Babylon Bee Apparently Didn’t See Juwana Mann

Babylon Bee: Promising New Prospect Lebronna James Expected To Dominate WNBA.

Clearly, the youngsters over there missed the 2002 film Juwanna Mann.

Which I saw in the theater because I’m a big Miguel A. Núñez, Jr., fan.

Well, I remembered him from the television show Tour of Duty anyway.

Oh, the movies I took my beautiful wife to in the theater back in the day.

She drew the line at A Night at the Roxbury, though.

Country Stars in the Movies

I’ve talked about how old football players in movies, and as I was just thinking about Jerry Reed’s role in The Waterboy, and I thought about what country stars made pretty good names for themselves in films.

I mean, we do have Jerry Reed, of course, who played major characters in The Waterboy and the Smokey and the Bandit movies (all three), but his other roles seem smaller and on television. So if the threshold is five, Jerry Reed isn’t on the list.

Dwight Yoakum, in addition to singing songs that stick with one, was in a plethora of movies as a major character, including Sling Blade, Panic Room, and many more. So he would be on the list.

Kenny Rogers was in a number of television movies based on his songs, notably The Gambler (series) and Coward of the County. But does television movies count?

George Strait, stretching himself in playing a country singer in Pure Country is not.

Nor is Trace Adkins, known at Nogglestead mostly for An American Carol where he played a minor role, although he has an ouevre that is growing.

Johnny Cash was in a number of television roles, but they were bit parts.

Dolly Parton was in 9 to 5, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, and Steel Magnolias. And she’s been on television a bunch. Does that count? She’d certainly be above some of the others on the list.

Reba had a successful television show and appeared in a couple of films. Should we call her a television or movie star on the basis of her credits?

Of course, Kris Kristofferson is at the top of the list. He has been in A Star Is Born, Blade (the series), Payback, and so much more. He’s probably the patron saint of country stars who became movie stars.

So who am I missing? Who from country music has moved into movies and had success playing roles other than bit roles and other than himself/herself?

What MAME Cabinet Is He Playing?

A story at Hollywood in Toto claims ‘The Last Starfighter’ – Still the Best Video Game Movie, and I cannot argue with the premise as I have logically proven The Last Starfighter is better than Star Wars.

However, I cannot trust any of the authors facts or assertions since he says:

Some helpful exposition clearly explains how the arcade game [The Last Starfighter] works (it’s one of those fun shoot-em-ups with multiple joysticks, a la “Centipede”).

Sweet peas and chicks, Centipede is played with a track ball and fire button.

But I guess not everyone has the advantage of a local arcade with original machines so one could actually have played the game in the last seven months.

Know Your Rips

It’s easy to get confused if you’re me. If you’re not, you probably won’t know either of these guys, so you won’t confuse them.

Rip Torn,
star of Dodge Ball and Men in Black
Rip Taylor,
star of Wayne’s World 2 and a bunch of things I haven’t seen

Only one of them is R.I.P. now, and strangely, it’s Rip Torn, who was the older of the two, although Rip Taylor seemed old in the 1980s.

Not Mentioned: The Other

Kim du Toit links to a story on SFGate with the provocative title Sex is disappearing from the big screen, and it’s making movies less pleasurable.

And it poses an interesting theory:

We know why. With the onset of internet porn, viewers looking for vicarious thrills had instant access to a cheap, private universe of polymorphous gratification. While Hollywood embraced a business model centered around wholesome baby-boomer nostalgia and PG-13 franchises, cable television and streaming services found their own niche, engaging in “Game of Thrones”-like one-up-manship in violence, profanity – and sex.

I’m pretty sure I’ve posited my theory before, but in case I haven’t: You know why Hollywood doesn’t put sex scenes in movies any more or even the formerly obligatory woman’s bare chest in comedies?

Overseas markets.

The cultures or gatekeepers of culture in other parts of the world don’t want that. So nobody gets it.

Like Kim, I’m not really mourning the loss.

I wonder if the gloss over the other cultures’ censors was intentional or thoughtless.

