Scenes I Love: Oh my God! Teen Witch!

So, I’ve never actually sat through the 1989 movie Teen Witch but, thanks largely to Val and her review of the second Nightmare On Elm Street film, I have sat through several YouTube clips.  Fortunately, Teen Witch is going to be coming to Netflix in February so I’ll be able to get some context to go along with the two scenes below.

First off, there’s this scene featuring a bunch of suburban teenagers telling each other to “top that!”  It’s hard to know where to start with this scene.  I’ve watched it a countless number of times and I’m still not quite sure what to make of it.  The main theme seems to be that teenagers in the 80s were incredibly lame but I’ve seen Fast Times At Ridgemont High, The Breakfast Club, and Say Anything so I know that can’t be totally true.

Another odd thing about this clip is that looking at the guy wearing the suspenders fills me with an indescribable rage.  If I ever ran into the actor, I would probably end up yelling at him, freaking him out, and then feeling really bad about it afterwards.

ANYWAY!  Here’s the Top That scene from Teen Witch!  It’s a scene that I love despite myself:

And here’s the second scene from Teen Witch that I love, the I Like Boys musical number.  Seriously, if I didn’t know this was a low-budget teen movie from the 80s, I would think it was a documentary filmed at J.J. Pearce High School.

I’ll be so happy once February arrives and I will finally be able to put these two scenes into the larger context that is Teen Witch.

A Few Thoughts On … The X-Files 10.2 “Founder’s Mutation”


Last night, I promised that I wait for the second episode of The X-Files revival before passing too much judgment on the series as a whole.  One reason why that was an easy promise to make was that the 2nd episode was scheduled to air less than 24 hours after the first one.  And since I’m coming down with a cold, I was home and able to watch that 2nd episode.

The 2nd episode was a definite improvement over the first.  For one thing, it told an actual story that felt like more than just a collection of hastily compiled scenes.  There were still some weaknesses, though I’ve been told that some people consider these weaknesses to be strengths.  For instance, I will never be a fan of the muttering.  I understand that this is a show about secrets and conspiracies and that people dealing with secrets often speak in low voices but seriously, I could not hear about half of the dialogue.  Beyond that, the episode still suffered from some of the bad editing that marred My Struggle.  With the exception of Mulder’s fantasy about his son, the final few minutes of the show especially felt a bit hasty and abrupt.

There were other moments when I was painfully aware that this was a revival of a show that went off the air 14 years ago.  The opening credits featured pictures of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson from the original series and it was a bit jarring to realize just how much these two have aged over the past decade.  As I watched Mulder and Scully investigating a mysterious death and a mad scientist, it was hard not to notice that both of them seemed to be moving a bit slower than they did in the past.

And then there was the scene in which a potential witness mistook Mulder for being gay.  That scene felt very 1999.

But otherwise, the 2nd episode worked pretty well.  It was nothing great but it had a few creepy moments and the scene in the pool totally freaked me out.  (Not to mention the sheer length of the blade the Scully pulled out of that guy’s ear.)  If nothing else, it seems to indicate that, should The X-Files revival go on past these 6 episodes, it will be a solid enough show.  It may never be great but it will be entertaining enough.

As for my favorite part of tonight’s episode, it was when Scully and then Mulder imagined what would have happened if they hadn’t given their son William up for adoption.  (On twitter, I suggested that the baby should be called Sculder but apparently, everyone’s sticking with William.)  It was interesting to note that both Scully and Mulder fantasized about having an ideal relationship with their son but, in both cases, that fantasy ended with a moment of sudden terror.  If nothing else, it showed the psychological effects of not being able to trust anyone or anything.

William will probably show up before this season ends.  I imagine it will be in the final episode and things will probably wrap up with one of those open-ended finales that will make fans of the show scream, “Bring back The X-Files!  We promise we’ll buy anything advertised during the show!”

Anyway, based on the 2nd episode, I would say The X-Files has earned its revival.

A Few Thoughts on … Lucifer 1.1 (“The Pilot”)


So, earlier tonight, I watched the first episode Lucifer.  Lucifer is the new cop show on Fox.  It’s about an eccentric crime solver who uses unorthodox methods to solve crimes and his partner, with whom he shares sexual tension and the occasional sardonic aside.  It sounds a lot like Elementary, Castle, the X-Files revival, and a whole lot of other TV shows of the past, present, and future as well.

The main difference between Lucifer and those other shows is that the title character is the Devil.  That’s right.  The Devil has gone from starring in Milton’s Paradise Lost to working with the LAPD to solve crimes.

(In high school, one of my best friends read Paradise Lost and ended up getting a huge crush on Satan.  I wonder if she watched Lucifer tonight.)

From what I understand, Lucifer is loosely based on a comic book series in which Lucifer gets bored with ruling Hell and comes to Los Angeles, where he runs a piano bar and spends a lot of time considering whether or not there really is such a thing as free will.  And that actually sounds pretty interesting.  That sounds like it would make for an edgy, thought-provoking series.

What is not particularly interesting is the idea that Lucifer would come to Los Angeles, open a piano bar, and then decide to spend his time helping the LAPD solve crimes.  It really sounds like the punchline to an overtold joke, doesn’t it?  “She’s a non-nonsense detective.  He’s the Prince of Darkness.  Together, they fight crime.”

