Song of the Day: Tequila Sunrise (by The Eagles)


Glenn Frye

Growing up it was unavoidable that I would end up loving the rock band Eagles. It was something I pretty much had no choice in the matter. I blame my Dad for this situation. I say this with love because The Eagles is that one band that’s become part of the American pop consciousness.

The band formed in 1971 with Don Henley, Glenn Frye, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. They would make their debut album a major success and follow it up with a sophomore effort that was just as critically-acclaimed as much as it was a success with the public. It was from this second album that today’s “Song of the Day” comes from and also one of my Dad’s favorite songs from the band. It was his second favorite after “Hotel California” and would be part of his regular listening rotation during long drives to and from home and work.

While I would dismiss the band in my youth as was typical of most children who wanted to branch out from their parents when it comes to what they like. In the end, as time went by I would fall in love with the band. Some looked at Don Henley as the architect of the band’s success and one would not be wrong, but I always thought that Glenn Frye was the soul of the group. As lead vocals for the band he gave the band’s song the emotion it needed to resonate with the listening audience.

This is why it was saddening news to hear that Glenne Frye passed away earlier today after a long battle with ill-health. Here’s to the soul of the Eagles as we slowly stare at another tequila sunrise as we say goodbye to Glenn.

RIP Glenn Frye

Tequila Sunrise

It’s another tequila sunrise
Starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky, said goodbye
He was just a hired hand
Workin’ on the dreams he planned to try
The days go by

Ev’ry night when the sun goes down
Just another lonely boy in town
And she’s out runnin’ ’round

She wasn’t just another woman
And I couldn’t keep from comin’ on
It’s been so long
Oh, and it’s a hollow feelin’ when
It comes down to dealin’ friends
It never ends

Take another shot of courage
Wonder why the right words never come
You just get numb
It’s another tequila sunrise,this old world
Still looks the same,
Another frame, mm…

Hallmark Review: Flower Shop Mystery: Mum’s the Word (2016, dir. Bradley Walsh)


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And look at all those American flags!!! Wow! I had no idea that North Bay, Ontario, Canada had a United States appreciation day where they take down all the Canadian flags that normally line the street to put up Old Glory. Actually, the city behind the title card is Littleton, New Hampshire, but the movie was done in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. However, they did take down the Canadian flags that normally line that city’s Main Street. Unfortunately, I don’t know the city they show just before the title card. Only so much I can do.

This time it was really easy to figure out. While they do make sure the license plates are Illinois…

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and American flags are even in the windows of motels…

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they left plenty of local business names just lying around.

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They even directly reference this coffee house and it really exists on 473 Fraser Street North Bay, Ontario.

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Figuring out Littleton, New Hampshire goes to the Hunkins & Eaton Insurance Agency, Inc. sign that just barely shows for a second before the camera pans up to the shot at the beginning of this review.

With that out of the way for now. This is Hallmark’s new mystery series. It takes place in the small town of New Chapel, Illinois, which is only about 4,000 km by car from Eden Lake, Minnesota where Hannah Swenson runs her bakery.

It starts off by introducing us to a dead man walking named Elvis. Abby Knight, played by Brooke Shields, once knew the man who has since run on hard times.

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After speaking in exposition dialog to introduce us to her, the flower shop called Bloomers, and her employee, Brooke sits down to have a talk with her daughter. A daughter who, I kid you not, is attending Mills College. Mills College which, according to Brooke’s flower shop friend, is “far enough away to live on campus, but close enough for Mom to drop in.” I had no idea Mills College had moved from the Bay Area to near Illinois, Ontario, Canada.

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Oh, and just in case we thought she was on vacation and not in the middle of classes.

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This scene only exists to tell us that Brooke used to be a lawyer, but stopped when her husband died and opened a flower shop instead because “none of it just seemed as important.” In other words, her husband died so that the character will be able to be a detective and Beth Davenport from The Rockford Files at the same time. Works out because her neighbor Marco Salvare, played by Brennan Elliott, shows up next at the flower shop. He owns a bar and was a PI. Oh, and Brooke’s car got hit by another car that may have been involved with the murder that happens soon.

