On The Three Stooges: 6 Full Length Fun Flicks

Book coverSo on Wednesday, November 4, the night after we watched Sergeant York, I wanted to watch To Hell and Back with and about Audie Murphy; it was then that I learned it was the wrong region DVD. So I cast about looking for something, and I thought I would pop in this video which I got Spring 2019 at the church garage sale (I was going to say last Spring, but it suddenly occurs to me that 2020 has somehow almost passed–what have I been doing? When and where were the seasons?). I thought maybe the boys would want to watch these, but they did not.

So I watched them alone.

Continue reading “On The Three Stooges: 6 Full Length Fun Flicks

The Alarm Clock To Getting Woke, Going Broke Is Ringing

Not really, I hope, but the New York Post story entitled Who will replace Alex Trebek as ‘Jeopardy!’ host? Meet the top candidates has five candidates:

  • George Stephanopoulos, the former Clinton White House staffer who is now a television political commentator.
  • Betty White, which is based on a joke Trebek made once about a suitable replacement.
  • Ken Jennings, the winningest Jeopardy! contestant.
  • Laura Coates, a CNN legal analyst talking head.
  • Alex Faust, a hockey play-by-play announcer.

Come on, two political talking heads are on the short list? Really?

Clearly, it’s Ken Jennings, right? And the rest of this column was driven by the need to file some column inches, ainna?

Also, is this too soon?

Ms. K Doesn’t Care How Old You Feel, Old Man

However, she notes:

And you know what? It might be that many years again until I see the biggest geek sensation of 2016. When I come across a DVD set at a garage sale. Or while scavenging an abandoned farmhouse After.

Brian J., why did you take a screenshot of the tweet instead of embedding it? you might ask. Because, gentle reader, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in 17+ years of blogging, it’s that embedding something means that I won’t see in 2031 what I embedded because Goowitterple will have retired the format, so I’ll have no idea what I was planning to watch in 2050-something.

Which, of course, won’t be useful anyway if there’s an After, but I’ll still be able to use the DVDs I scavenged as a rudimentary mirror. How did I get so old? I will ask myself.

Making the Leap to the Small Screen

As I just read the Tron: The Storybook, I had to right away, wherein “right away” means in a week or so, watch the film.

As we’re watching, I see the character Bit:

and I think, what else have I seen him in?

Then, today, it finally hit me: He was also in the television series Automan:

Although the role on television was not a speaking role, it looks like it was physically demanding.

In Automan, he’s credited as “Cursor” as Himself. I guess the first appearance in Tron was uncredited, and he must have left the industry after the television program.

I wonder whatever became of that guy.

Why I’ve Almost Given Up On The Blacklist

My beautiful wife and I have been watching the James Spader television show The Blacklist since almost the beginning. We have been recording it from the beginning, but I think we started watching it after a whole season had elapsed as we don’t tend to watch 3.5 hours of television a day.

We’ve stuck through it even though its internal intrigues have often sounded like they were not planning any sort of arc across the seasons, but rather came up with something after each renewal. So we’ve had lots of crazy things going on, the story line turning on itself, mysteries resolving into new intrigues that, in total, won’t stand up to scrutiny.

We’ve stuck through it through poor police procedures, most notably how lackadaisical the police are at setting a perimeter when busting in on bad guys, often skipping any sort of perimeter if the bad guys need to escape or setting the perimeter appropriately at 46 minutes after the hour when they need to wrap the episode up. I’ve forgiven other television-driven decisions and tactics as well, not to mention the intrigues and characters who are important for a while and then are not.

But in the current season, I’m having a hard time with the absurd hard-left story lines and moralizing.

Spoilers below the fold.

Continue reading “Why I’ve Almost Given Up On The Blacklist

Fake Newsin’ Memes From 1983

Seen Powerline’s The Week in Pictures:

Come on. I mean, aside from the commas missing from the appositive phrase, Diana was not the “queen lizard.” Any fool knows she was not even in charge of the invasion force, being instead in charge of one of the ships and the chief science officer.

Although one of her superior officers (Pamela, a Supreme Commander) intimates that Diana had a relationship with the supreme leader of the the Visitors, her position was certainly not queen.

I mean, if you don’t remember this stuff off the top of your head, you can read about it on Wikipedia.

Man, the first miniseries came out when I was eleven, and it creeped me out a bit–aliens was something that tripped my willies even into my early 20s.

