Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1934)

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Season 6 Episode 6
Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1934)

Mark is Joined by Geno Cuddy to discuss the 1934 comedy classic, Hips, Hips, Hooray! from the comedy duo, Wheeler & Woolsey.

 

You can see and hear more from Geno by checking out these link!
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialGenoCuddy

http://cuddysworld.blogspot.com/

“Rumble Fish, 1983”

“Black & white TV, with the sound turned low.”

Rumble Fish, 1983 (Matt Dillon), MCA/Universal

Rumble Fish is a world unto itself; black & white with interesting splashes of color (represented in the Fish of the title).  Mickey Rourke’s “Motorcycle Boy” and his little brother, stare longingly into the underwater world and make play with colorful fish in an aquarium tank.  The characters long to be free, to be “in color” while we note the fish are not “free”, but trapped in the devices of Man.  Fish don’t rumble, therefore fish cannot be Man.  While S.E. Hinton’s excellent novel does not care for the fish, Francis Coppola’s exquisite, beautifully photographed (bearing striking similarity to live television production) seems preoccupied with the notion of using the fish as a metaphor for Man.

Laurence Fisburne walks into Tom Waite’s pool hall and tells young Rusty James (Matt Dillion) he’s gonna get killed by a rival.  Dillon’s buddies, Chris Penn and Nicolas Cage wonder about the Motorcycle Boy, and Dillon tells them he might as well be dead.  His four-eyed friend, Steve (Vincent Spano) doesn’t think he should get into any more fights, and exists as Rusty’s fractured psyche talking back to him.  Rusty has been living in the shadow of his older brother for a long time.  He makes out with his girl (Diane Lane) and fends off the advances of her younger sister (Sofia Coppola) as Fishburne and company wait for his arrival at the designated meeting place: the railroad tracks.

The ensuing “rumble” plays as a variation on West Side Story.  The opponents are dressed in stark blazers that recall mods and rockers.  The fight is overly choreographed to appear as dance.  At the climax of the fight, the Motorcycle Boy appears and tends to his wounds.  Motorcycle Boy explains he was in California, and it becomes obvious Rusty lives through his brother.  Mickey Rourke is such an unusual actor.  Not conventionally good-looking, he has a soft-spoken quality, and a great deal of torment in his eyes, that I could not think of a better actor to play this part.  He’s almost like a ghost in this movie.  Because of that, there were inevitable comparisons to Motorcycle Boy when he appeared in later films.

From this point, the movie is a series of episodes, usually involving Rusty’s misdirected anger, negotiating his uniform fantasies of his girlfriend, Motorcycle Boy’s strung-out substitute teacher girlfriend (pathetic Diana Scarwid) and his older brother’s impossibly high standards.  Turns out Motorcycle Boy has grown, perhaps become a man, and where he traded his violence, he learned enough humility to stay out of jail but not enough to mercilessly criticize Rusty for the same choices he made when he was younger.  You begin to understand why they are the way that they are when you meet their father (a wired Dennis Hopper).  I’m reminded of Apocalypse Now where we had Hopper’s drug-addled lunacy completely in tune with Coppola’s vision of war.

“You’re smart. You’re just not word-smart.”

I love the way Rumble Fish is photographed, but, even now, I can’t quite understand why Coppola chose to make this movie the way he did.  It harkens back to the first golden age of television with tight, stagey close-ups and scenery-chewing, but it’s a contemporary piece, with contemporary technology and automobiles.  Stewart Copeland’s interesting score is rife with sonic anachronisms.  The language is contemporary as well.  We try desperately to sympathize with Dillon’s character, but he’s a complete asshole, and he doesn’t deserve all the chances the people in his life give him.  Coppola made the much more successful The Outsiders (also based on an S.E. Hinton book) earlier in the year.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.  Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.

American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince

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Chris and Mark continue the #Scorsesepalooza!

This time we discuss American Boy: A Profile of: Steven Prince where Martin Scorsese talks to actor Steven Prince about his past. As the night goes on, Prince reveals some very amusing and moving stories of his experiences with drugs and violence.

