Movie Report: Bedazzled (2000)

Book coverI saw this film in the theater, without Mike as I just mentioned, although in this case “just” is three years ago as befits my work-from-home-addled memory.

In it, Brendan Fraser plays an obnoxious dweeb customer tech support worker at a tech company in San Francisco who tries too hard to relate to his co-workers and earns their disdain and mockery for his efforts. On an uninvited outing to a bar where his co-workers have gathered without him, he runs into a co-worker upon whom he has a crush but who dismisses his clumsy attempts at conversation. When he says he’d do anything to be with her, the Devil, played by Elizabeth Hurley, hears him and offers him seven wishes in exchange for his soul. He reluctantly accepts, and the bulk of the movie depicts the situations where he wishes to be rich, to be erudite, to be strong and athletic, and so on, and how the Devil thwarts him. He wants to be rich and married to Alison (his crush), and he ends up as a drug lord whose wife despises him (the scenes in the trailer of this piece prompted my call to Mike in el español), or a giant dumb athlete with a small, erm, you know, Johnson, and so on. Amusing and even funny at times (can I say that as a snoorky blogger, wherein I blend snooty and snarky into the portmanteau).

The film also has Gabriel Casseus as “Elliot’s Cellmate” but a stand-in for an angel or God. I’d remembered this role as played by Don Cheedle, but no. And at the time of my original viewing, I thought It’s that guy from… but looking at his IMDB entry, I can’t think of what it would have been. I saw him in Blackhawk Down and Black Dog) not an actual movie review, but a posting of when I bought the film which I watched shortly thereafter).

Theologically, the film gets a little muddy on the Devil/God thing, showing them at the end playing chess when Brendan Fraser’s character walks by with his ultimate earthly reward (a relationship with a pretty girl), and the Devil tries to cheat after pointing out the lovebirds and drawing the cellmate’s attention away. It does not mention Jesus, et cetera, but if you need to, you can kind of, sort of, recast it a bit as the book of Job, but not really. Although I’m not sure how one should recast the book of Job anyway.

But enough about theology. What of Elizabeth Hurley?
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Movie Report: Get Shorty (1995)

Book coverAh, gentle reader, this film provided a bit of mental relief for me in the real world. When I proposed watching this film, my beautiful wife said to me, “We saw that in the theater.” To which I responded that I had never seen the movie. Given that the film came out two years before we met, we did not see it in the theater. I was pleased to see that she, too, pencils me into some of her memories from that brief interlude between childhood and marriage. I myself have on several occasions said something like, “Remember when we…” only to discover she was not a part of the we I was thinking of. I thought perhaps I alone was muddy on that brief interlude between summer 1994 and early 1997, the interregnum between college and being a couple, which were very busy and whose memories I sometimes retcon my wife into.

At any rate, this film is based on an Elmore Leonard book. A small time loan shark, Chili (played by John Travolta) has a run-in with a henchman of a major Miami player (the henchman played by Dennis Farina) and humiliates the henchman but cannot be retailiated against because of his powerful boss. Chili goes looking for someone who has run out on a debt and whose $10,000 skimming has blossomed with an insurance settlement for a plane crash that the drycleaner/welsher (played by David Paymer, hello, hello–did I see Crazy People with my wife or before?). Chili goes to Vegas, braces the drycleaner, and is asked by the Las Vegas mob to collect on a debt from a horror movie producer, Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman). When Chili breaks into the house where Zimm is staying, he tells Zimm about the adventure he’s on, pitching it as a movie, and Zimm is interested–if Chili can help get the rights to a screenplay held by the writer’s widow (Bette Midler).

Oh, yes, it gets complicated. But it has a movie-within-a-movie that a medieval drama enthusiast would enjoy. It’s chock full of stars, and it has clever twists that you would expect from an Elmore Leonard book-turned-movie (see also Out of Sight and Jackie Brown, neither of which I’ve actually reported on… yet). I said to my wife after having seen the film that it’s a shame that they don’t make movies from Elmore Leonard books any more, but they’re still making them. Get Shorty had its sequel Be Cool and a television series; 3:10 to Yuma had a remake; Justified was based on a series of books by Leonard, and it’s getting a revival.

Probably a better question, with a worse answer, is why we don’t make writers like Elmore Leonard any more. Or why Hollywood would not adapt their works if we did.

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Movie Report: Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)

Book coverI saw this film in the theatre with my beautiful wife probably on a date night–I mean, 2009 was a busy year for us, what with my sainted mother passing away, my brother returning to the St. Louis area, and our decamping Old Trees for Nogglestead. Still, a year is full of individual days that fit around the big events or the not-events of less consequential years. So we undoubtedly deployed our then-teenaged and by now nearly thirty babysitter and went to see this movie.

You know, I said about Jet Li’s Fearless:

But it’s an interesting film once you peel away the layer of Chinese propaganda film that hovers over all.

* * * *

So, well, yeah, a good story wrapped in Chinese anti-Western propoganda.

You could make a similar statement about a bunch of George Clooney films: A good story if you ignore the anti-American, anti-military, and especially anti-Iraq War message wrapped around it (see also Three Kings et al.).

A journalist, portrayed by Ewan MacGregor, loses his wife to an editor and makes his way to the Middle East to report on the war there and re-establish his manhood. He hooks up with a former (?) military man who participated in a paranormal research program who has a mission in the Iraq War, although he is not sure what it is. Through a series of flashbacks, the military operator, played by George Clooney, tells of the origins of the unit when Jeff Bridges, playing the Dude character, becomes a flower child and soaks up New Age stuff like a sponge and runs the military research unit like a commune, but it comes crashing down when a more military-minded and potentially inferior “gifted” officer, played by Kevin Spacey, fouls it up.

So it’s got some wryly amusing moments in it. It doesn’t really acknowledge the paranormal, leaving it a little ambiguous but certainly nobody here is a superhero at best.

But, yeah, a mocking tone that questions the military and its involvement in the Iraq War. While the Iraq War was still sort of going on. But more intelligent than anything that would come later with The Message.

And I have it on DVD in case I want to watch it again in another fifteen years.

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Accumulations, Saturday, July 3, 2023

Not exactly a Good Book Hunting or Good Album Hunting post per se, although that’s ultimately what it comes down to.

I have started hitting garage sales and estate sales again here and there, gentle reader. I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for–well, a table/entertainment center to replace a printer stand and maybe a horizontal piece of art to put above our headboard now that kitten adventuring has led us to remove the canopy bed rails that we rarely put fabric on and that wall space is now obviously bare. Some craft supplies? It would follow since I’ve started doing a little project work here and there that I would once again begin acquiring things to use in projects right before I stop doing projects again, leaving the supplies to lie fallow in my garage for decades (although I am getting to an age where it’s awful presumptuous to think in terms of future decades).