Although I have both V and V: The Final Battle on DVD, I haven’t watched them in a long time. And I have not seen the new one (well, 2009-new, which is actually newer than the new Battlestar Galactica) because Morena Baccarin cut off her hair for it. Also, because it’s the new one, and the old one is always better.

Today I Learned

Sledge Hammer was born in St. Louis.

(I learned this because Adaptive Curmudgeon had a post today capped with a clip from the 2008 film Burn After Reading that featured Sledge Hammer! and the Farmers Insurance pitchman, so I looked him up on IMDB and learned that he’s been in a lot of other television shows and films since the television comedy that I know him best for.)

Certainly the IMDB entry says he’s known for other things.

But come on. He’s Sledge Hammer!

Trust me, I know what I’m doing.

Know Your Frenches

Kids who grew up on syndicated television in the 1970s, before cable television, might have trouble with this, although they might not even know it: Confusing their Frenches.

Mr. French was a character on the television show Family Affair played by Sebastian Cabot.

Victor French was an actor who appeared most notably (for syndicated television viewers) in Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven.

I’m throwing Merlin Olsen into the mix here because he also had facial hair and because he appeared in Little House on the Prairie as a replacement character when Victor French left the show. Also, he appeared in a Highway to Heaven episode and said to Victor French “All I could see was the flowers and the beard. I thought you were Merlin Olsen.”

Mr. French
Victor French
Merlin Olsen

I am sure this field guide has absolutely no meaning in the second decade of the twenty-first century, where I’m the only one thinking of these particular television programs, none of which I particularly liked but watched we only had five channels and because Sid Meier’s Civilization was still decades away.

Ross Thomas Makes It Big

Well, I’m pretty sure the author made it big enough during his lifetime.

But here in the 21st century, 25 years after his death, his 1984 book Briarpatch is getting a television treatment:

The explosive opening of USA’s “Briarpatch” promises that this new series, starring Rosario Dawson as a crusading investigator uncovering hometown corruption, will continue to offer bang for its buck.

That doesn’t quite happen, but “Briarpatch,” adapted from Ross Thomas’ 1984 crime fiction novel, does provide enough of a compelling storyline to keep viewers guessing where it will all eventually lead.

I’m kind of pleased.

It’s been five years since I’ve read a Ross Thomas paperback, but I have plenty scattered amongst the library, possibly including Briarpatch. So when I end up reading one of them in the near future, you’ll know why.

(Previously reported: The Porkchoppers, The Mordida Man, and Voodoo, Ltd..)

I Blame The Dharma Initiative

Polar bear spray-painted with ‘T-34’ baffles Russia wildlife experts:

Footage shared on social media in Russia of a polar bear with “T-34” spray-painted in black on its side has alarmed experts.

Experts warned the stunt could affect the animal’s ability to blend in with its surroundings and hunt for food.

An investigation is under way to determine exactly where in Arctic Russia the video was filmed.

I’ve seen this before.

Fifteen years later, I’m probably the only one still alluding to Lost.

UPDATE: It looks as though Ms. K. has also commented on the story.

$#*! My Dad Says: The Next Generation

Gen Z’s ‘OK, Boomer’ meme may become a TV show.

It’ll be as big as the television series based on a Twitter feed was ten years ago.

Which is to say, not very big at all. Even William Shatner could not save it.

Because old people watch television, and they don’t want to watch television mocking them nearly as much as kids want to make television shows that mock old people.

Besides, as you know, I’ve already got a favorite Boomer show.

Suddenly, “OK, Boomer”

So I’ve seen the rejoinder “OK Boomer” [sic] twice this week, and it’s only Tuesday. The first was on Facebook post by Bill Whittle and the second was on today’s Bleat by James Lileks. So I guess it’s a thing in Internet places where one contends with Millenials. I don’t, so I haven’t seen it, and I’m not a boomer anyway.

But I see “OK Boomer” and immediately I think of the Benji knock-off:

If you’re of a certain age, it probably triggers the theme song in your head.

Enjoy the flickering representation while it lasts, which will be until the automated copyright checking algorithms find it and I have to replace it in the post with the the German version.

An Ill-Conceived Quiz

So yesterday, I illustrated a repeated motif in the television series Airwolf, that the climactic air battles were always a bit touch-and-go, dramatically, until the Airwolf pilots did the loop. You see, Airwolf had jets and could actually do a loop unlike, you know, real helicopters. And at the end of the climactic air battles at the end of the show, Airwolf always won by doing the loop. So I did an extended rant about how they should maybe do the loop immediately and win decisively in the first minute of battle. But that would make for bad television. And perhaps it stressed the airframe and they tried to avoid it if possible.