 

WGC – The Lake Kezia Monster

Episode 11 – The Lake Kezia Monster


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The Lake Kezia Monster s5e19
Eccentric Walnut Grove resident Kezia has her lakeside property auctioned off for non-payment of taxes and who else but Mrs. Oleson buys it, keeping Kezia around as an indentured servant. Albert comes up with one of his schemes and enlists Laura and Andy to help scare off Mrs. Oleson…

The opening song “Albert” is written and performed by the amazing Norwegian band, Project Brundlefly and is used with permission.
Check them out at:
https://www.facebook.com/ProjectBrundlefly

“King Kong, 1976”

“He was the terror, the mystery of their lives, and the magic.  A year from now that’ll be an island full of burned-out drunks.  When we took Kong, we kidnapped their god.”

King Kong, 1976 (Jeff Bridges), Paramount Pictures

Once upon a time, movies were made for fun. There was the promise of riches, of course, but technicians took an interest in telling stories, entertaining the masses, and weighing the benefits of big box office grosses and shelf life. There was no room for philosophy or a filmmaker’s personal responsibility. When Jaws brought the fervor and potential of explosive summer movie box office openings to a fever pitch, producers scrambled like mad to make big movies for wide release. The system is still in place today, but with nowhere near as much zeal or child-like enthusiasm as it once had. It’s become a more cynical market for big budget genre movies.

With Kong: Skull Island now making the rounds in theaters, there have been at least 18 incarnations of the “creature who touches Heaven,” and there will be more for sure. We saw the movie last week, and while I was grateful the writers and producers made an all-out monster movie this time around, I was dismayed at the lack of creative enterprise. This was by-the-numbers computerized filmmaking, and so much thought was put into Kong’s appearance that very little effort was left to write a compelling story or develop interesting characterizations, but I don’t want to write about Kong: Skull Island. I call this column Vintage Cable Box for a reason.

Dreamy scientist Jeff Bridges stows away aboard greedy industrialist Charles Grodin’s merchant tanker as it sets a course for an uncharted island obscured by a mysterious fog bank somewhere in the North Pacific. Along the way, they receive a distress call from a sunken yacht and pick up aspiring actress Dwan (delicious Jessica Lange), and it isn’t long before the two most attractive people in the entire cast become attracted to one another. They pierce the white veil of fog surrounding the island and make for shore on an expedition for oil (an interesting narrative choice considering the gas shortage of the time).

The explorers run afoul of unpleasant natives who demand blondie Dwan in exchange for six of their own women so she can be used for a strange marriage ritual. They refuse and set off a light-show with guns to scare off the natives. Later that night, they abduct Dwan, drape her in gowns and offer her up to our titular primate. At times, their courtship is quite endearing. Kong is initially furious with her because of her stubborn streak, but he grows to like (and then, admittedly inexplicably) love her. For Dwan’s part, she spends most of her time with Kong in fear, either of his temper, or the other various creatures and dangerous situations on the island. She ultimately develops an affection for the enormous ape. Rick Baker (in the ape suit) and Carlo Rambaldi (responsible for the expressive mechanical makeup effects) create an incredible character in Kong that we feel for, and ultimately pity.

After tests indicate the petroleum isn’t ready for drilling, Grodin doubles down and captures Kong to save his job by making the big guy part of an advertising campaign akin to the Esso “Put a Tiger in Your Tank” promotion.  He takes Kong to New York, and of course, the ape goes … well … ape.  Kong takes Dwan to the top of the World Trade Center and is killed by helicopters.  The movie does a great job of negotiating the terror of the beast with the ethical quandry of removing him from his habitat without the proselytizing quasi-bestial leanings of Peter Jackson’s overblown (and unnecessarily epic) 2005 remake, or Merian C. Cooper’s rambling, unintentionally funny ode to the “white male reality.”  This movie is the “Goldilocks” of all the King Kong movies, for me.  It’s just right.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.  Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.

Vintage Cable Box: “The Blues Brothers, 1980”

“We’re so glad to see so many of you lovely people here tonight. And we would especially like to welcome all the representatives of Illinois’s law enforcement community that have chosen to join us here in the Palace Hotel Ballroom at this time. We certainly hope you all enjoy the show. And remember, people, that no matter who you are and what you do to live, thrive and survive, there’re still some things that makes us all the same. You. Me. Them. Everybody. Everybody.”