At any rate, I visited a garage sale at the Methodist church on the corner of Elm and FF in Battlefield and a handful of other sales just inside Battlefield. The town was rife with them, and I had thought I would roll down Elm/Farm Road 182/Plainview Road to Golden/Farm Road 135 and back, but I didn’t make it that far.

As I might have mentioned, around the turn of the century, I was very heavy into Ebay, and I would spend all Saturday morning and part of the afternoon hitting estate sales and garage sales in the St. Louis area to buy things to list. Most days, I went with my friend Pixie (actually, Jimmy’s mom from my youth, not a manic Pixie girl–and I am not entirely sure why she was called Pixie at the time, although sometime everyone else started calling her by her first name again) and occasionally with my Aunt Dee. So it was a social outing, and actually slightly profitable.

Now, though, if I go alone, I make it just so far before I get a little lonely doing it, and as I don’t really have a compelling reason to attend a lot of garage sales, I call it a day after a couple of sales.

At any rate, I picked up some Marvel–well, mostly X-Men movies at the church garage sale and a book for $20 ($12.50 rounded up to the nearest sawbuck since it was a fundraiser).

I got:

  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Ant-Man
  • X-Men: The Last Stand
  • X-Men: Days of Future Passed
  • X-Men: Apocalypse
  • X-Men: First Class
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • My Life at the Zoo by Betty White

I’m seeing a lot of $1 and $2 DVDs at the garage sales I visit, and it’s people unloading their stock as they become used to streaming. So it’s the time to get them in the wild cheaply. In a couple of years, they’ll dry up, and you’ll be paying retail prices for used films.

The sales I attended were rather bifurcated. Some had really low prices as people wanted to unload things, and others had fairly expensive items that people hoped they’d get their worth. But I tend to run on the cheapskate side of the street. One had very nice pieces of décor for a buck or three, and I was suspicious of their origins for that little. I did pass on a little side table that would have served as a living room television stand because it would have needed refinishing, and although it is generally my wont to accumulate more than I’ll actually do–let’s maybe not buy more furniture to refinish until I actually refinish the last such piece.

* * * *

In the afternoon, I dragged my youngest to Relics so I could do the other half of the store from what I did on Monday. The young man does not enjoy garage sales, estate sales, antique malls, or generally anything in the real world these days, but it was less lonely dealing with his stream of complaints than browsing alone.

I did end up with a couple of records and a DVD which is the opposite of Monday’s haul.

I got:

  • Makin’ Magic by Pat Travers because I will confuse him with Pat Metheny every time.
  • Al Jarreau in London, a fine live album. I don’t generally do live albums, but it’s Al Jarreau. He, too, is from Milwaukee, you know.
  • Warm and Sensuous by Les and Larry Elgart. Pretty Woman on Cover (PWoC), but I happen to like the Elgarts as well. The record has a fine rendition of “Harlem Nocturne”.
  • Natalie by Natalie Cole. Pretty sure I already have it, but this copy was $2, so I spent it to make sure.
  • Superbad on DVD. After watching Knocked Up, I thought I’d revisit the Apatowverse.

This set was ten bucks–I don’t really browse the record bins as most of them have records for $10 or more these days–but if I find one with records for $2 or $3, I will give them a look. Also, some booths still have DVDs for a buck. But probably not for long.

Between the two trips to Relics, though, I spent less than the face value of one $25 gift certificate. Given I’ve seen the whole store now, I will probably put the gift certificates away and revisit the store just before Thanksgiving to do some Christmas shopping.

At any rate, thanks for sticking with my consumerist/materialist/junk on the bunk posts. Even though I am watching several films a week, I am still outpacing my capacity with these excursions. But someday, these things won’t be available. Mostly because I will have bought them all.

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Movie Report: Jet Li’s Fearless (2006)

Book coverWell, gentle reader, you know what you’re getting with a modern Chinese film. You’ve got some star power in Jet Li (whose other films I’ve enjoyed, including Kiss of the Dragon, Hero, The Black Mask, Lethal Weapon 4, and most recently The Expendables). Okay, an older Jet Li, kind of like you get an older Jackie Chan in similar films, but still interesting and exciting to watch. But it’s an interesting film once you peel away the layer of Chinese propaganda film that hovers over all.

Jet Li plays the adult son of a martial arts teacher whose father lost a public bout with honor and tried to instill that honor into his son, but did not. Eventually, Jet Li becomes the leader of a washu school of martial arts that his father began, and he becomes successful in drawing students. He starts to live a bit of the high life with it, but when a rival school’s leader beats one of his students, for no reason (he is told by the student), he fights that leader in his (Jet Li’s character’s) friend’s restaurant, leading to its (the restaurant’s) destruction and the loss of the friend. Worse, he kills the other school’s leader, and then he learns his student embelished the story and the whole thing was unnecessary. He ends up wandering, falls in with a family and a blind girl (played by Li Sun) and learns to love and live again. So he returns home to fight again, this time for China against the forces of the West plotting against China.

So, well, yeah, a good story wrapped in Chinese anti-Western propoganda. Although, strangely, the Japanese champion comes off humanized, or at least lives up to the Chinese ideal.

So all right. Perhaps in a couple of decades the Chinese propoganda element will be lessened or merely a historical note. And then we can look upon it as a story of redemption, and not preparing to paste it to my children who are coming into draft age.

But enough about us. About Li Sun.
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Movie Report: Bad Boys (1995)

Book coverI mentioned when talking about Judge Dredd that it felt like a throwback to the movies of the 1980s. The first Bad Boys came out the same year, and it seems like a far newer film. Will Smith when he was cool and Martin Lawrence chew up the scenery as two detectives hunting for heroin stolen from the police evidence room. A witness to a shootout (Téa Leoni) has been told to only trust Will Smith’s Lowery, a ladies man, but when she calls looking for help, she gets family man Burnett (Lawrence) who pretends to be Lowery. Which leads to some comedy as the detectives have to pretend to be each other to keep the ruse going. A couple of chases, gunfights, and explosions later, and finis.

C’mon, man, you’re not here for insight into the human condition. You’re here to see Smith and Lawrence chew the scenery and banter. Apparently, it works, since there have been two widely spaced sequels (2003 and 2020(!)). So an amusing couple of hours and a way for me to bring my pop culture knowledge all the way up to 1995.

And this might be the first film where Téa Leoni’s character did not annoy me. The list of those films includes Deep Impact, The Family Man, and Spanglish. I guess I did not specifically mention being annoyed with her in Fun with Dick and Jane, so maybe not.