And by soon, I mean now. Someone turns up dead at the Canadian American flag waving motel, Elvis is a suspect, and Brooke and Brennan are on the case. Not for any real good reason. They are really just busy body snoops, which is one of the reasons I kind of like this series already. Normally that would drive me nuts, but it makes them made for each other in this series. I liked that.

With Brooke on the case, she goes on her iPad to read a screenshot of a newspaper article about the murder, which apparently took place on November 2nd, 2016.

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Then she goes to the family album of her photos on the iPad where we see a picture of her husband who may have died the day before during a fishing trip. Either that or she only got around to importing her family photos onto her tablet the day before on November 1st, 2016.

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Next we are introduced to this series’ version of Norman from Murder, She Baked, but he barely exists in this movie. Then there’s a little girl talk back at the flower shop that I’m pretty sure has no customers that come into it. This is followed by a scene where Brooke sits down with a woman who wants a divorce so that we make sure we still remember she was a lawyer. Oh, and something plot related about a Green Thumb Nursery. I couldn’t care less about the plot because just like watching The Big Sleep (1946), you are watching for the Brooke and Brennan back and forth, not the plot. Also, Beau Bridges is in this as a sounding board and in case we need more exposition. Whatever is needed, you can count on Beau. I mean the man got the scroll weapon and he almost beat mega turtle at the end of level three in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for the NES back in 1989. He can do anything.

Time to hit the “Internet” running locally at file:///C:/Users/Mike/Desktop/sc20-Chicago-GreenTumb/results1.html AKA ExploreNet to look up the Green Thumb Nursery.

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The local URL’s keep popping up in the lower left hand corner as a tooltip while she continues to browse the local filesystem for info on the nursery. I wonder who this Mike is? Did she take actor Michael Vincent Dagostino’s laptop? He plays a detective in the movie.

Anyhow, after Brooke reminds us again she was once a lawyer, she walks pass some street signs to make sure we know this shot took place at the intersection of McIntyre Street and Plouffle Street.

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Then Brooke and Brennan visit the Green Thumb Nursery to forward the plot and have some more back and forth. Might as well mention now that Brooke has some weird pseudo-feminist lines in this. You know those lines somebody who thinks they are a feminist, but really are just looking for any excuse to pick a fight over say. There’s only a couple of them, but it’s kind of weird. Maybe she can argue with Calista Flockhart about the semantics of calling her Supergirl.

Now they go on a stakeout! By that I mean they have some humorous lines and talk in exposition dialog. Who cares! All you need to know is that with a little more work they could be fun as a mystery solving couple in this franchise. And no, despite being written by Gary Goldstein, there will be no mention of Brooke’s feet. More plot and dead flowers left for Brooke, then finally Elvis is charged with second degree murder.

Plot, plot, plot. Nursery looks awfully shady and we know that’s where the mystery is going to lead us. Now Brooke and Flower Shop Norman take a trip to Partners Billards & Bowling Center on 361 Main St East.

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After more talking between characters, an inspector shows up and shuts down Brooke’s flower shop. Now it’s personal! I know this because I have almost run out of screenshots. Luckily, I have two more funny things to show before I close up this review. Also, Elvis is found hung dead in his cell. Winding down now.

At the nursery, Brooke noticed that one of the guys carried a gun. She asked him why and he gave a lame answer. No joke, I immediately said to my Dad that he should have said that they carry rare orchids and people try to steal them. So of course she figures out that an orchid bulb is hidden inside a pot of Mum flowers. Yep. This is also when Hallmark popped up to tell us that if we don’t like this series then not to worry cause it can go the way of Wedding Planner Mystery if necessary.

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And now the final goof, and it’s a whopper. She goes online to read an article about expensive orchids. Take a good look.

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And here are the excerpts taken to make that article from an SF Gate article from 1995 by staff writer Jim Doyle:

“U.S. inspectors broke the Kolopaking case in 1993, when they discovered he had sent 60 boxes of rare orchids into the United States via the West Coast clearinghouse for international mail in Oakland.”

“Fisher said the biggest threat to orchids is loss of habitat: Each year, millions of acres of rain forest, where billions of orchids live, are cut or burned down for mining, timber, farming and development.

He added that orchids taken from the wild are now growing in greenhouses and new plants including hybrids are made from them. ‘There are a lot of species in greenhouses that don’t exist in the wild any more due to habitat loss.’