The Blues Brothers, 1980 (John Belushi), MCA/Universal

So Jake (John Belushi) got pinched and served three years of a five year stretch  at Joliet Correctional.  His brother, Elwood (Dan Aykroyd) arrives to pick him up.  They greet each other and take off in Elwood’s souped-up cop car.  He traded the old (legendary) Bluesmobile for a microphone.  First stop is a visit to the Penguin.  Not the umbrella-toting supervillain, but a nun (Kathleen Freeman) from the orphanage where the Blues brothers grew up, who informs them she (and the Lord) are displeased with Jake’s incarceration.  She also tells them the County Assessors Office has tendered a bill for the property in the amount of $5,000.  This is when Jake gets it into his head that he and his brother are on a “mission from God” to save the orphanage.

Their next assigment is to get the band back together.  The band (composed of Tom “Bones” Malone, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Lou Marini, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Steve Cropper, “Mr. Fabulous”, Willie Hall and Murphy Dunne) had splintered off after Jake’s incarceration.  Some formed their own lounge band, while others retired completely and took up respectable jobs.  I’m convinced (after I don’t know how many viewings), Jake’s true talents are reserved for manipulation and charm.  He convinces the guys to get the band back together.  He obviously charmed an unhinged “Mystery Woman” (Carrie Fisher) into marrying him before ditching her at the altar.  He extorts their former manager, Maury Sline (Steve Lawrence) into finding them a hall and promoting a performance that will yield at least $5,000 in gate money.

What we next witness is truly a comedy of errors and escalation.  Everything that goes wrong gets worse.   Everything that goes bad becomes terrible.  Jake’s Mystery Woman is thwarted on several occasions, attempting to kill him and his brother with an escalating series of weapons (including machine guns, flame-throwers, and explosives).  Jake and Elwood run afoul of the Illinois Nazi Party (headed by Henry Gibson) and an errant country/western band called The Good Ol’ Boys (with frontman Charles Napier), not to mention corrections officers, cops, state troopers, and the National Guard.  Of course, all of this could’ve been avoided if Elwood had not run a red light one night on an open road in Cook County, and I have to wonder if this is truly a “mission from God” since there are so many obstacles put in Jake and Elwood’s path.

I miss you, Carrie.

On the night of the big show, they have to sneak in to their own gig, where they play two songs and then beat a hasty 106 mile retreat back to Chicago so they can pay the Assessor’s office before they get arrested.  Bringing up the rear are the cops, the angry musicians, and the Nazis.  The stunt-work and car crashes exponentially increase and I wonder if this is why Aykroyd and co-writer/director John Landis wanted to make the movie.  The Blues Brothers exists as a separate entity when compared to other movies with regard to characters from Saturday Night Live.  The Blues Brothers characterizations were not controlled by Saturday Night Live creator/producer Lorne Michaels, therefore he had no creative input on the project.  This was an oversight he would correct for future film productions.

There’s a certain magic to The Blues Brothers.  It’s a musical-comedy-action film, expertly directed with incredible guest turns by living legends like Cab Calloway, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles, and John Lee Hooker.  There are also a number of left-field cameos (as in all John Landis films) from Frank Oz, Twiggy, Steven Spielberg, Chaka Khan, Stephen Bishop, and John Candy.  The endless cacophony of improbable car crashes and enormous pile-ups coupled with unbelievable automotive acrobatics makes The Blues Brothers almost a mythic fairytale.  Landis and Aykroyd were reunited for Blues Brothers 2000 with John Goodman and Joe Morton.

Our first cable box was a non-descript metal contraption with a rotary dial and unlimited potential (with no brand name – weird). We flipped it on, and the first thing we noticed was that the reception was crystal-clear; no ghosting, no snow, no fuzzy images. We had the premium package: HBO, Cinemax, The Movie Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon, CNN, The Disney Channel, and the local network affiliates. About $25-$30 a month.  Each week (and sometimes twice a week!), “Vintage Cable Box” explores the wonderful world of premium Cable TV of the early eighties.

WGC – Annabelle

Episode 10 – Annabelle


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Unknown to everyone, Nel’s long lost sister Annabelle happens to visit Walnut Grove with a traveling circus. She also happens to be the ‘Fat Lady,’ much to Harriet’s chagrin. Meanwhile, Laura has a competitor for Almanzo’s attention…

 

The song “Albert” is written and performed by the amazing Norwegian band, Project Brundlefly and is used with permission.
Check them out at:
https://www.facebook.com/ProjectBrundlefly