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Movie Report: Judge Dredd (1995)

Book coverI bought this videocassette at the Friends of the Library Book sale this spring, and it was only after I’d spent my quarter on it and I popped it into the videocassette player that I wondered if it was part of the four-movie Stallone set that I bought that has Demolition Man on it. I was pleased to learn it is not. Before I watched the film, I was not sure if I’d seen it before, but I think I had. To be honest, over the years, Stallone actioners and post-apocalyptic films didn’t stick with me after my younger years.

This film, based on a comic book, has Stallone as the title character, a sort of super-policeman in a crowded Mega-City One who serves not only as the person who arrests people, but can sentence and even execute them on the spot. A super-villain escapes prison and returns to the city, aided by powerful politicians who want to use the chaos to bring about a better world–wait a minute, am I watching Demolition Man? Apparently not, as this film also has Rob Schneider as comic relief in a hacker freshly released from prison. Dredd is framed for the murder of an investigative reporter and sent to a penal colony along with the hacker, and their transport is ambushed by marauders of the wasteland outside the city. They are rescued by Dredd’s old mentor, banished himself when he spared Dredd’s life on his conviction. The mentor reveals that Dredd and his friend, whom Dredd put into prison, are actually brothers, experiments in building the perfect judges. So Dredd and Rob Schneider return to Mega-City One to stop the chaos and to bring his brother to justice.

So you can see a lot of thematic material that was probably better presented in other films mashed up into this one. But it’s not a bad film–it’s just one that does not stand out. And when I watch it again–it’s the kind of thing I’m likely to watch again (and probably remember that I’ve seen it before next time)–I will enjoy it for what it is. A mid-1990s actioner that was already a bit of a throwback to the 1980s when it was released.

The film also featured Diane Lane, who played Judge Hershey, a trainee who becomes Dredd’s ally.
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Movie Report: The Best of Gallagher Volume 2 (1999)

Book coverThis DVD includes two of Gallagher’s comedy specials from 1983, The Maddest and Stuck in the Sixties. I recognized a lot of The Maddest from heavy rotation on Showtime in the years where I spent a lot of time in a mobile home with but a television (well, and a brother, and friends who were prohibited from actually being in the trailer when my sainted mother was at work). However, it’s entirely possible that Showtime played The Messiest, a 1986 compilation of bits from other specials.

Gallagher deals with topical comedy and relies on a lot of props for his humor–a giant sofa to jump on, a motorized school desk, an animatronic baby doll in a high chair representing his new childm and of course the Sledge-o-Matic that he uses to smash produce up to a watermelon at the end of each show. In Stuck on the Sixties, he does hit a couple of political points to contrast the early Reagan era with his idealized version of the sixties, but overall, it aged better (at forty years old now) than, say, Dennis Miller’s The Raw Feed from only twenty years ago. Or maybe I have extra affection for the comedian because I watched his special or specials over and over again when I was younger.

When I was browsing the DVDs at the Friends of the Library book sale this spring, a woman waved her hand at the DVD and said that he’s funny. So I told her about how his brother would do his act sometimes, but it turns out I got the story wrong: His brother looked a lot like him and did his own shows, perhaps hoping people would confuse him with the Gallagher until the Gallagher sued his brother to make him stop, and he did.

Gallagher toured until 2020 when the pandemic shut everything down, and he passed away last year. I kind of wish I would have seen him live, but one wonders if his comedy became more political as everything did in the 21st century. I can believe not, at least until I run into some of his later comedy specials on DVD.

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Movie Report: Excalibur (1981)

Book coverI’d had this film in the cabinet for quite some time, and I watched it instead of the growing selection of recent acquisitions spreading across the cabinets beside the television.

It has been a long time since I delved into Arthurian legend. I read Edna St. Vincent Millay’s The King’s Henchman in 2007. I saw The Sword of Lancelot with Cornel Wilde and his wife Jean Wallace sometime after the turn of the century but before I started relying on Movie Reports to provide content for my great advertising and affiliate marketing empire keep my mind straight as to what I’ve seen and when.

This 1981 film retells the legend of King Arthur from the time of his father Uther Pendragon–who receives Excalibur from the Lady in the Lake and unites England, but throws it all away and relies on Merlin to help him seduce the wife of his rival. The union produces a son, Arthur, whom Merlin raises. Arthur then reuinites England pretty much off stage, and then he meets a knight errant and bests him using the power of Excalibur inappropriately. The knight errant, Lancelot, falls in love with Guinevere but does not act on it until a drunken Gawain, put up to it by Morgana, Arthur’s half-sister, accuses them of adultery. Arthur orders a trial by combat, and Lancelot returns, and he and Guinivere consummate their shared love. Morgana comes to Arthur disguised as Guinivere and conceives a son, Mordred, whom she raises to supplant her half-brother. Arthur goes into a stupor and sends his knights out to find the Holy Grail which he hopes can restore him and England. So they all go out and look, falling into Morgana’s trap, except for Percival, who finds the Grail and restores Arthur just in time for a big battle where Arthur defeats Mordred but is mortally wounded, and Excalibur is returned to the Lady in the Lake for future distribution.

Sorry to ruin the story for you. Sadly, this is the 21st century, you know, and although school children will be exposed to many fine stories of today’s political mania, they won’t learn about the legend of King Arthur, and this would indeed be a spoiler alert for them.

The film is more ponderous than other sword-and-sorcery fare of the era, such as the Conan movies, but it is trying to be a serious film and a piece of art and not just entertainment and/or a blockbuster. The pacing is a tad slow for modern audiences, and of the films I might have caught bits of at my friends’ house, sponging off of their HBO and cable, this is definitely the one without the sword with three blades in it (The Sword and the Sorcerer, 1982, which now that I’m thinking of it, I’ll look for it).

Also, some of the anachronisms in the film kind of took me out of it–not a problem when dealing with the Hyborean Age, but still: the Knights of the Round Table ride around, alone, on horseback in full plate through the whole movie. If they’d cut more of those scenes, perhaps the pacing would have been better. But I think they might have been trying for the high-budget, good looking film, and shiny armor was that.

When I was reading up on the film for this post, I was stunned at the cast. Helen Mirren as Morgana–there’s a scene where Morgana, who had used magic to stay young, as the spell was broken ages into an old woman, and Helen Mirren clearly did not turn into a crone. Gabriel Byrne is Uther Pendragon. Liam Neeson is Gawain. Patrick Stewart is Leondegrance, one of the first to pledge to Arthur. I didn’t recognize any of them because they were so young.

