Three Movies Everyone Loved and You Hated:
1) Star Wars. (1977)
THX: Totally Humdrum eXperience. The Talmadge is no longer listening.
In the words of Queen: "Jaws was never my scene and I don't like Star Wars" I respect it for the classic it is, but the original - and its sequels, prequels and nyquils - is of no interest to me. Of course the others didn't interest, 'cuz I didn't see 'em!
In 1977, my mother dropped off my brother and I at the brand new theater which had just opened on Tupelo's south side - The Tupelo Twin Cinema. Two screens! Wowsie! What'll they think of next??
Star Wars was showing on screen #2. Younger sibling and Talmadge walked in. And, walking out, you couldn't have found a more diametrically opposed reaction. I didn't like it. Star Wars bored me. As for my brother ... a Star Wars freak was born. To this day, he's a devout fan.
(Today, the glorious Tupelo Twin sits empty and decaying, its parking lot a breeding ground for weeds. It made me old, if you wanna know the truth - I remember when that puppy first opened to much fanfare. Gawd, I'm such a fossil.)
2) E.T. (1982)
E.T.: "Phone home, phone home"
PAY PHONE OPERATOR: "Please deposit three million dollars...."
God bless Abrahams/Zucker/Abrahams and their sense of parody. This movie did nothing for me. Nothing at all. A wrinkled alien ends up in suburbia and wants to go home. I felt the same way during my last several years in Troy, Alabama.
The marvelously irreverent show Robot Chicken recently did a great jab at E.T., finally getting back home, only to find his classmates making fun of him. E.T., it turns out, was the class 'retard.'
3) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
a: What's the fifth word in this title?
b: What substance is Talmadge Gleck heavily allergic toward?
c: Draw your own conclusions.
Watching people float down rivers of chocolate can induce a gag reflex in short order. Seraphim can like it for me.
Three Movies That Lived Up to the Hype:
1) The Blues Brothers (1980)
Best movie ever made. My #1-with-a-bullet favorite. A true classic of cinema. John Landis' finest directorial moment. Five favorite pieces of dialogue:
- "It's 106 miles to Chicago. We have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses." "Hit it!"
- (after Elwood nearly runs a red light, and a cop comes out to pull them over. Six lines of dialogue exchanged, all one word each) "Shit!" "What?" "Rollers." "No." "Yup." "Shit."
- The gnomish-looking owner of the transient hotel where Elwood is staying. Elwood tells the owner that his brother Jake will be staying with him for awhile. His response: "DAAAAHhhhhhoooo-kay."
- Several moments later, one of the fellow residents, seated at a poker table, yells out to Elwood: "Did you bring me my 'Cheez-Whiz', BOY???" Elwood pulls it out of his pocket and throws it toward him.
- "Don't you go changin'!"
PS - another reason I love the movie (as if I needed any more) is the scene as Jake & Elwood pull into the motel where some of the former bandmates are playing. It's a Holiday Inn, and for several beautiful, precious, heartwarming seconds, one sees an image of the original-style neon Holiday Inn "Great Sign" all lit up and pulsating at night.
2) Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
I love dark humor. Not depressing movies (e.g. the most recent Harry Potter flick), but those which have a definite darkness about them I just eat up. A VW bus with a bad transmission (the way they dealt with it just made me howl), a silent inward-raging teenager who ends his "voice strike" ... in nearly 27 years of having watched "R"-rated movies, his silence is broken with what I believe is the bar-none best ever utterance of the F-word. Steve Carell's character was a good portrayal of a post-suicidal man. The Patriarch's eternal optimism is put in its place. Grandfather, above all, is the wisest of the bunch, and I was moved by his interaction with the granddaughter. Funniest line: "Go get yourself a fag rag."
And the ending. Gawd, the ending. Awesome movie. Yeah.
3) About Schmidt (2002)
For starters, who would've ever thought Jack Nicholson could pull off such a role?? I stumbled upon this movie one weekend on Encore, right in the middle of the hot tub scene, where Roberta (Schmidt's daughter's soon-to-be MIL) says "We're a creative family. We make our own gifts." The remote stopped right there. The sense of deja vu struck me with a disturbing blow. My former MIL actually said that before the Christmas prior to my wedding to whatzername. Roberta is what I'm afraid my ex-wife is gonna be like in another decade to 20 years. Kathy Bates played her beautifully.
I watched the movie in full when it ran again. Ever since then, I've become a devoted fan of anything Alexander Payne produces. Schmidt was sad, it was dark, it was lonely, it was about regrets, about roads not taken in the past. It's a wonderful movie, provided one is old enough to understand it. I soon bought it at our local "Movie Gallery" when they were having one of their 'previously-viewed' sales. The girl behind the counter looked at me funny when she was scanning it. "I HATE that movie", she said, with a look on her face saying, "Why the hell are you wasting your money on that bomb??" My response: "How old are you? You don't look like you could be a day older than 25." (She was 23, I think) "You're not old enough to appreciate this movie yet. Trust me. Watch it again in another 20 years and you'll get it."
There are funny moments in there, and they carry the same darkness as Little Miss Sunshine, and then some.
Three Books You Hated that Everyone Else Loved:
[My strange tastes in books - when I have the time to read 'em at all - cannot apply here. But, to be a good sport I'll play along.]
1) The Way Things Ought to Be - Rush Limbaugh
Talent on loan from God. Defaulted on payment. God repossessed his cochlear parts and gave him a prescription drug addiction.
2) Any book purporting to deal with autism.
ONLY PEOPLE WITH AUTISM UNDERSTAND WHAT AUTISM REALLY IS. Fair warning: I feel very strongly about this. I'll explain one of these days in a post.