You Can See That Again

So last night, as I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep, my mind continued to whirl in strange directions instead of calming down.

So I started trying to recall films that I saw in the theater more than once.

I suspect it’s because of an exchange I had with a sixteen year old in martial arts class earlier in the evening. We’re working on a self-defense against choking that involves binding the arms and pushing down on the attacker’s neck, and I told him he needed to stretch me out when defending, to straighten his arms, and that I didn’t mind because it made me taller. “I’ll look like E.T. by the end of the night. Hey, have you guys seen this really old movie, E.T.?” Alluding to the latest incarnation of Spider-Man (Remember, gentle reader, the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man, gentle reader, debuted before my training partner was born). I think the young people enjoy it when I “get down” verbally, don’t you?

At any rate, I had E.T. on the brain, and I remembered I’d seen it twice in the theatres. Once with family friends, and once with a guy who dated my mother a couple of times and eventually opted for a woman on the next block in the housing projects–he and his kids and my sainted mother and her kids went to see it in the van that was eventually seen down Florist Avenue a lot.

So I started enumerating films I’ve seen twice in the theater.

  • E.T.

    I guess I told this story above.

  • Star Wars

    Although I did not see this in the theater in 1977, I saw it a couple of times on its re-release in the 1990s. In retrospect, I went to a lot of movies those days and could even see one a couple of times to make a statement.

  • The Empire Strikes Back

    When my sainted mother was in rehab, my father took my brother and I to see this in the theaters on a Sunday evening after we visited her. But we got there late and missed the entire Hoth section of the film, so I would not see that until I saw it on video. I saw this movie the second time when it was re-released in the 1990s, which means it’s the longest time between viewings in the theater (so far).

  • Return of the Jedi

    I would have to have seen this in the theater in its first run and also in the release. Wouldn’t I?

  • The Bodyguard

    This film came out when I was at college and was establishing my identity as a stoic. So this film really fell into my wheelhouse.

  • The Fugitive

    Ibid. I saw this film in the theater with my Milwaukee friends and with some of the college writing kids, including one of my college crushes, when the university showed in in the campus cinema. As we walked out, she whirled to me and said, “You like Gerard.” Well, yeah.

  • The Truman Show

    The most recent entry on this list is from the late 1990s. The place where I worked, my first IT / office job, often left movie passes for employees by the coffee pot, and I grabbed a couple for this. I went with a friend, and then I took my fiancée. The movie really creeped me out as paranoid fiction often does, and although I have it on video, I haven’t watched it in a while. Not only do I go infrequently to movies, but I rarely get to watch videos, either. Although playoff hockey has made me comfortable watching the television for hours at a time in the evening, so perhaps I’ll get more in during the summer.

I came up with as many as I composed this post as I did last night before falling asleep, which should probably be a lesson to me when falling asleep: Just go to sleep, you’re not thinking very well anyway.

So what else might have made this list? I’ve seen Blade Runner in a revival one-night-only showing. Only once?

Films most likely to join these in the future are also things I might see in revivals such as The Maltese Falcon or The Big Sleep or something. I don’t really see myself in the position where I watch a film multiple times in the theater again.

On The Count of Monte Cristo

Book coverWell, it should come full circle: I finished the book last month after having read the comic book adaptation last year sometime, and I was going to run through Villages at Monte Crist again this weekend, so I sat down to watch the 2002 film again (the first time I’ve seen it since seeing it in the theatre in 2002).

Of course, since I just read the book, I had a keen awareness of how the book was compressed. As I mentioned in my review, the long novel really was like a trilogy, with the first part being the unjust arrest and confinement of Edmond Dantès, the middle part is the things that go on during his confinement amongst the other players along with the beginnings of his plots, and the third is the culmination of his plots and his thoughts of whether his revenge is right or not.

The film covers the first part of the book, abbreviated, along with the third, really abbreviated. You can contrast the liberties the film takes with the original storyline, which are many. Alright, it’s about fitting it into a film, so I can see that.

