Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
After Paul got cut in the audition process for SNL's 1980-81 cast (they chose Gilbert Gottfried instead), Paul scraped together some money from his parents and created his own showcase - a 1981 stage show homage to kiddie shows of the 50s called "The Pee Wee Herman Show". The stage show was a smash and Pee Wee started making talk show rounds with frequent appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman" (the non-curmudgeonly young Dave actually enjoyed Pee Wee - go check YOUTUBE).
Hollywood came calling with Paul directed by a newcomer named Tim Burton in Pee Wee's Big Adventure. The film had a modest budget and made a nice profit. CBS-TV then gave him a Saturday morning show (and an amazing Christmas Special) that harkened back to the original stage show "Puppetland" premise. Pee Wee's Playhouse was a smash with kids 8 to 80. Pee Wee starred in a second film (the bland Big Top Pee Wee) and appeared in a great cameo with Frankie & Annette in 1987's film Back to the Beach. He sang "Surfin' Bird".
In 1991, during a visit with his elderly parents in Florida, Paul was letting off some steam at a porno theater (ok, like who hasn't gone running from a visit with parents to a bar, brothel or bathhouse?). It wasn't his lucky day -- because he was part of a routine bust of patrons. A private yank in a darkened movie house got his TV show and toys yanked by corporate execs. Pee Wee was promptly given a "time-out".
Paul Reubens has continued to work in films and TV (BLOW, Murphy Brown, 30 Rock) and last summer decided he would bring back Pee Wee Herman into the post- celeb sex tape/intern oral sex in White House/infomercial/internet world. Within days, Ticketmaster was overloaded from the public eager to welcome him back without question.
30 years have passed since The Pee Wee Herman Show played at LA's Roxy (later taped for HBO special) and the stage show has been updated with TV show elements incorporated for a month long run of sold out shows at LA's Club Nokia. Paul Reubens who has been doing Q&A sessions with 'super fans' after the show tells them that, this time around, he and his cast of Pee Wee Show vets: Lynn 'Miss Yvonne' Stewart and John 'Jambi' Paragon are really feeling the LOVE from audiences.
It's a comeback that isn't without its ulterior motives...Paul Reubens hopes to get funding for two Pee Wee feature films that he's written (one a CGI fantasy spectacle about Puppetland and the kidnapping of The King of Cartoons; and the other as a Valley of The Dolls-type dark comedy about the lessons of fame). Paul (at age 57) has seen all sides of celebrity & fame and is even open to a younger actor of the Johnny Depp-ilk taking over the iconic Pee Wee role. The character, who refused to conform and grow up, just might be enjoying his childhood a little while longer.
Here is the MISTER BUNGLE educational film that Pee Wee showed in both the 1981/2010 stage shows - and is still getting laughs.
It’s cult director Al Adamson’s surreal mish mash of bikers and brawny chicks on the run. Try to imagine Easy Rider and Helter Skelter meet a half dozen Russ Meyer films edited together by a madman with the essential points of the storyline excised for time constraints and you’ll start to get the idea.
The movie opens with a frantic black woman running through the hills trying to evade a couple of racist rapists. The men make a point of telling her exactly how they feel about the civil rights movement before wrestling her knife away and pinning her down. Cut to our hero Speed, played by Ross Hagen, cruising through the desert on his hog with his girl Donna in tow. They are on the way to the set of some sort of Nazi war film production where one unfortunate crew member tries to make a move on Donna. Speed don’t like it and fists fly. Cut back to the aftermath of the rape scene where the “wild women” arrive and exact vengeance on our non-progressive-thinking perpetrators.
After a few more fights, some bike chases and the entrance of the pill-pushing Preacher the film disintegrates into a montage of super wide-angle motorcycle stunts, creepy heartfelt introspective monologues, involuntary I.V. drug use and a sort of Manson family type subplot that is nearly impossible to follow. The overuse of the super wide lens gives it a hypnotic acid trip feel that is compounded by dialogue looping that is as bad as any low rent kung fu movie. Throw in a funkadelic soundtrack and it's an exploitation kaleidoscope that will make you dizzy.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
In celebration of the upcoming NEW "cop Dad searches for clues about his daughter" film EDGE OF DARKNESS starring Der Fuehrer Gibson - hot on the heels of Liam Neeson's surprise box-office hit TAKEN (Eurotrash pimps kidnap American gals)-- I wanted to remember that these themes were covered 30 years ago in George C. Scott's HARDCORE.
Here is the scene where disguised Dad meets porn star "Big Dick Blacque" in Hollywood.
Ps -- No matter how much ass Dad kicks in the end... there is some subtle cuckold fetish angle that must appeal to the studio suits who green-light these films again and again.