I probably won’t watch this film over and over, and the previous owner did not, either, as the film still had cellaphane over most of it. Which meant the picture was amazingly clear.

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Movie Report: The Punisher (2004)

Book coverIt’s a bit of a shame, gentle reader, that I think of this 19-year-old film as the new The Punisher, but that’s because I am old enough to remember the 1989 Dolph Lundgren movie which was an earlier take on the character. I do not think I’ve seen that film en toto, but I remember that it was made. This rendition of The Punisher, only fifteen years later, might be the first with the Marvel Studios flipping comic pages with the main titles. Blade didn’t have it, did it? It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed the Blade trilogy, and I might want to revisit them since there’s another Blade movie in the works (and I might not bother seeing it).

This film opens with a couple of guys looking to facilitate an arms deal of some sort, but it goes bad and the police drop in, but in the ensuing shootout, one of them is killed. Turns out that he’s the son of a mafioso, Howard Saint, played by John Travolta. Saint (not the Saint, clearly) places a bounty on the man responsible, who turns out to be Frank Castle, played by Thomas Jane. Castle is a deep undercover government operative who vows this is his last job, and he goes to a family reunion in the Caribbean with his family. When Saint orders the hit in the Caribbean, his wife, played by Laura Harring, asks to have the whole family eliminated, and the bad men do just that, killing the whole Castle family but only leaving Frank for dead. When he is restored to health by a local juju man, Castle returns to the country with only one thing on his mind: revenge.

So Castle sets up shop in a rundown apartment building populated by some misfits, including Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (not painted blue). And he goes about destroying Saint’s business and setting him up to do violence to those closest to him before Castle kills him.

It’s a bit on the sadistic side, but I am starting to think casual sadism is a bit of a trope in the first part of this “21st” century. I mean, some people (in movies) just need killing, but some of the killings in this film include a little pain and realization before the final offing. I dunno. I don’t mind my heroes outside the law, and I can tolerate a bit of torture (in fiction) for vital information, but modern films just include cruelty for its sake or for the cinematic sake of it, and that bothers me (says the man who has read, what, a hundred Executioner novels?)

Speaking of which, I had a little problem at the beginning because they altered the origin story…. But then I realized I was comparing Castle’s story to Mack Bolan’s origin story, and then I was mollified a bit. I mean, the Punisher character was quite modeled on the Executioner–the comic with the first appearance of the Punisher also had an interview with Don Pendleton for cryin’ out loud (speaking of the greatest gap in my comic collection).

I had a harder time with thinking that Thomas Jane (I keep wanting to type “Hardy,” which means it must be closing in on time to actually read The Return of the Native) in this film looked an awful lot like a younger Herb Alpert.

A man seeking bloody vengeance
The best musical artist in recording history

Maybe I am still confused.

So I liked the film alright in spite of the unnecessary brutality in spots. But not enough that I won’t like the reboot, although I guess that was a streaming show, which means it has been fired into the ether never to be seen again.

The film did feature Laura Harring as Livia Saint, and it’s not too often that I say, “Wow!” about an actress. But, “Wow!”
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Movie Report: The Other Guys (2010)

Book coverThis is a buddy cop film comedy with Will Ferrell as a forensic accountant and Markie Mark as a hothead. They never get the good cases because two hotshot cops, played briefly by Dewayne Johnson and Samuel L. Jackson, get all the good cases, the headlines, and the nookie. When the two hotshot cops die in a foolish jump during a chase that did not have their normal Hollywood ending, Gamble and Holtz think that they have a shot to make the big time. But even though they’re on the thread of something big–a permitting violation has focused them on a British celebrity businessman who is involved in a massive bit of fraud to cover the losses incurred on behalf of a client.

So the film has rather predictable shenanigans and a recurring gag that the geeky Gamble (Ferrell) has the attention of beautiful women, including his wife (played by Eva Mendes) and an ex-girlfriend (Natalie Zea), which Holtz cannot fathom.

Eventually, of course, they get their man and save the day.

Overall, I might have confused this film with The Nice Guys, the Gosling and Crowe period piece. Well, not that closely. But I suspect that The Nice Guys is better. When picking films to watch one evening, my oldest mentioned that he’d started to watch this on Netflix but abandoned it. Given that he’s a Will Ferrell fan, this commentary probably explains why this film really never entered the zeitgeist for me to remember it outside of a profligate movie buying incident.

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Movie Report: Highlander 2: The Quickening (1991)

Book coverWell, I guess I am on a Virginia Madsen kick. I mean, I posted the trailer of Electric Dreams for a twee post on AI, and then I watched Sideways. While researching her C.V., I discovered that she was the love interest in this film from back in the 1980s, and since I just watched Highlander in January, watching this film just seemed the thing to do. Also, note that since I picked up a second set of videos in the Highlander series, watching them again will mean that I’ve watched the series through within a span of five or seven years–more than the Conan series even. Make of that what you will.

So: Highlander purists deny this film from the canon, and it’s a strange thing that there are Highlander purists and Highlander has a canon. The film strays a bunch from the thin story set forth in the first movie and retcons some things in that make little sense in a continuing franchise, but this was the 80s, man (the film’s release date was 1991, but the zeitgeist was 80s). They weren’t thinking in terms of story arcs and trilogies and whatnot then–they were thinking “Hey, can we milk this almond one more time?” So when the third movie came along somehow, it ignored the events and stories set forth in this film. Rightly so.

At any rate: The film takes place in the far off future of 2024 (that is, next year). In 1999, Connor MacLeod, grieving the death of his wife Barbara (apparently, he married the woman from the first movie) due to–radiation sickness? Severe sunburn?–helps a scientific team to build an artificial “Shield” to replace the ozone layer which a decade after the first movie has broken down enough to threaten all life on Earth (remember that? No–we remember the artificially created panic around the possibility, but by the actual 1999 we’d moved onto the artificially induced panic of Y2K). The film takes place in 2024, 25 years later, when Connor has aged.

Here’s the retcon: MacLeod and Ramirez, Sean Connery’s character from the first film, were actually revolutionaries on a planet called Zeist where they rebelled against the rule of General Katana, played by Michael Ironside. When they’re captured, they’re exiled to Earth, where they’re immortal until they slay the other Zeistians(?), which I would guess includes all the other people who were killed in the first film and the Kurgan(?). Wouldn’t they have been fellow revolutionaries on Zeist? Ah, forget it, they’re just making stuff up and not planning beyond the end of this movie. Once Connor (I keep typing Duncan because that’s the Highlander from the television series) got the prize at the end of the first film, he could have chosen to go to Zeist (but he didn’t remember that part?) to be immortal there but chose to age on Earth (the alternative) with his wife. Who then died twenty-five years before the film takes place.

