Saturday, November 26, 2022

Movie Reviews: Fuzz

directed by Richard Colla

This 1972 movie was based on the novel of the same name written by Evan Hunter, born Salvatore Lombino, who is best known by his pen name of Ed McBain. Hunter also wrote the film's screenplay. 
Many of "McBain's" novels were set in NYC's 87th precinct but this movie was set in Boston. Fuzz had two big stars in Burt Reynolds and Raquel Welch but they didn't click together for at least two reasons.

(1) The film was conceived and executed as an ensemble "dramedy". 
(2) According to Reynolds, Welch was not happy, to put it mildly, that Reynolds had higher billing and the associated higher pay. Welch refused to work with Reynolds. 

Their two characters were rarely in the same scene together and again according to Reynolds when they were Welch insisted on using body doubles for dialogue so that she wouldn't be there. Welch was also annoyed with what she thought was excessive attention to her beauty/body; she made the director tone down a scene she thought was needlessly revealing. 

Rhino Wakes Up Dog

Don't you hate when people wake you up from a deep sleep? Maybe you react just like this dog did when a friendly and curious rhino interrupted the canine's beauty rest.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Movie Reviews: Odds Against Tomorrow

Odds Against Tomorrow
directed by Robert Wise

Too many modern movies seek to ensure that their political or social message is sent and received regardless of whether the story is any good. Screenwriters, directors, and actors  may even deliberately damage the story to put the message front and center. In some films this has become ridiculous, rendering the end product almost unwatchable. 

It's one thing to say that a film's heroine is competent or a bada$$. It's something else to make the character perfect from the beginning in everything and thus eliminate challenges, growth and development. It's something else to make every male character incompetent, weak, malicious, or sexist. 

It's one thing to say that racism is bad. It's something else to make a racist character so ridiculous that he becomes a live action cartoon who is easily dismissed by real life racists.

Artists who want to entertain and educate the audience could do worse than to watch films created by Robert Wise, who was best known for The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Sound of Music, and West Side Story

2022 Midterms

I don't know who was the first person to say "Don't get high on your own supply". Younger people may recall a version of this maxim from rapper Biggie Smalls 1997 song "Ten Crack Commandments". I'm not young so my reference point for the line is from the 1983 movie Scarface

There are older sayings with similar meanings. H.P. Lovecraft in his 1927 horror novel The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward wrote the warning "Do not call up that which you cannot put down". Shakespeare's "Hamlet, written between 1599 and 1601, has the line "hoist by one's own petard" which warns of destruction by forces that the person has invoked. 

Republicans should have remembered these warnings before the recent midterms. At this time there are a few races yet to be called. But there was no red wave. Democrats will keep control of the Senate. Republicans will likely take control of the House by a small margin. 

With a few exceptions high profile Trump supported election denier Republicans lost. In Michigan, Republicans were shut out entirely. Michigan Democrats retained the offices of Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General, while taking the State House and State Senate.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Movie Reviews: Phone Call From A Stranger

Phone Call From A Stranger
directed by Jean Negulesco

Although some might consider this movie a noir film because of its sassy dames, snappy dialogue, tough customers,  and frank examination and depiction of human vice, I think ultimately it's too didactic and even too optimistic to be a noir. It has the noir look though. 

Watching this film I was reminded of things I have learned over the years about relatives who have passed on or who have entered their golden years. Sometimes this information wasn't always positive. As a child there's stuff that people just won't tell you. 

And even when I became an adult many older relatives or family friends weren't willing to discuss their foibles or mistakes with members of the younger generation. Stay out of grown folks' business was a family maxim.

But ultimately it doesn't matter because all of us are trying to do the best we can in our allotted time. Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. That's very much the message that Phone Call From A Stranger conveys.