Law enforcement officials insist that smuggling can hasten the death of a species. They contend that over-collection often takes place when a rare orchid’s habitat is nearly destroyed.”

I think Brooke Shields should contact Brooke Burns of the SFPD. Her and The Gourmet Detective should get right on this. This clearly means that Darcy from A Gift Of Miracles who plagiarized her PhD research pitch from an actual WWF report was writing under the pseudonym of Samson O’Doyle three years before the events of that film.

Obviously Brooke does figure it all out and brings the criminals to justice. The mystery is okay at best. It’s not too difficult to follow. Take the fact that the majority of this review is made up of jokes to tell you how enthralling the plot is. There’s a fair amount of setup here so don’t expect to escape a lot of those types of scenes and the exposition dialog that comes with them. The promise here is the stuff between Brooke Shields and Brennan Elliott. I really have a feeling this one is heading for the same bin as My Gal Sunday, Wedding Planner Mystery, and The Mystery Cruise, but if not, then I hope they really polish up the dialog and just drop the unnecessary extra guy. That kind of works on Murder, She Baked, but here I didn’t feel it added anything. Just have Abby and Marco hook up so we can enjoy them being screwball comedy murder mystery solvers. Otherwise, I am not looking forward to a poor man’s Murder, She Baked with touches of The Gourmet Detective.

Grindhouse Classics : “Country Hooker”


Trash Film Guru

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When a couple of big-city musicians head out to the sticks to play a country music gig at a backwater honky-tonk, any number of things could happen, I suppose — but if they’re doing it in 1974, one thing that was almost ubiquitous along the two-lane roads (paved or otherwise) of our always-lusty country were sexy female hitch-hikers.

Unless, ya know, TV and movies have been lying to me all these years. Which is, I suppose, distinctly possible.

Still, County Hooker being a Harry Novak production and all, veracity is of little concern to the proceedings, and so our ostensible “heroes,” Dave (played by Rick Lutze) and Billy (John Paul Jones — no, Zeppelin fans, not that one) do indeed come across a pair of comely young farmer’s daughters named Sue (Rene Bond, in an early, pre-breast implants performance) and Jan (Sandy Dempsey) with their thumbs out, offer the ladies…

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Artist Profile: Gordon Parks (1912 — 2006)


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Self-Portrait by Gordon Parks

Born and raised in segregated Fort Scott, Kansas, Gordon Parks was eleven years old when three white boys tossed him into the Marmaton River, knowing that he couldn’t swim.  Parks ducked underwater until the boys left so that they would not see him make it to land.  When Parks told his teachers that he wanted to go to college, he was told that it would be a waste of money.  After his mother died, a 15 year-old Parks found himself living on the streets and struggling to survive.  He worked as a singer, a piano player, a busboy, and even in a few brothels.  It was while working as a waiter in a railroad dining car that he first saw the photographs in magazines and realized that he wanted to be a photographer.

Parks was 25 when he bought his first camera and soon, he was both documenting everyday African-American life and working as a fashion photographer.  At a time when segregation was still the law of the land, Parks became one of the most prominent and acclaimed photojournalists in America.  Parks would eventually branch out into film directing, becoming the first African-American to direct a major studio film when, in 1969, he directed The Learning Tree for Warner Bros.

Below is a small sampling of Gordon Parks’s work.

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Remembering Chuck Wepner: The Real Rocky (2011, directed by Jeff Feuerzeig)


The Real RockyDuring his professional boxing career, Chuck Wepner had more than a few nicknames.  Some people called him “The Bayonne Brawler,” because he was from Bayonne, New Jersey and he was a street fighter.  After a 1970 loss to Sonny Liston, Wepner became known as “The Bayonne Bleeder” because of the amount of blood that he shed in the ring.  However, after 1976, most people knew Chuck Wepner as “the real Rocky.”

In 1975, the largely unknown and little-regarded Chuck Wepner was given the opportunity to challenge Muhammad Ali for the world’s Heavyweight title.  For the fight, Ali was paid $1.5 million while Wepner received only $10,000.  For Ali, it was supposed to be an easy title defense.  For Wepner, it was not only his biggest payday but also his chance to prove that he belonged in the ring with the champ.