At any rate, for some reason, General Katana can no longer just wait for MacLeod to die of old age and sends two goofy assassins to kill him. Earth, meanwhile, under the shield is a miserable place, hot, humid, and without the chance of rain or the site of the sun and the stars. When the elderly MacLeod defeats the Zeistian assassins, the quickening from their deaths restores his youth and Zeistian immortality. He encounters the head of a resistance group, played by Virgina Madsen, who has learned that the Shield might not be necessary any more as the ozone layer appears to heal itself, and then General Katana comes to Earth himself to tackle MacLeod and so Michael Ironside can chew some scenery. Katana makes himself partner in the parent corporation (with a smarmy corporate leader Blake played by John C. McGinley, last seen hereabouts in The Animal. Sean Connery’s Ramirez is resurrected for some quick comic relief and to sacrifice himself to save MacLeod, and MacLeod defeats Katana and turns off the Shield to save mankind (I’d say “spoiler alert,” but, c’mon, man, we knew it would happen).

That is a lot of backstory and whatnot to make essentially a low budget B-movie about swordfights. It does not add the depth that the flashbacks do in the first movie, and they really don’t add anything at all. But it’s not bad for all that, although I don’t have an emotional stake in the Highlander canon to worry about the real serious issues you guys about this film in the whole mythos. Because it really wasn’t planned to be a mythos, and it doesn’t seem to have been planned much beyond getting the film done cheaply at all.

I have additional copies of the other two films in the to-watch library, so don’t be surprised to see a movie report about Sonny Spoons chewing the scenery in the near future.

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Movie Report: The Raw Feed (2003)

Book coverThis twenty-year-old Dennis Miller live comedy video from 2003 is mostly interesting as an artifact. I mean, I like Dennis Miller and all (I can’t believe that I’ve only reviewed Ranting Again during the lifetime of this blog, but I read The Rants in 1996 and I listened to other things as audiobooks before I started writing them up as well). But I think part of Dennis Miller’s appeal, at least to me, is a bit of snob appeal–he makes a lot of clever allusions to classical works, and I chuckle to hear them.

But his humor is very topical and based on contemporary events. This show was filmed in Chicago, and the biggest responses it got were about getting ready to invade Iraq and a joke about the child sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church. Twenty years on, though, they’re not as fresh.

I have to wonder if I would appreciate this standup routine better as a book, but I’m not sure a single standup routine is enough for a whole book.

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Movie Report: Sideways (2004)

Book coverI got this film in February, and I watched it when it was amongst the latest and greatest haul. However, the February haul has been supplanted by the box load from the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale over the weekend, so I will likely start in on those before I finish the ones I bought in February.

At any rate, Sideways is a Paul Giamatti film. His name is above the title. I’ve always been a fan of Paul Giamatti–I remember him from The Truman Show and probably The Negotiator, but suddenly it seemed like he was in everything. But this is the only film I recall him in the starring role.

Giamatti plays Miles, a divorced man who is a writer and a wine and food enthusiast who takes his college roommate Jack on a week-long trip to wine country before Jack’s wedding. Jack is a philanderer and a scallawag, a bit shallow, but Miles is not an unblemished character either–his marriage collapsed due to his affair, and he starts the trip by visiting his mother to wish her happy birthday and to “borrow” (he probably thinks) some cash from her reserves. When they reach wine country, Jack sees that a waitress, played by Virginia Madsen, is into Miles, and he (Jack) arranges a double date when he picks up a winery pourer (played by Sandra Oh).

The relationships progress, but Miles learns that Jack has invited his ex-wife and her new man to the wedding, so he goes into a bit of a tailspin. Meanwhile, Jack’s relationship with Stephanie progresses as well even though Jack is supposed to be getting married in a couple of days–but he declares his love for Stephanie and their planned life together. One gets the sense that he means it, too, just like he means everything in the moment. When Miles lets slip they have to go to a rehearsal dinner, Maya tell Stephanie, and everything is off, but Jack has time for one last fling with another waitress before they return with a cover story explain his broken nose (having it broken by a jilted woman swinging a motorcycle helmet would not do).

The film is most notable for having damaged the merlot industry for a few years (and boosting the pinot noir varietal), but could be secondly noted for having two fully naked sex scenes in it. Miles walks in on both, and I’m sure this is a commentary on his lack of a relationship since his marriage and perhaps a comment on modern relationships as neither is a particularly Biblically sanctioned coupling. But give how few boobs one sees in action and comedy films these days, it was a little strange. Perhaps that’s because it’s a serious movie, where such things are allowed.

At any rate, a good film, a thoughtful film, and I am sure it would have hit me in a different chord if I’d watched it when I was 30 years old and fancied myself a struggling writer (about the time the film came out, I, too, was trying to place a book). But I’m twenty years older than that, and I’m a little calmer these days. So I did not identify with Miles as much as I might have.

Virginia Madsen appeared in this film. I mentioned Electric Dreams, a film that was an early role for her, last month. So perhaps I am on a Virginia Madsen kick.
Continue reading “Movie Report: Sideways (2004)”

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Movie Report: Frantic (1988)

Book coverThis is a 1988 film directed by Roman Polanski, filmed in France obvs because if he filmed in the United States he’d be arrested if he did. Harrison Ford stars as a doctor whose wife is murdered (sorry, wrong movie) disappears from their hotel room in Paris. She’d had trouble opening her suitcase, and when a call came in, she walked out while he was taking a shower. Did she leave willingly or was she taken? The search leads him to believe that it’s the latter. Then the doctor comes across a woman whose bag the wife mistakenly took from the airport. So it’s like 8 Heads in a Duffel Bag but in Paris, and ponderous because it’s directed by an auteur.

They discover that the woman whose bag the wife had taken was not smuggling drugs as she had thought but instead had a MacGuffin, and rival governments were after it. Once they get a hold of it, they exchange it for the wife, the government agents vying for the MacGuffin engage in a shootout, and all ends mostly well.

I don’t feel bad about giving a bit of a spoiler alert there because if you’re going to watch this film, you’re watching it because you’re a big fan of Harrison Ford even though some of his film choices are questionable and didn’t age well. Or you’re a fan of Roman Polanski. Or maybe just a fan of the Barenaked Ladies, who did their bit to keep this film’s cultural relevance in 1998.

But not high on my list of recommendations.

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Movie Report: The Hangover Part II (2011)

Book coverI watched the original film last month, and when I spotted this film in February at the antique mall, I picked it up. And popped watched it relatively quickly by Nogglestead standards.