However: As a film, the second half, where the Count of Monte Cristo emerges, saves young Albert from the thieves and is introduced into Paris to seek his abbreviated revenge against Danglars, Villefort, and Fernand Mondego. Which he does with a single plot involving the theft of a shipment of gold.

Which is not like the book at all.

Of course, one cannot judge a two hour film adapted from a one thousand page novel. One should test how the movie hangs on its own.

It’s paced fast enough, and, again, I like the first part, but the last half moves too quickly, really, to have depth (although it has action).

Alterations to the novel’s plot in service of the film treatment are forgiven for the most part, as they tighten the plot for a shorter treatment.

So it’s good enough to watch again, which I probably will with my boys this summer.

A Triple F Musical Throwdown

Harold Faltermeyer was quite the instrumentalist for movie soundtracks in the 1980s, including two from that movie that had a Saturday Night Live alum portraying the title character, an investigator who assumes various comic roles as part of his investigation.

I’m talking about Fletch, of course.

I’m talking about Axel Foley, of course.

I prefer the former due to racism, of course. Also, because it is a little more than the synth progressions of the “Axel F Theme”.

It also made me start enumerating the films where a Saturday Night Live alum starred as a wise-cracking cop or investigator. Between the Fletch and Beverly Hills Cop movies, we’re already up to five. Throw in Taxi, and we’re up to six. Surely there are more, which I’ll give far too much thought and investigation to.

On On the Beach

Book coverWell, I didn’t get to watch this film on the first try, but I did get to watch it after my triathlon class ended.

For those of you unfamiliar with the premise, it’s a film from 1959 where, after a nuclear war, an American submarine comes to Melbourne, Australia, where people are trying to carry on even though the scientists are pretty sure that the fallout will eventually reach Australia and kill them all.

The captain of the submarine, played by Gregory Peck, doesn’t like to think that his family in the states is dead. The Australian navy places a young officer, played by Anthony Perkins, as a liaison with the American forces, and he introduces Gregory Peck to a local drunk played by Ava Gardner. They start to have feelings for each other, but it’s complicated.

The Australian admirality receives a radio signal, so it sends the sub and its crew to the coast of California to investigate, which gives the sub crew a chance to view the empty coastlines and cities. Unfortunately, it’s not a remnant of civilization. So the sub returns to Australia, and everyone dies.

Well, the film ends with the sub heading back to America because the crew wants to die at home, but, man, it’s a heckuva downer of a film.

As you might know, gentle reader, Gregory Peck is not high on my list of favorite lead actors from the era, and Ava Gardner is not high on my list of actresses, either. However, the film does have Fred Astaire in it, so that’s a bonus.

A downer of a film, for sure, and anti-nuke agitprop. Not something to watch when you want to watch something entertaining, but if you fancy yourself a film buff, you might want to watch it for completeness.

I Wonder Why The North Side Mindflayers Trivia Team Keeps Me Around

So we have this cat, and I like to proclaim often, “You’re a menace!”

He doesn’t look like much of a menace in this action photo, but he really is. He has the nickname “Foot” which is short for “Underfoot.” He likes to walk ahead of me and stop suddenly to turn to look to see if I’m going. And when I say “Walk ahead of me,” I mean inches ahead of me. He’s also prone to appearing in the kitchen when I’m cooking, and if I start downstairs (and hence towards his food dishes) before him, he will come bowling down the stairs after me, often striking me in the back of the legs as I’m descending. When I say “Bowling,” I mean like a bowling ball. He is, after all, nineteen pounds of cat who thinks affection involves biting the hand that pets him and lying across the pillow in the middle of the night and grooming me while I’m sleeping. And then biting me.

Of course, I call all the cats menaces in the spirit of J. Jonah Jameson.

So recently I started to tell him, “Don’t Be A Menace.”

You know, like the movie.

But then I realized I couldn’t remember the name of the movie, a film that came out in 1996 and which I’ve never actually seen, but which has the words/shortened title on the movie poster.