THIS movie is a must-see...(who is that NILF in the pink polo?)
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
The Plot: A vengeful 1940s gangster/pimp possesses a docile black law student in mid-70s New Orleans
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I think this story shares that special and indescribable quality that films like Plan 9 From Outer Space and Manos: The Hands of Fate have. It's just too damn absurd to be believed. No one ever sets out to make a movie like Troll 2. It just happens. And it's not just bad. It's also very earnest and human.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Eyebrows manicured, Vaseline on the lens, axe ready---roll camera, Mr. Castle.
William Castle directs this nutty B-horror classic starring the delightfully off kilter Joan Crawford. Straightjacket opens with a flashback of Lucy Harbin (Crawford) arriving home, finding her husband drunk with another woman in their bed. Their daughter, Carol, is asleep in the next room. Lucy spies her cheating husband through the bedroom window and in a rage she grabs an axe, charges the house and chops the pair up in glorious Bill Castle fashion.
Twenty years later a grownup Carol (played by the incredibly cute bob-haired Diane Baker) recalls that ominous night as she tells the tale to her friends and her fiancé, Michael. Carol is anxiously awaiting the release of her mother after her twenty year stint in the nut house.
When Lucy arrives at the bus station we immediately see that she’s slow to aclimate to life outside the institution. Carol does her best to help her mother relax by buying her new clothes, jewelry and a perfectly creepy wig. This seems to help her state of mind, save for her bizarre conversations with the farmhand slaughtering chickens (played by a young George Kennedy) and a drunken flirt fit with Carol’s soon-to-be husband, Michael. But it isn’t long before the axe starts swinging again.
Michael’s parents don’t approve of his marriage to the daughter of a convicted and questionably rehabilitated axe-murderer which leads to a showdown between his mother and Lucy. When confronted with the rumor that she was away in a sanitarium Lucy finally lets it rip in blood-curdling Crawford screech, “No, it was an asylum! And it was hell! Twenty years of pure hell!”
At this point Castle kicks the crazy into high gear with bizarre plot twists, subliminal suggestion, rubber masks and a Crawford vs. Crawford showdown that will blow your mind.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Since Mr. Sophistication brought it up...
Santa Sangre (1989) Dir. Alejandro Jodorowsky
If you are looking for a film that explores the inner mind of a circus boy whose mother is the head of a bizzarre religious cult whose arms are cut off by his cheating father after she throws acid on his penis and escapes from an asylum years later only to find himself walking behind his mother who can control his arms as replacements for her own for the purpose of knitting and serial killing... then this is the film you’ve been waiting for! Throw in a village of starving people tearing apart and eating a dead elephant and you have «Santa Sangre».
This film has become harder to see than the director’s earlier effort «Topo», despite, believe it or not, being slightly more accessible to a general audience. Beautifullly filmed and well acted, this is truly a masterpiece of cult and off the wall cinema. The seemingly too bizzarrre to be believed plot points are actually quite well handled and, in the end moments, all is explained in a rational way. I think the alienation and life long trauma experienced by the young boy into adulthood is quite real and heartfelt. His life when his mom isn’t walking in front of him using her hands are her own, is spent dressed as the invisible man, underlying is seperation from the real world and we are given glimpses of his desperate desire to rejoin humanity... somehow.
Disturbing and weird, it’s impossible not to watch this film until the end.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Heck, 1940s actress Ann Savage was eventually named "icon and legend" by the Film Academy after her DETOUR B-film (shot in 6 days) was named best low-budget noir film EVER by later generations. It just took a few decades and public domain status for the movie to gain a cult following. One good performance can give you screen immortality.
Heather lit up the screen as SWINGERS' blonde beauty who appeared at a club and made a lonely guy's routine Saturday night something special.
To a certain age group of men (and women), Heather will always be our lovable tragic airhead Rollergirl from Boogie Nights. Her complex performance showing the highs and lows and highs of a valley girl desperately seeking a family is in parts joyous, frightening, and heartbreaking. How can you watch her sitting in the back of a class struggling with a GED test and facing her intellectual obstacles and not feel for the girl? Not to mention that limo scene where a lifetime of rage is expelled.
When Heather returned from her decade long career muck (Judy Robinson in the Lost in Space remake bomb? 70s retro girl in Mike Meyers vehicles? Softcore vixen alongside Joe Fiennes?) and turned up in THE HANGOVER as the fun Vegas stripper chick who rescues a nerd from a life of hell - it was like reuniting with a cool hometown ex-girlfriend who is still single & hot.