Well, if you liked the first one (which I really didn’t as it’s more of a modern R-rated comedy and not to my taste) then you’ll like this one as it’s pretty much the same story. This time, the “wolf pack” travels to Thailand for Stu’s wedding (which is not to Heather Graham’s prostitute from the first film–ah, how fleeting is drunken love!). And this time, they don’t lose the groom: They lose the brother of the Lauren, the bride, played by Jamie Chung. And they again have to recreate the events of their blackout night. Which somehow again includes Mr. Chow, played by Ken Jeong, and an appearance by Mike Tyson.

Well, it wasn’t a terribly long movie, and it ended. I didn’t get much out of it. And it is unlikely that I will watch the third part of the film. Unless I can find a copy for fifty cents. After all, Heather Graham appears in it, and Jamie Chung reprises her role, presumably as the wife this time.

Continue reading “Movie Report: The Hangover Part II (2011)”

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Movie Report: Leatherheads (2008)

Book coverYou might remember hearing about this George Clooney football movie. I am not sure how many people saw it. When you come right down to it, you could say that about a lot of George Clooney movies: You’ve heard of it, but you’ve not seen it. He made some interesting selections at the peak of his movie bankability: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Syriana, Solaris–sometime after 2000, he decided his name alone could bring people in, and I guess it did, but not many. Although, to be honest, I guess I have seen a number of those in the theater, so perhaps I am speaking here without data to back it up (a blogger, abstracting incorrectly? Heaven forfend!).

At any rate, it’s probably best to not think of this as a football movie or a football comedy but more around the drama of the logistics of having a professional football team in the early part of the 20th century. Clooney plays Dodge, a player/coach for a fictional Duluth professional football team struggling to remain solvent as they barnstorm the Midwest to play other teams in similar situations. When the team goes under, Dodge convinces a college star and recently returned World War I hero (Carter Rutherford, played by John Krasinski) to play for his team to draw people into the stands–even though the team doesn’t really exist. As they start attracting crowds, a female reporter played by Renée Zellweger is investigating whether Carter’s war exploits were oversold.

So the focus is not on the playing of the football but rather the off-field antics as Dodge woos Lexie, the reporter, and tries to keep the plates of running the football team spinning.

So although it’s a comedy, like The Men Who Stare At Goats and Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? (I admit twice I added the appropriate second comma to that title, but that would be [sic]), it’s amusing in spots at best and that’s about it. Perhaps Clooney would indicate it’s too sophisticated for me. Perhaps he would be correct.

The war story, though, I recognize that as based on Sergeant York’s story, which was believed initially and then doubted for a time as more skeptical generations arose but has more recently been sort of verified. Although Carter’s story of his battle differs–he awakens from a drunken stupor to find he’s behind a German advance and captures a bunch of them from there–one can see the influence. I guess I’m not sophisticated enough to celebrate tearing down icons, even fictional ones. (As a reminder, I watched Sergeant York with Gary Cooper in 2020 and read Sergeant York: His Own Life Story and War Diary last year).

At any rate, I don’t know if I will rewatch this DVD, but I can if I want. Which is unlike football comedies like Necessary Roughness and The Waterboy which are more comedic and more focused on the football qua football.

As a closing thought, I have to wonder if George Clooney got the sense that he was a modern Cary Grant–I know some press compared him to the black-and-white star back in the day. But Grant’s comedies, such as His Girl Friday and even The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, are funny. Or maybe just funny to people steeped in the tropes of black-and-white. Who can laugh at the jokes at Shakespeare and Jonson without reading the footnotes first. By whom, I probably mean me. And, for the record, I have never considered going Clooney.

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Good, Erm, Hunting, Saturday, April 29, 2023: Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library

Gentle reader, yesterday was half-price day at the Friends of the Library book sale, so I wandered back up north with my oldest son. Mainly, I wanted to hit the tables of cheap DVDs again, especially as they were going to be fifty cents each (!).

So I did. And I bought a bunch.

Look at that haul. Coupled with the couple of bundles of chapbooks I got on the dollar books side, I spent $20.

The movies include:

  • A Cary Grant videocassette that seems to contain three films: Charade, Penny Serenade, and Amazing Adventure. I am pretty sure I have Charade already, which means I spent 12.5 cents each on the other two.
  • Hondo with John Wayne, of whom I have a very thin collection.
  • The Sacketts, a two videocassette set. C’mon, man, that’s got to be based off of Louis L’Amour books, ainna? To be honest, I didn’t look closely at the videos as I was trying to keep it relatively quick. My boy at almost seventeen has more patience than he did at six, but he’s still no Buddha.
  • Medea Goes to Jail. The library had several of these. I’ve never seen a Medea film, but they were pretty popular, ainna?
  • National Lampoon’s Barely Legal, a National Lampoon-badged film as apparently I’m a fan (see National Lampoon’s Dirty Movie, National Lampoon’s Adam and Eve, National Lampoon’s Black Ball, National Lampoon’s Vacation, National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon I, and so on, and so on….).
  • Death Trap which I saw part of in high school (but I missed the second day of for some reason). I read the play in 2020.
  • Cloverfield.
  • Avengers: Endgame. A library copy, but it was fifty cents. I think we’re missing a lot of the later half of the first phase of the MCU films.
  • Discoveries… America: Wisconsin, a documentary about my favorite state.
  • Borat, something my son tucked into the stack.
  • A Man For All Seasons. I think I read something about the film in a The New Oxford Review recently.
  • About a Boy since I’m on a Hugh Grant kick. Well, not so far, but I did recently watch a movie based on a Nick Hornby book, so it’s almost the same thing.
  • D.O.A., the original from 1950 and not the later remake with Dennis Quaid (1988). It’s probably due for a reboot, ainna?
  • Knocked Up, a Seth Rogen movie. To test if he really annoys me all the time (as he did in The Green Hornet. And note that I picked up this film and I picked up National Lampoon’s Barely Legal, I passed over Zach and Miri Make a Porno. Why? I dunno.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I’ve seen this before, but not in the theaters.
  • Stand Up Guys which looks to be a mob movie.
  • 50 First Dates, an Adam Sandler film that I have so far missed.
  • The Men Who Stare At Goats, a George Clooney film I saw in the theater.
  • Shopgirl starring Steve Martin based on his novel (novella?) which I read in 2006.
  • The Forbidden Kingdom, a foreign film which might or might not feature action.
  • The Return of the Pink Panther. I have seen bits of these films as a lad (and I was probably disappointed they did not actually feature the Pink Panther cartoon character). I wonder what I will think of them as an adult.
  • Return of the One-Armed Swordsman. Another foreign actioner.
  • Finding Forrester starring Sean Connery, but not an action film, and to my knowledge he does not wear a futuristic speedo.
  • Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone. It only now occurs to me as I type this that it might be included in the four film set I bought that includes Demolition Man. Oh, well, if so, the Lutherans for Life are accepting donations for their summer garage sale.
  • Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Perhaps I am only on a Hugh Grant movie buying kick, although I did pass over Bridget Jones’ Diary and on a later table its sequel.
  • The Out of Towners, the 1999 remake with Steve Martin and not the 1970 original. Perhaps I am also on a Steve Martin kick. Or at least a Steve Martin movie buying kick.
  • The Reader which is that movie where Kate Winslet takes off her clothes artistically. No, the other one. Maybe.
  • Rocky Balboa, one of the later Rocky films. Maybe I am on a Sylvester Stallone buying kick, although I did recently watch Demolition Man and The Expendables.
  • The Bad News Bears, the remake with Billy Bob Thornton.
  • The Best of Gallagher Volume 2. I watched his Showtime specials back in the trailer park an awful lot.
  • Mission to Mars, one of the two or three films that came out about the same time about missions to Mars.
  • Little Miss Sunshine.
  • The Departed.
  • The Italian Job, the remake. I bought the original at the same book sale on Thursday. For twice the price, though.
  • 21 Jump Street, the comedy film. My son added this to the stack, proving that he was amusing himself at the sale tolerably well, and certainly more frugally than his father.
  • The Jade Warrior, a Chinese film.

