 compendium contains Lloyd’s first talkie, Welcome Danger (1929). I bought this set a few years ago (let’s just say I didn’t pay what they’re asking now) and sold my Region 1 version to offset the tariff and haven’t regretted it in the slightest.

The W.C. Fields Collection is available for £22.97 ($35.83 US) and as someone who also owns this set it is a must-own for fans of the Great Man. There are several movies—If I Had a Million (1932), Million Dollar Legs (1932), Tillie and Gus (1933), Mississippi (1935) and Follow the Boys (1944)—in this collection that weren’t included on the two Region 1 releases (although Mississippi is slated to be included on the upcoming Bing Crosby Backlot set due out in November). Godfrey Daniel!—no self-respecting Fields devotee should be without it.

Last but not least, is offering up that bodacious 21-disc Laurel & Hardy – The Collection compendium for £37.95 ($59.19 US). I know I’ve said this before but it bears repeating—the fact that one of the most beloved movie comedy teams of all time get treated better with regards to DVD than they do in Region 1 is a positive crime—I don’t have the complete set (I bought most of the discs individually) but what I do have is cherce, and friends like Laughing Gravy and Thad K. have both praised this collection to the skies. The price on this is pretty sweet, and it will no doubt return to its usual tariff so you’ll want to act soon.

In an effort to avoid getting any actual work done I was goofing around the other day, looking at some of the stats for the blog and I noticed that someone had once again “Googled” my name. Out of curiosity, I clicked to see what was going on and this caught my eye:

If “Pages similar to” means that this ‘umble blog is commiserate with the others listed above, then I am flattered beyond flowery oration—particularly with respect to Mark’s little country blog estate, which I make a point of reading every day. As for She Blogged by Night—well, there are simply not enough adjectives to describe the high regard I have for my pal Stacia…who made me fall out of my chair laughing the other day when she posted this picture, or as I like to call it: “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Schoolmarm.” (I thought for a brief second that her attire was de rigueur for Kansas—what do I know; I’ve only been through the state twice and the sum of my Kansas knowledge comes from Gunsmoke reruns—but as it turns out she was decked out for a high school play…apparently displaying the same flair for the buskin as I did back in those halcyon days at Ravenswood Penitentiary High School.)

Stacia mentions in the accompanying essay that she hails from Manhattan, Kansas—and I mentioned in her comments that when I hear “Manhattan, Kansas” I always think of the Glen Campbell song, which was a Top Ten country hit for his Glenness in 1972. You don’t hear it much these days (let’s be honest—Rhinestone Cowboy and his chart toppers sort of overshadow it) and since I promised her I’d try to post a copy on the blog, here it is for your listening pleasure:

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Adam Zanzie said...

You don't have to apologize, Ivan--both of your contributions were excellent. And you can still write up on Fat City or Adrian Messenger if you want to--the blogathon isn't... officially over yet. Sometime soon I'm going to publish a tally-up post to gather up all of the contributions delivered so far.

Stacia said...

Oh wait, we're supposed to do movies that AREN'T on FRC's list? D'oh! I was going to to "Pigskin Parade" but it's on wait on Netflix anyway. The good news is I finally remembered a film I saw back in the 80s that fits the bill, is not on FRC's list, and isn't on hold on the Netflix. Yay!

That picture of me is so wrong, but it was the only picture I had of myself from close to the date I saw "Temple of Doom". A neighbor lent me that pioneer dress for the play saying, and I quote, "Oh, it'll fit you. It's from a few years ago when I was fat." HAHAHAHAHA

Aaaand did you notice we're "similar" to TCM? WOOOOOOOOOOOO! That's not a sarcastic WOO either, that's a real "Hot cookies, Agnes!" kind of WOO.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Oh wait, we're supposed to do movies that AREN'T on FRC's list? D'oh! I was going to to "Pigskin Parade" but it's on wait on Netflix anyway.

I don't think there's any hard-and-fast rule (there's Brannigan's Law again) about which movies you can or can't do -- I just thought it was kind of bad form to cover the same territory as your host...sort of like going to a barbecue and saying "Hey, you're not grilling that right...allow me!"

But I suppose it's inevitable that two people might do the same flick...there are only so many gridiron movies out there. I guess it's just my nature to want to be different, otherwise I would have snapped up The Longest Yard in a nanosecond.