I had to look it up.

Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood.

Which I now tell the cat all the time, and which means I’ll probably retain that bit of information in case it shows up on a trivia night.

Yes, I do talk an awful lot to my cats. But I have been a remote worker for over a decade. I have to talk to someone.

The Week of Easter to a Parent

“Dad, can we eat the entire contents of our Easter basket RIGHT NOW?”

via GIPHY

My boys, well, the oldest, has a habit of going through the video library and pulling out interesting films to read the boxes, and recently he’s left The Hunt for Red October lying around. Given that it’s PG, I suppose we could watch it together. It will blow their minds to see James Bond older.

Movie Night At Nogglestead: THWARTED

Wednesday nights at Nogglestead are often Daddy Movie Nights during the school year because the boys have a church midweek thing and my beautiful wife practices with the choir, which means I can watch a full movie with violence or bad words in it. Or, more likely, an old movie, but I can watch it from start to finish without interruption.

But in the late winter and early spring, I often take a triathlon class, and this year is no exception, which puts Daddy Movie Night on hiatus for a couple of months–almost to the end of the school year.

So tonight, I skipped the triathlon class because I wanted to watch a movie. But the universe repaid me for my perfidy and thwarted movie night.

Here is the actual order of the movies I could not watch and the myriad reasons why:

  1. Adventures in Babysitting. As you might recall, I just bought this on videocassette, and I have fond memories of it from the 1980s, when it was on Showtime and I didn’t have much to do but watch movies on Showtime over and over again. I couldn’t find it on the unwatched video shelves, though, and I assumed that my children had rearranged things or got it out, as they often get out movies they want to watch and leave them in random places. But, no, I see now that I left it on the scanner when I scanned the cover for this post.
     
  2. The Secret Agent, the Alfred Hitchcock film from 1986. I put this in the videocassette player and it started; I wasn’t sure if it was a talkie or not as I know some of his early works are silent. The video had no sound, but it had no titles, either, and the actors mouths’ moved, so I thought perhaps the cheapie video was defective. Besides, I might have it in my collection of early Hitchcock movies on DVD (I later learned I do).
     
  3. My Favorite Brunette, a Bob Hope movie, was bundled with The Road To Bali on a DVD called The Road to Comedy. I worked myself up to some enthusiasm for watching this since the box said it was a send-up of noir films. A comedy. Oh, I could use a laugh. It was still wrapped in cellaphane, and when I popped in the DVD, it contained a collection of ten episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. I took it out and looked at it, aghast. The label on the DVD is, in fact, for the Bob Hope two-pack, and I did unwrap it and tear the little no-steal-it plastic from the table, but this damn thing was mispackaged and labeled.
     
  4. Charly. I just read “Flowers for Algernon” upon which this film is based, so I thought I would give it a whirl. It was not fully rewound, so I tried rewinding it and then play-rewind when it stopped prematurely on the rewind. But apparently this videocassette is blank, since it’s nothing but static from front to back.
     
  5. On the Beach. I figured this post-apocalyptic morality tale would cheer me up after the fiascos noted above. It came right up, but it, too, had no sound, so either the videocassette player is having trouble or something is disconnected on the back of the electronics tangle. I didn’t want to mess with it at the moment (I wanted to watch a movie!).
     
  6. Death Wish with Bruce Willis. All right, Roku and Amazon Prime it is, dammit. So I selected this film. I was just passed the very slow first part when I remembered that Amazon Prime movies choke out at about :47 minutes after the hour. They just stop, leaving me with a blank screen until I click Back on the remote a bunch at which point I can restart the movie. I don’t know if the fault is with my ISP, with Roku, or with Amazon Prime, but I do remember that I don’t like to watch Amazon Prime for this reason.

By this point, I was too beside myself to watch anything, and I really didn’t have enough time for a whole movie any more anyway.

So I gave up and did some housework. And wrote a blog post. And, soon, I will check the VCR connections to see if the audio is loose. I hope it’s something simple like that because I have a lot of videocassettes, and we’ve somehow already reached the point where you don’t see used VCRs at garage sales any more.