With the colossal box-office success of the funny as hell THE HANGOVER, Heather got to have her "suck it, Hollywood! I'm still here!" moment. That is pretty rare, and pretty golden.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Cult release specialist company "Something Weird Films" offers a triple disc set of the Olga series. Apparently they are tame by today's raincoat-wearing viewer standards but I'm sure they divvied out the kicks in their day. Thanks again, George Weiss!
As my good friend and noted film scholar, Bill Ackerman, told me:
"Much like Erich Von Stroheim's 'Greed', Orson Welles' 'The Magnificent Andersons', Roman Polanski's 'Cul-De-Sac' and Alejandro Jodorowsky's 'Santa Sangre', 'Night Of The Dribbler' is a noteworthy cinematic achievement that has so far eluded Netflix availability."
I'm in the wrong business.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
I know this stretch of Mulholland well and drive it fairly often. There's a sign right there that makes me laugh because it says "Caution: Scenic Overlook." I feel like doing this all the time out here.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Now look in your hands....you're holding a fresh Werner Herzog!
I think Bad Lieutenant could be like Sweeney Todd, a legend that mutates in the hands of popular culture. Keep on making them different actors, different directors.
Any flaws the Herzog might've had were invisble to me. Invisible to me. It is wunderbar owing to its committment to retelling the story samepicture/differentframe.
I friggin' love the Ferrera version, too - don't get me wrong.
Why superbeing? Besides Aguirre?
Paraphrased from Wikipedia: "On January 26, 2006, insufferable tosser Joaquin Phoenix was in a car accident in Hollywood on a winding canyon road that flipped over his car. The crash reportedly was caused by brake failure. Shaken and confused, Phoenix heard a tapping on his window and a voice say, "Just relax." Unable to see the man, Phoenix replied, "I'm fine. I am relaxed." The man replied, "No, you're not." At this point, Phoenix managed to see that the man was famed, eccentric German auteur Werner Herzog. After helping Phoenix out of the wreckage, Herzog phoned in an ambulance and vanished."
My Mom useta subscribe to a weekly paper called the Liguorian, because she was a good catholic, and wanted to strengthen her hypno-indictrination. We eventually found it very useful when it came to going to the movies: if they condemned it- it was a viable candidate. They would list every movie playing and rate it "catholic-style!" which ran from endorsed to condemned - it was awesome because sometimes the titles shouldn't've even been in there....haw!
Despite its efforts I still got to see Wild in the Streets and I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
George Weiss (Glen or Glenda) presents Racket Girls, AKA Blonde Pickup, AKA Pin Down Girls AKA Wrestling Racket Girls! Leave it to Mr. Weiss to push this sleazy story into Alabama Drive-ins in the early '50s and reap enough coin to produce his next project.
There really isn't much to it. Tim Farrell plays Umberto Scalli, an oily looking manager for professional female wrestlers. He has his own training gym for the ladies, operating his side businesses out of the back with the help of his flunky, Joe the Jockey. Joe is a five-foot, mustachioed Mediterranean stereotype that is mostly there for comic relief, his height lending itself to his penchant for ogling the wrassle' gals chests.
Newcomer and real-life pro wrestler, Peaches Page, is troubled by the rumors of Scalli's other business ventures which include prostitution, bookmaking and drug-running. With the help of the other pro gals, Clara Mortensen and Rita Martinez, she is determined to get to the bottom of it. It turns out that Scalli is into gangster kingpin, Mr. Big, for a debt of $35,000 and his henchmen intend to collect in any way they please. The story is shuffled in between locker room conversations, massage table chats and all out female wrestling violence ad nauseam. Thank you, George Weiss!
Go there for the rest of the show with guests Christine Jorgenson and Anton LaVey! I need me some love gifts to ease this religious hammerlock I've gotten myself into.
He got ripped off by protestants, doing Davey and Goliath.
He had a daughter with keyhole irises who committed suicide.
He became an acid taking hippie who left his wife and started palling around with Essalen type luminaries
Amazing work that never becomes tiresome.
Trailer for Gumby Dharma, recently shown on the Sundance Channel:
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The latest film by Denis Arcand is a mixed bag, but overall a very interesting piece of cinema. Certianly not as powerful as «L’Invasion barbares» it, nevertheless has some very poignant and funny moments in it.
Marc Labrèche is perfect as a completely stiffled by his marriage , job and life dreamer, living through his fantasyworld to escape it all. ( For an actor known for extreme farce, he’s very appropriately subdued here.) For the most part his fantasies are pretty banal and involve having semi public sex with beautiful women, In all these sex fantasies, the situation, dialogue are pretty much the same without any notable variation, hinting that he might not have have much imagination to draw on. Other imaginations are also quite banl... winning a litrary prize, being a Roman emperor with his boss as slave and such . The opening and closing dream-like sequences, however, are inspired and involve Rufus Wrainwright singing french opera (I will add, very effectively).