So then I got to thinking about helicopters in television shows, and then maybe a quiz wherein you try to name the television program from the name of the helicopter in it.

You know, like Blue Thunder, which was spun off from the movie of the same name (and featured Dana Carvey in a dramatic role). Airwolf essentially ripped off the super copter schtick, but did it more successfully than the Blue Thunder television series did.

But the thoughts of a quiz evaporated quickly when I realized that the helicopters were the star of the shows, so the shows were named after the helicopters. What show was the helicopter “Airwolf” on? Not much of a quiz after all.

The only one I could think of off the top of my head was the Screaming Mimi, which was not the title of the show on which it appeared.

Do you happen to know the show I’m talking about?

Continue reading “An Ill-Conceived Quiz”

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?

He’s No Jack Palance

Although every generation gets the Bruce Campbell hero it needs, he will have some big shoes to fill when he hosts Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Best known for the “Evil Dead” franchise and USA’s “Burn Notice” — not to mention his bestselling autobiography, “If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor” — he is now hosting the latest installment of “Ripley’s” (Sundays at 9 p.m. on the Travel Channel).

“I thought ‘Ripley’s’ was a good fit for me because the people who follow what I do, they like stuff on the edge, and that’s what ‘Ripley’s’ is,” says Campbell, 60, on the phone from his home in the self-proclaimed “wilds of Oregon.”

. . . .

“They’ve been around for 100 years, so everyone’s heard of them,” says Campbell. “In my formative years, there was always some form of Ripley’s book or publication [in the house]. I still have the red, cloth-bound Ripley’s book that I had in my living room. It had all these crazy illustrations of people doing amazing things.”

I mean, I can still hear Jack Palance from the 1980s ABC version of the show saying, “Believe it…or not.” Where the “or not” sounded like a threat, and you’d better believe it if you know what’s good for you.

Lostification

Someone is unhappy with how Game of Thrones is turning out:

Where to begin with “The Bells,” an absolute disaster of an episode that exhibited every bad habit the series’ writers have ever had? They threw out their own rule book (suddenly the scorpions don’t work and Drogon can burn everything?) to pursue gross spectacle.

Character and substance were left by the wayside so that the plot could go where the writers wanted. The pace was rushed in the beginning, painfully lagging by the end. The script created plot devices and conflicts out of thin air (no really, when were the bells ever so important?), relished in violence and let a main character survive beyond any reasonable odds.

Yeah, kinda like they did with Lost. The show’s writers were making it all up as they went with no end in sight, and then when they had to wrap it up, they did so with a truncated season that didn’t answer most of the questions from the bulk of the series and instead created a new series of mysteries and questions in the last series, questions that viewers were not invested in, that they could wrap up.

Badly.

So you won’t have to wonder if I watch multi-season narratives like this. I don’t. Because they’ll botch it.

UPDATE: Ace agrees about Game of Thrones and also brings up Lost.

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.

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.

Reality Television Show Concept

So while tooling through IMDB yesterday, I came up with a reality television show concept: Celebrity Crush.

Basically, it would take actors and actresses, often from older movies and television shows, and have them call upon people who expressed having a crush on them back then.

The producers would scour social media and blog posts looking for harmless admissions that so-and-so liked that actor/actress from that movie from back in the day, would run a background check on the poster, and would then look to get that actor/actress to call upon the non-celebrity to–well, it would depend, I suppose. Go on a date? Get together and talk about the movies and the times in the old days?

Say, for example, someone remembers fondly Judie Aronson from Weird Science and American Ninja:

Then
Now

Producers could find someone who thought she was cute in those films and get them together to talk about where they were then, what they’re doing now, and whatnot. It would be a bit of a Where Are They Now? with the chance for the celebrity to promote new projects (new movies or gyms). The show could catch some of the non-celebrities by “surprise” when the celebrity crush just shows up. The producers could vary the format from “dates” to just discussions and reminisciences (which is not how the real word is spelled, but some of us have nostalgia down to a science, so it seems fitting). They could vary the ages/eras of the celebrity to keep it interesting. I’m telling you, it could work.

I’d watch it.

I’m exaggerating there. I don’t watch much television, especially not reality shows or celebrity news magazine types of things.

But I would happily accept a junior producer credit for writing this blog post.