So let me foreshadow for you: MfBJN will not feature a post on a movie I just watched in the next couple of days.

UPDATE: The VCR uses a computer/TV switchbox to connect to the receiver, and the switch was in the wrong position. BOYS.

I should bookmark this so I know how to solve the problem when I next encounter it in 2024.

Now That The Die Hard Battle Is Won (II)

Now that we have convinced America that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, it’s time to take our game to the next level.

Adventures in Babysitting is a Marvel film.

I watched this film over and over as a kid because it was on Showtime, and I wasn’t supposed to leave the trailer when my mother was working, which was all summer long for a couple of years. So if you’re a longtime reader, you know I watched a lot of films that appeared on Showtime over and over.

Which is why I remember that the little girl wore a Thor helmet throughout and even, if I’m not mistaken, wielded Mjolnir at the beginning of the film, and at the end, she thinks that the helpful mechanic is Thor. What if he was? He didn’t look to different from the Thor from the Incredible Hulk television movie (The Incredible Hulk Returns).

As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure Marvel has actually made this little girl Thor at one point in the comic books.

Also, look at the back:

A Marvel copyright statement.

Q.E.D.

(See also Now That The Die Hard Battle Is Won.)

Every Generation Gets The Bruce Campbell Hero It Needs

To men (mostly) of a certain age, Ash from Evil Dead from the 1980s:

For slightly younger persons, there’s Brisco County, Jr., from 1993:

A younger generation gets Bubba Ho-Tep from 2002:

Today’s kids might get Sam Axe from Burn Notice:

My kids, of course, are getting things out of order as we watch The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. on DVD. My beautiful wife knows him from Burn Notice. I know him as Ash even though I’ve only seen The Evil Dead and relatively recently.

But I’m pretty sure most universities would be better with a Bruce Campbell Studies Department.

Well, He’s Already Played Jesse Stone

So Tom Selleck is doing reverse mortgage ads, which stuns me because apparently I’m too close to the demographic targeted for reverse mortgage ads when I haven’t even finished paying my forward mortgage yet. But as I watched the ad while riding on a stationary bike to prepare for an upcoming triathlon as I try to futile stave off and lie to myself about being close to the demographic targeted for reverse mortgage ads, I thought, Wow, Selleck is looking a lot like Robert B. Parker these days.

If they make a movie of Parker’s life, I think they know who to call.

On The Iron Mask

Book coverThe Man In The Iron Mask, you mean?” you might ask.

No, old man, although that film is twenty-one years old now, and might be the last thing I’ve seen with Leonardo DiCaprio in it, the film I watched the other night is older than that.

I watched The Iron Mask which features Douglas Fairbanks. Originally filmed in 1929, it was reissued (re-released? remade for television?) with narration by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., replacing the titles. Which is why it makes a sort of sense that I had to keep shushing my children so I could watch my silent movie.

The plot of the movie differs from the later film; in it, the rightful, benevolent king is replaced by the evil twin, but the musketeers intercede to place the benevolent king on his throne.

The film also incorporates elements from the book previously seen in the 1970s films The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers.

I was most impressed with the stunts in the film, and of course, the swordplay. The musketeers and their adversaries fight rapier-style, with thrusts and parries instead of big swings and blocks that you get out of most movies. Although my oldest child did look up from his gaming device and ask if they were dancing or fighting. But he was not paying attention.

In the original release and in this re-release, Douglas Fairbanks delivers a play-like prologue and epilogue that the original audiences would have heard and marvelled at.

So how does it hold up? It’s pretty good, especially with the narration added. The gags work, the stunts still work, and it moves along for its hour and a half.

I’m glad to have seen it and Douglas Fairbanks in action. I’ve seen Errol Flynn already (in Santa Fe Trail with Ronald Reagan).