The world in this film is bizzare and so Québec-centric I wonder if anyone who doesn’t live here will get many of the jokes. Labrèche’s position as a government worker taking complaints in the Montréal Olympic Staduim, re-purposed as a government building is full of commentary on Québec politics, red tape and such.
The film has touching moments such as the visits to the hospital to be with his alzhiemer’s infected mother and even some scenes with his disconnected family. The successful wife who is literally 24/7 connected to the office and the children who barely notice their father exists despite his half hearted efforts to engage them. When he leaves his wife finally and she chases him down the street telling him what a failure he is and he stops to say (roughly translates) «I never thought there would be a day I would say I could kill you, but now that is not unimaginable» really struck me.
I also like that Arcand does not make the story all one sided. There may be reasons why his life is this way and there are hints that what we are seeing through his perspective maybe be more than a little skewed in his favour. Examples of this are when he has quit his job job and on his way out the door, his uptight boss we have been primed to think of just an evil corporate oppressor is not overjoyed to get rid of him but almost in tears as she must tell him his mother has just died... she really feels for him. At the end of the film when his wife brings his stuff to him at the place he is staying, his family is not so cold and distant. The oldest daughter is quite kind and his wife is not on the phone but sweetly smiling at him and the love she felt/still feels for him comes through.
There is also a strange seemingly off the path segment at the time involving a group that acts out their «Middle Ages» fantasies, dressing as knights and princesses to escape the modern world. (This is actually a big thing here in Montréal - don’t ask me why - I really don’t get it). He has a chance to join them and live out these fantasies with an attractive young women. You’d think this is exactly the life he’s been looking for but he rejects it all and his own fantasy world in order to live and accept life as it really is.
Is this movie for anyone? Certainly not. many critiques hated it in fact. It's not my favourite film, but certainly is worth a look at.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
2:00 AM Big Cube, The (1969)
LSD almost ruins the life of a former actress and her stepdaughter. Cast: Lana Turner, George Chakiris, Richard Egan. Dir: Tito Davison. C-98 mins, , Letterbox Format
I saw this years ago at the Film Forum in NY with a lively crowd that included Michael Musto. During the Lana freakout scene people (we) yelled things like, "It's Cheryl! Johnny Stompanato!" etc.
Set your DVRs, it plays on TCM Friday Jan 8th at 2am, following a night of your favorite anti-drug fella, Elvis.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Based on the preachings of Reverend Estus W. Pirkle, this film warns what will happen to America if the citizens do not give up their depraved ways and turn to God and Jesus for salvation. Communist infiltrators, the "footmen", will pave the way for an all out invasion by weakening our will through TV, dance, rock music and alcohol. Once the invasion begins, the new Communist government will proceed to round up all Christians, and either execute them or force them to undergo re-education. Only by putting their faith in the bible where it belongs, says Rev. Pirkle, can America resist the coming Red Menace.
Be sure to watch the other clips so generously provided to you by badmoodguy on youtube. Oh, I can't wait, here's one! I love the guard's southern-"cuban" accent.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
It's a newbie, but since we're all a bit nerdy in here I thought I'd share.
Nerdcore is a relatively new music phenomenon that attempts to usurp the style of hip-hop and infuse it with the substance of nerdiness. Songs about mathematics, video games, internet porn addiction, role-playing games, etc. are the standard.
Nerdcore Rising documents the first American tour of Damian Hess (AKA MC Frontalot) and his band. Damian is widely acknowledged as the father of the Nerdcore movement and considering the fact that he is credited with legitimizing a brand of music that started as a joke he takes the practice pretty seriously. His band is something of a combination of Devo, De La Sol, The Minutemen and Kraftwerk. The road footage of the tour is not your typical get-drunk-and-party-like-a-rock-star fare. These guys give it their all on stage and then head back to the Motel 6 to complain about road fatigue and lower-back pain. After all, they are a bunch of nonathletic nerds, not rap stars.
Things come to a head when some members of the crowd cry racism in the face of Frontalot's efforts to bridge the culture gap. Interestingly enough he has seasoned supporters that rise to his defense including: Al Yankovic, Jello Biafra and even famed Hip-Hop producer Prince Paul (Who claims that Frontalot's efforts are more creative and honest than most modern mainstream rappers). Either way, Frontalot is a web sensation and his fans seem to adore the fact that he speaks their language.
If you're a nerd (and if you just stopped to consider the idea then you know you are) it might give you a kick.