During the fight, Wepner shocked everyone by holding his own.  In the ninth round, Wepner knocked Ali down and it briefly looked as if the Bayonne Bleeder was about to become the world’s Heavyweight champion.  Returning to his corner, Wepner told his manager, “Start the car. We’re going to the bank. We are millionaires!”

His manager replied, “You better turn around.  He’s getting back up and he looks pissed off.”

When Ali got back on his feet, he came at Wepner with everything he had.  Despite getting decisively outboxed and getting his nose broken during the final rounds, Wepner still went 15 rounds with Ali before the referee stopped the fight and declared Ali to be the winner by technical knockout.

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Sitting in a bar and watching the Ali/Wepner fight was a struggling actor named Sylvester Stallone.  A few days after the fight, Stallone wrote the first draft of his screenplay for Rocky and the rest is history.  However, when Wepner would later try to get paid for inspiring one of the biggest box office hits of all time, Stallone claimed that Wepner had not provided any inspiration at all.  Eventually, Wepner took Stallone to court and the case was settled for an undisclosed account.

ESPN Film’s The Real Rocky is an hour-long documentary about Chuck Wepner and his life both before and after Rocky.  Featuring extensive interviews with Wepner himself and a group of veteran boxing journalists, The Real Rocky attempts to answer the two questions that haunt Wepner’s career: Was Chuck Wepner the real Rocky and did Wepner really knock down Muhammad Ali?

After the fight, Muhammad Ali claimed that Wepner did not knock him down but instead that Wepner had tripped him.  In the documentary, Wepner continues to insist that he did knock Ali down and even says that, if asked, Ali will back him up.  However, the documentary features a close-up of a photo that appears to show Wepner throwing a punch while standing on Ali’s foot, which would mean that Ali was right and Wepner did trip him.  The Bayonne Bleeder knocking down Muhammad Ali is a great story but it probably did not happen.

As for whether or not Wepner was the real Rocky, the documentary leaves little doubt that he was.  Along with the obvious parallels between Wepner vs. Ali and Balboa vs. Creed, the documentary reveals that Wepner later fought an exhibition match with wrestler Andre the Giant, a match that was later recreated in Rocky III.  Even after the first movie, Stallone was still borrowing from Wepner’s life.

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After his retirement from the ring, Wepner struggled with drug addiction and briefly did some time in prison.  In the documentary’s most bittersweet moment, Wepner talks about being locked up in East Jersey State Prison, just to discover that Stallone was also at the prison, shooting a movie where he played a prisoner.  After being released, Wepner went back to his job as a liquor salesman, a job that he still holds today.

The Real Rocky is an engrossing documentary that allows Wepner to tell his story in his own words.  With Stallone on the verge of winning an Oscar for his latest (and probaly) last performance as Rocky Balboa, now is a great time to watch this documentary and spare a few thoughts for the real Rocky, Chuck Wepner.

Here Are The 21st Annual Critics’ Choice Awards Winners!


The show was definitely a bit on the dull and overlong side but at least Mad Max: Fury Road won a lot of awards.  Check out a full list of nominees here!

FILM:

BEST PICTURE – “Spotlight”

BEST ACTOR – Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

BEST ACTRESS – Brie Larson, “Room”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR – Sylvester Stallone, “Creed”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS – Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS – Jacob Tremblay, “Room”

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE – “Spotlight”

BEST DIRECTOR – George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY – Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight”

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY – Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, “The Big Short”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY – Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant”

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN – Colin Gibson, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST EDITING – Margaret Sixel, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST COSTUME DESIGN – Jenny Beavan, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST HAIR & MAKEUP“Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS“Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE“Inside Out”

BEST ACTION MOVIE“Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST ACTOR IN AN ACTION MOVIE – Tom Hardy, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST ACTRESS IN AN ACTION MOVIE – Charlize Theron, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

BEST COMEDY“The Big Short”

BEST ACTOR IN A COMEDY – Christian Bale, “The Big Short”

BEST ACTRESS IN A COMEDY – Amy Schumer, “Trainwreck”

BEST SCI-FI/HORROR MOVIE“Ex Machina”

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM – “Son of Saul”

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE“Amy”

BEST SONG – “See You Again”, Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa, “Furious 7”

BEST SCORE – Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”