Also, note the way I found the title of Santa Fe Trail: I knew it was a film with Errol Flynn and Ronald Reagan; I thought it might be This Is The Army because I remember my mother had that title on VHS (which probably means I have it on HS somewhere). So I scrolled through Reagan’s IMDB entry, and This Is The Army didn’t seem like the film I was thinking of. So I scrolled through Flynn’s and didn’t see any title that rang a bell. But then I remembered it had Raymond Massey in it as John Brown. You know, Raymond Massey, the guy who was Gail Wynand in the film version of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. So I looked through his IMDB entry and found it. Because I knew Massey from The Fountainhead, which I watched over and over again in my youth.

Well, this isn’t really a review, is it? It’s more a musing which is more about the connections in my head and the thoughts I had on watching the film. I hope I’m not boring you too much, gentle reader, but mainly I’m writing for me in a couple years, and this post will jog my memories of this moment. You’re just here for the ride.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what I thought about Dumas’ book, you can find those book report musings here for the abridged version released with a cover tied to the 1970s film and here for the complete version. And by “you,” I mean “me in five or six years when I’m re-reading this post and remember I read the book, too.”

On National Velvet

Book coverIn my continuing quest (I have so many twee continuing quests this year, ainna?) to watch the old movies in my unwatched video cabinet, I watched National Velvet the other night, inspired a bit by the fact that my youngest son just read a horse book, Black Beauty. I invited the boys to watch, but one of them left early in the film because it bored him. The youngest, though, stayed all the way through and said it was okay.

It’s a horse movie and a sports movie not unlike Seabiscuit, and it moves along pretty well. The plot: A wandering young man, an ex-jockey who lost his nerve after a spill, comes to a seaside village to look up a family who knew his father. The family, which includes the town butcher, his wife, three daughters, and a young son, receive him and put him up, but he might be up to no good as he discovers where the family’s savings are hidden and takes it, but he puts it back when they offer him a job and board. Then the middle daughter wins a horse and dreams of him racing in the Grand National horse race, and the former jockey is asked to help.

So it’s got the training of the horse arc, the redemption of the former jockey arc, and basic family interactions to fill the two hours and a minute. It moves along very well, not bogging down in places.

The film looks newer than Sunset Boulevard because it’s shot in Technicolor even though it hearkens back to the recent past–the late 1920s, right after the setting of Downton Abbey.

The film features a large contingent of actors (Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney, Angela Lansbury) whom I first knew as, well, almost elderly (which is what they seemed, although in the 1970s and 1980s they would not have been much older than I am now). Angela Lansbury, for example, was quite cute back in the day:

She reminds me of my beautiful wife for some reason.

This film was followed by a television series in the 1960s, a television movie sequel in the 1970s, and maybe a television movie remake in the 21st century (although the IMDB is hazy on this last, with only a title and year). In the sixties and seventies, we sure had a lot of kids with horse shows on television, some through syndication and some new material. It’s probably why the kid wanting a pony was a trope in those days. All the kids want these days is the latest phone and a paid copy of the latest billion dollar mobile game with a big budget for ephemeral in-app purchases.

Oh, and the film has a message to drive home to today’s youth, or maybe just my children: Stop playing with your orthodontic appliance and put it in your mouth. Velvet has a “plate” to straighten her teeth which cost four pounds, and her parents constantly tell her to stop fussing with it. So it’s good to see how some parental guidance remains unchanged between the movie’s setting and last night here at Nogglestead.

The Dirty Tricks of Pseudo-Bachelorhood

Me: “Hey, boys, Mom’s traveling for business. Want to watch Captain America?
Boys: “Yeah!”
Me:

That is, of course, the Captain America television movie from 1979. Which first aired thirty years ago tomorrow (January 19, 1979) as a matter of fact.

I probably saw this first on cable television late at night when it was still relatively fresh.

So the boys and I watched this collection of man driving/man riding on a motorcycle montages punctuated by stoic surfer dude reluctance to accept his father’s mantle. They think it could have used more guns and artillery, as always.