Guys, that’s 37 or 38 films on physical media for about $17. You can’t beat that with a stick.

So I wrote my first check for $20 and sent my boy to the car with the box of DVDs while I went to the Better Books section.

Where I did some damage.

First off, in my defense, they had a number of audio books and courses that were reasonably priced to begin with and were half off on Saturday. Some years, the volunteers have priced the audio courses at $20 or so, but most of them this sale, at least the ones available on Saturday, were $4, $5, or $8 list price (and half off of that).

So I got a few:

These include:

  • Emerson, Thoreau, and the Transcendentalist Movement.
  • The Science of Mindfulness.
  • How to Make Stress Work For You.
  • Patriots: Brotherhood of the American Revolution.
  • Meaning from Data.
  • Understanding Linguistics: The Science of Language.
  • The World Was Never The Same: Events that Changed History.
  • The Genius of Michelangelo.
  • How to View and Appreciate Great Movies. Although to be honest, I probably could use a course on how to watch middling or bad movies.
  • Unqualified by Anna Faris.

Most are on CDs, but some are on DVD (which play in our primary family vehicle without the video). We had thought about driving to Florida for vacation this year, but backed out of it. Now, I’m a little sad we’re not going to spend thirty or forty hours in the car.

Records? Well, the Better Book section generally only has a couple of crates’ worth, but I found a couple of things.


  • Black Satin by the George Shearing Quintet. Yes, I know I already have it. But this cover might just be slightly better. Funny story about this record. Not long after I got the first copy of it, my youngest son saw it and was SCANDALIZED because he didn’t know how to spell Satan. So he thought this record was “Black Satan.” Perhaps they call the devil “Old Nick” at his Lutheran school. I don’t know. But when I picked the record up this time, I showed it to my oldest and said, in my best Church Lady impression (which, undeniably, is not very good) “Could it be…. SATIN?” And my oldest had no idea what I was talking about because that skit is, what, 30 years old now?
  • About the Blues by Julie London.
  • Good King Bad by George Benson.
  • Let Me Be Your Woman by Linda Clifford, a 1979 disco/funk 2-record set that not only features a pretty woman on the cover (PWoC), but also a centerfold (where she is wearing more clothing than the cover itself).

Oh, and books? I did pick up a couple of those as well.

I got a couple of art monographs and a couple bundles of chapbooks mostly. The haul includes:

  • Lyrics of Lowly Life by Paul Laurence Dunbar. I know, you’re thinking I just bought (well, just two years ago bought) Dunbar’s complete poems. Why do I need this book? Well, need is not the word, but this is a handsome 1914 edition of his third collection originally from 1896.
  • The Tao of the Jump Shot by John Fitzsimmons Mahoney.
  • Jack Rogers: Cowboy, Fighter Pilot by Marion H. Pendleton. For some reason, the name sounded familiar.
  • Chasing Matisse: A Year in France Living My Dream by James Morgan. Not a monograph; looks to be sort of similar to Travels with Epicurus maybe.
  • Auguste Rodin: Sculptures and Drawings. It’s been a couple years since I reviewed any Rodin.
  • Masaccio: The Complete Paintings by the Master of Perspective by Richard Fremantle.
  • Mom at War: A Story of Courage of Love Born of Loss by Todd Parnell. Not a monograph. Pleased to see I haven’t bought it before. I did pass over several copies of Privilege and Privation. Which is good since I apparently bought copies both in 2021 and 2022.

I also picked up a couple of bundles of chapbooks/pamphlets for $1 per bundle. Included in the bundles were:

  • Three Hallmark Treasures titles, The Magic of Children, In Quiet Places, and What Is a Friend. Basically Ideals magazine, but smaller.
  • Three Salesian Mission booklets that you got for a mail-in donation or as a come-on for the same: Golden Moments, The Way, and Love Everlasting. Kind of like Hallmark Treasure titles, but they fit in a #10 envelope. Will I count each as an individual title in the 2023 reading log? Given how fast I’m knocking out books this year, probably!
  • Letters from July by Nicole Simone. This is a 2021 title, so relatively young to be in a bundle at the FOL book sale.
  • Heirarchy by Jeremy Daryl. The POD date at the end is 2022. Perhaps a local literary magazine donated books sent in for review.
  • With Ridiculous Caution by Susan Stevens. From 2013.
  • Shin Splints by Dorothy Stroud.
  • Songs for the Grandaughters published by the Friends of the Lincoln-Lancaster Commission on the Status of Women. Oh, boy. Poetry by commission. I can wait.
  • The Best of Wheat and a Little Chaff Number II by Leah Lathrom Wallace. And just like that, I am the biggest collector of Leah Lathrom Wallace poetry in the country (since I also got the first volume in a similar bundle some years ago and read it in 2018.

Whew! That’s quite a catalog.

I have to admit that I had the same giddy feeling after making this haul as I used to when I’d get paid on a Friday night, cash my check at the courtesy counter of the grocery store where I worked, and take the bus to the mall and blow it all. I’d get home, unpack the bags of video games, cassettes, books, and movies onto my bed, and anticipate all of them and savor choosing where to begin.