3) Anything ANN COULTER has ever had in print.
Ann Coulter's words are most right-wing Republicans' thoughts. She says out loud what most of that ilk are thinking, that way they can publicly rebuke her, thus making themselves appear both 'tolerant' and 'willing to condemn their own when they stray.' Make no mistake; Republicans are the most sheep-like political party. Just look at the now-thankfully-ousted 'rubber-stamp' GOP Congress and their blank checks thrown at Dubya for this fraudulent war.
Her recent comment about John Edwards deserves no response.
If Republicans really thought Coulter was such an embarrassment, they would've long since muzzled that rhymes-with-swat. Yet somehow, she's still around. Hmmmmm....
Three Books that Lived Up to the Hype:
[My "good sport" spirit cannot match this one. I don't keep up with reviews and other hype, so I am in no power to provide good responses. I'll pass, Richard.]
Three TV Shows You Hated That Everyone Else Loved:
[where do I start?]
1) Wheel! Of! Fortune!
Judging by the ratings, everyone else loves it. However, I cannot find anyone who admits watching it. How this program has been the #1 syndicated game show for the last 24 years boggles the mind. Are we that full of dumbf(BLEEP)k mouth-breathing trailer-trash??!! No, wait. Don't answer that. George W. Bush won the '04 election.
It's a stupid game of "hangman." That's all. And the contestants, aforementioned dumbf(BLEEP)k mouth-breathing trailer-trash, all do the same thing. Spin, guess letter, *ding*, spin again, guess letter, *ding* - and right there, as if directed by a Karl Rove remote controlled box mounted to their back, they .... say it with me ... BUY A VOWEL. When the show began in the '70s on NBC daytime, ironically replacing the original daytime run of Jeopardy!, folks didn't buy too many vowels. What was the point -- it was a waste of $250.00, money that could be better used to save up toward buying that g(BLEEP)damned ceramic dalmatian.
And, lest any self-martyr'ing Republicans say they're edged out of TV by the eeeeeeevil "liberal, left-wing conspiracy", know this: Host Pat Sajak is firmly in the right-wing column. Yet, day in and day out he's hosting the stupidest game show in America.
Just 10 minutes in front of WOF can give me irritable vowel syndrome.
Okay, okay, I know. That joke sucked. Shut up already and just keep reading.....
The one which started it all. The one which made networks realize, "Hey! We don't have to pay real salaries to actors, actresses and producers -- we can do 'reality' shows and shill out token pittance checks to these morons. But we'll still control 'em, lest anybody get bright ideas and notice that the root word of 'reality' is REAL."
What really irritated me at the onset were a couple of game show-related websites which chronicled this program. Earth to inbreds: Survivor is NOT A GAME SHOW! It might be a "game", in the academic sense of the word, however it is not what one would call a "game show." Using this argument, why isn't Monday Night Football on GSN instead of ESPN??
Five words: What was the f(BLEEP)king point??!!??!!
Three TV Shows That Lived Up to the Hype:
1) Twilight Zone
One of my answers to the age-old "dinner party guest" question would be Rod Serling. I like how he thought. I like how he wrote. And I completely understand his wistful side, manifesting itself through episodes he created, such as "Walking Distance", "A Stop in Willoughby", and one of his last masterpieces, the episode "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar" from the early '70s series Night Gallery. I sense a kindredness of soul in Mr. Serling.
While there were a number of weak TZ scripts scattered throughout, the strength of the franchise and the better-written episodes carried the day. I cannot get enough of Twilight Zone, and will always stop to watch it if I ever catch it during channel-surfing.
2) Police Squad!
Six of the most delightful half-hours of television ever aired. Coming off the success of Airplane!, in 1982 the Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker comedy team parlayed that into an ABC series (and the inspiration for the Naked Gun film cycle). From the brilliant parody of the old "Quinn Martin Production" crime dramas (speaking of QM, #4 - were it to exist - would've been The Fugitive) ... to the mismatched video/voiceover episode titles .... to Lt. Frank Drebin running into garbage cans with his car (Episode #1, he hit one can. Episode #2 was two cans, and so on) ... to the classic ZAZ sight gags throughout ... right down to the tweak of cliche'd freeze-frame credit rolls.
Six was enough. Enough to leave us wanting more, but not to have us burned out on the show.
3) Family Guy
My only gripe about the show is, ISN'T IT ABOUT BLOODY TIME FOR A NEW OPENING SEQUENCE?? I was introduced to this show in 2003 by, of all people, my son Tiger. He was staying with us for a few days after Christmas, and I happened to be in the living room as he was watching "Adult Swim" ... I looked out of the corner of my eye and saw a gag based on The Dukes of Hazzard. O...kay! My son wanted me to watch it with him. So I did. And I began howling at the '70s/'80s pop culture gags which came at me left and right (one from that episode was a poke at Hee Haw). There's enough for my son to find hilarious in the program, but a time or two he looked at me funny, wondering what it was I found so gut-busting.
Funniest episode I've seen thus far? "Petarded" from last year.
But is Peter Griffin the original stupid father? Of course not. Are you familiar with the '50s TV sitcom (and OTR show before that) Life of Riley? If you have, then you know what I mean. I put in a single episode of LoR which I have on DVD, and had my son watch it, saying "I dare you to tell me, after watching this, that this isn't the original Peter Griffin!"
I know Kate/Susan doesn't like this, but as I've said countless times: I'll gladly like it for you. Family Guy has become, simply enough, father/son bonding time. I burn to DVD every new episode as it airs, and when we're together we "catch up."
Now, who to tag? Who to tag? My wifely one, of course ... Nettiemac ... and Bolivar.
Ciao for niao.
--Talmadge "YouYou" Gleck