But I have ruined Captain America for them like I ruined James Bond. But they’ll probably be happy to watch the second film, Captain America 2: Death Too Soon sometime soon. Because, hey, it’s screen time after a fashion.

On Sunset Boulevard

Film coverSo, as I mentioned in the book report for Whatever Became Of?, I have wanted to catch up on some old films I have in my collection. So the very first I selected was Sunset Boulevard, a new VHS that I removed from its cellaphane wrap and had to remove the little sticker at the bottom that tied the videocassette to its box to prevent shoplifting. Related question: Is it still a new VHS even though it’s merely a VHS that has never been unwrapped? Depends how you want to present it on eBay, I guess.

This book contains spoilers, but spoilers of the sort that the movie spoils in the first couple of minutes of the film, so look out below.

It has a double-fit on my desire to learn more about old films, as it is a black and white film from 1950 about an aging star from silent films (Norma Desmond is the character name; Gloria Swanson, the actress, is an actual silent film star) who ensnares a struggling writer as a kept man/reluctant love interest. The young man chafes under the restraint and sneaks out to work on a screenplay with an attractive young studio reader, and this puts his whole situation into jeopardy.

So a couple of thoughts:

Both characters, struggling writer and the aging actress, are kind of sympathetic and kind of not. The writer’s desperation for financial security leads him to enabling Norma Desmond, and her sadness and subtle madness at the loss of her stardom make one (one being “me”) feel a bit sorry for her. That’s kind of deft. Or perhaps I wasn’t meant to feel sorry for her, but I just do.

Also, that old, washed-up actress was fifty-one years old.

She doesn’t look old to me, even in those pre-plastic surgery days, but I think as we go along, “old” changes. I guess that’s one of the few things we can actually thank the Baby Boomers for in all earnestness.

You know, between this film and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a struggling young male writer might believe that attractive cougars who will take care of your rent are fairly common. My experience indicates they are not.

I absolutely hate the Dead Man Narrates His Own Death framing device. I hated it in American Beauty (a film I might have just spoiled for you as a bonus spoiler), and hated it here.

Still, I’m glad to have seen it. So perhaps next I’ll run through some more of the early Hitchcock that I mentioned here.

The 80s R

So I watched American Ninja last week for several reasons: It has recently become available on Amazon Prime, and I wondered if it would be something I could watch with my boys who are not yet teenagers. I watched it on Showtime when we lived in the trailer park, many times because there’s not much to do in a rural trailer park, and I would have been only a year or two older than the oldest is now (because we moved into the trailer park one month before my thirteenth birthday because the trailer park would not let families with teenagers move into the park).

Wait a minute, Brian J. you say. Wasn’t the reason you watched American Ninja Judie Aronson? “Shut up, Ted,” is my reply. One of the reasons, surely, but not the only reason.

But American Ninja is rated R. So I hesitate to show it to my children because they’re sensitive, or I like to think they’re sensitive, young people protected from screen violence. I’m watching American Ninja, trying to gauge the violence and swearing, and it’s not so bad.

I especially call it not so bad because I followed American Ninja with Kick-Ass, which is also rated R. Which made the difference between an 80s R and a 2010 R very stark.

Take a look at the violence in the final fight in American Ninja:

Now, take a look at the first big fight with the diminutive Hit Girl in Kick-Ass:

American Ninja has violence, but it looks more and more like the 50s Westerns where a gunshot causes the bad guy to clutch his stomach and fall down. Kick-Ass, on the other hand, has dismemberment, splatter, someone set on fire, and a guy getting microwaved until he explodes. American Ninja has soldiers and bad guys swearing in context, while Kick-Ass has an 11-year-old girl with quite a potty mouth at every opportunity (which, sadly, might be the linguistic landscape in the twenty-first century).

But, jeez, an R rating changes across movie eras, ainna? It’s clearly not an absolute guide to sex, violence, and swearing in a film, but a relative measure of how much a movie contains relative to other movies released contemporaneously.

I suppose that’s clear to any thinking person, but I got the proper visceral (literally figuratively) reaction with the juxtaposition of these two films.