Now, clearly, I have chosen to share the bounty with you, gentle reader.

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Movie Report: Man on Fire (2004)

Book coverI popped in this film after I read somewhere–I forget where–I am sorry!–that they’re making a television series based on the A.J. Quinell book from which this movie is based. As I doubt modern movie makers actually read books, I assume they’re making it from the ideas expressed in this film. So I thought I would give it a watch. Which I can do now since it’s almost twenty years old and hence an old movie.

In it, Denzel Washington plays a disolute, dissipated mercenary with a drinking problem who travels to Mexico to visit a friend (played by Christopher Walken) and to interview for a position as a bodyguard for a wealthy family: the son who inherited the family business and an American woman. The bodyguard will mostly be responsible for keeping the daughter safe, as kidnapping wealthy children for ransom is a thriving business. When the girl is taken, he vows revenge on anyone involved and starts tracking the criminals and killing them.

So the plot moves along as Creasy, the mercenary, climbs up the ladder towards the mastermind behind it, the leader called The Voice because all he only communicates through the phone. The film has enough to keep you guessing, but relies a bit much on montages.

Not a bad action film. I’ve got the book around here somewhere, and maybe I’ll pick it up sometime.

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Good Album Hunting, Thursday, April 27, 2023: The Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale

Well, gentle reader, I did take a little time today to run up to the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale and run through the records. I’d hoped I’d get premium selections being that it was the second day of the sale, but to be honest, it was not that different from the pickings one would find on Friday or Saturday.

Which is not to say that I did not find anything.

I got:

  • Posh Patrice Rushen. I was pleased to discover that I bought her album Now in 2019 and not a duplicate of this album.
  • 1100 Bel Air Place Julio Iglesias.
  • I’m Leaving It All Up To You Donny & Marie Osmond.
  • Tall Tales The New Christy Minstrels. The first of three I bought as peace offerings for my beautiful wife.
  • The New Christy Minstrels In Person The New Christy Minstrels. The second of three.
  • New Kick! The New Christy Minstrels. Boy, I hope she likes the New Christy Minstrels and not just their Christmas album which she remembers from her youth. Not that I’m saying she’s old now, mind you.
  • Boots and Stockings Boots Randolph. The saxophone master’s Christmas album.
  • Something Festive, an A&M Records sampler.
  • Peace in the Valley Ace Cannon.
  • It Must Be Him Vikki Carr.
  • Dino Dean Martin. Which I did not have.
  • Here’s Eydie Gorme Eydie Gorme. Which I also did not have. It’s always a treat to find a new Eydie record.
  • Music To Remember Her By Jackie Gleason. I already have it, but I think this has a better cover.
  • The Second Time Around Henry Mancini. I think I have it, but this cover is pretty nice.
  • Golden Saxophones Billy Vaughn.
  • Billy Vaughn Plays Billy Vaughn. I got the impression he was a saxophone player, but there’s not one on the cover. He might be a band leader. (Apparently so.)
  • Dionne Warwicks’ Greatest Motion Picture Hits Dionne Warwick.
  • The Songs I Love Perry Como. I might have it, but for a dollar, I’ll make sure.
  • King of Swing with the All Time Greats Benny Gooddman.
  • Christmas Is The Man From Galilee Cristy Lane.
  • Breezin’ George Benson. My hopefully recently ended seemingly unending quest to find one that does not skip.
  • Velvet Carpet George Shearing Quartet with String Chorus.
  • Greatest Hits Boots Randolph. I might already have it, but for a dollar, I’ll make sure.
  • The Greatest for Dancing George Evans and His Symphony of Saxes.
  • We Got Us Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. I had it already, but this is likely a better cover.
  • Hooked on Classics III. I’m pleased to see that I’ve not mentioned buying this before, which means it’s probably not a dupe.
  • Colours of Love Hugh Montenegro. Love songs by the guy who scored The Man With No Name. Should be interesting at worst.
  • Country Gentleman Henry Mancini.
  • Greatest Hits Volume 1 Dean Martin. Already had it, but this has a nice cover.
  • Dionne Dionne Warwick.
  • Brook Benton Sings Brook Benton with Charlie Francis. Who’s this guy? Ask me after while.
  • More Solid & Raunchy Bill Black’s Combo. C’mon, it has raunchy right in the title. And it’s apparently the second. (Research indicates this was an early bassist, and Ace Cannon is on the sax).

I also got three boxed sets:

  • Benny Goodman Sextet on 78rpm records. I’m not sure if my current record player can handle them. But I have plenty. 4 records.
  • A Treasury of Dean Marting, a Longines Symphonette Society collection. 5 records.
  • Modern Chinese: A Basic Course, a 3-record set. Which brings the total of record sets to teach one’s self a foreign language up to four or five, none of which I’ve listened to.

That’s 44 records total (although sets count as a single unit for pricing). A lot of saxophone. I passed up a lot of Slim Whitman titles, which I am sure I will come to regret if Mars attacks.

I also noted an extensive spread of $1 DVDs–about a whole row, so six or ten tables’ worth. I only breezed over a couple of tables before hitting the records, but I still gathered a couple:

Watch for these films to come to a movie report near you soon:

  • Catch Me If You Can
  • Snitch, a Dewayne Johnson film
  • Domino
  • Taxi Driver. Finally, I will know if he is talking to Travis Bickle.
  • 300
  • The Italian Job, the original with Michael Caine
  • House of Blues Beginner Keyboards. Maybe if I cannot learn guitar, I can return to keyboards, which I tried to teach myself in college.
  • Bad Boys. I am pretty sure I have Bad Boys 2 around here somewhere, and I recently held up my son from watching it because we had not seen the first.
  • The Family Man with Nicholas Cage and Tea Leoni. I saw this in the theater with my beautiful wife.
  • Road to Perdition, the Tom Hanks movie. Which means I can go on a Tom Hanks kick if I watch it close to Catch Me If You Can.
  • The Minority Report

Looking at the list, I’ve seen five of them in the cinemas (Catch Me If You Can, 300, The Family Man, The Road to Perdition, and The Minority Report). Which means they all came out in that relatively brief period of time (say, 1990 to 2004) when I went to more than one movie a year in the cinemas. Man, that was a brief time that seemed to be lasting forever until I later realize it ended.

At any rate, the total was $44, which means the book counter miscounted. I don’t feel too bad about it, as we are members of the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library, and not at the entry level tier.

I might go back on Saturday. Normally, I would stick to the Better Books section on half price day, but I might take a closer look at the then-fifty-cent DVDs. Because all of a sudden, I’m thinking about Mars Attacks! (1996). Which I saw in the theater.

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