There were a few things that I did like about the pilot.  I liked the fact that it opened and closed with No Rest For The Wicked, even though that song’s going to be stuck in my head for the next few days.  I thought Lauren German did a pretty good job as Detective Chloe Dancer.  There were a few scenes — mostly the ones that featured Lucifer hanging out at his piano bar — that were shot and acted in a entertainingly over-the-top style.  I like the idea that Lucifer can terrify people whenever he feels like it.  I think Tom Ellis could be really good in the title role but not if the series insists on straight-jacketing him into a typical “eccentric detective” role.

My advice to this show?  Get Chloe Dancer out of the LAPD as quickly as possible.  The character has potential and I can easily imagine Lauren German and Tom Ellis developing a really amazing chemistry but having to deal with a case-a-week format is going to rob this show of everything that could potentially make it special.  So, get Chloe off of the LAPD.  Have her work as a head of security for Lucifer’s bar or something.  Keep them together but forget about solving crimes.  Instead, allow Lucifer to truly explore the philosophical and theological concepts that were merely hinted at in the pilot.  It might not win the show a huge audience but it will win it a loyal and intelligent audience.  At the very least, it should be enough to score 6 seasons and a movie.

Lucifer has potential but not as a cop show.

Navy Film Review #2: The Sailor and the Seagull (1949, dir. John Hubley)


Been a couple of months since I did my last Navy Film Review so lets hammer out a short one before dealing with Hallmark’s unleashing of a man named Mr. Darcy.

You may recall that last time we took a look at how to unnecessarily pad out your movie so that by the time the plot you promised happens it’s way too little too late. That being the Greek film Alice In The Navy. This time around we have a short from 1949 made by the United States Navy to try and get sailors to re-enlist after WWII. It’s got everything. Talking animals, green skinned bartenders, and tits. Unfortunately, there is no perky blonde running around in pretty outfits. That is one thing Alice In The Navy did have going for it.


The movie starts off by telling me it is restricted before the fact that it’s a United States Navy Training Film. Then we meet one of the stars of the film. It’s McGinty!


No, not that McGinty. He was still tending bar in 1949. That joke is for you Gary. Our resident Hollywood Snob.


This is just plain old sailor McGinty. We start off by seeing that a sailing life looks rather fun. Although I’m pretty sure this singing sailor was on loan from the Greek navy.


But McGinty is not happy like his fellow sailors.


He wants to be a civilian and make some real dough. They only pay him “90 lousy bucks” in the navy. That’s when the talking seagull shows up of course to tell him he should put that money to good use and get drunk!


By the way, the seagull is voiced by veteran voice actor Daws Butler.

So it’s off to get drunk. That is after sneaking past some S.P. Then he orders a “double zombie and scotch chaser”, but oh no!


It’s either E~3 from E~3: The Extra Testicle (1985) or the Hare Krishna zombie from Dawn Of The Dead (1978). Take your pick.


Now McGinty shares how it really is in the navy. By that I mean that he thinks it’s like being on a slave ship from Ben-Hur (1959) while a guy who sounds like Hitler whips you. Well, one minute you’re a drinking and complaining, then one of those damn dream sequences starts on you.



Hmmm… I see his problem. He should have joined the WAVES. I mean if Cary Grant could be a war bride and Donald O’Connor could join the WACS with a talking mule, then surely this guy could have pulled it off. Of course women were integrated into the regular navy by 1949 so actually I don’t see his problem here.

This is only a dream though, but he’s still in luck because the talking seagull shows up again to magically transport him to civilian life. This is when this recruitment video starts to lose me. The first thing we learn about civilian life is that you have to wake up for work.


As we all know, the navy lets you sleep to your hearts content and simply wake up at any hour you please. He also has to shave because civilian life doesn’t approve of beards unlike the navy. The navy encourages them and later would require it’s female sailors to never shave their legs nor their armpits. All totally true bullshit. Then it’s off to work on a crowded bus.


Okay, I will give them this. Not everyone in the Navy served on a claustrophobic submarine such as in Das Boot (1981). Then he has to clock in because the navy doesn’t keep track of that sort of thing ever.


Now he has to work on an assembly line. Could be worse. Those could be chocolates like Lucy had to deal with. I like the “Positively No Smoking” sign. This part is clearly trying to evoke memories in the sailors watching it of adventures that aren’t like this while apparently also trying to remind them that the navy lets them smoke like chimneys I guess.


Then it’s off to the Cafeteria to wait in line. I’ve never served, but I seriously doubt that lines like this don’t exist on naval vessels.

Now it’s pay day! His paycheck is 300 bucks. Well that is till it’s put through the “Little Gem Deductor”.


Now he gets pulled into an insurance office to discover that it’s going to cost him to retire. Apparently, he could retire for free in the navy. How does that work? The only way that’s actually possible is if by retire they mean a bullet to the head. Regardless, now he has to go shopping.


I like that he goes into all the shops except the one with the big sign that says “Drugs” on it.

After paying rent, it’s back to his room to bitch about civilian life to the talking seagull. By that I mean he threatens to kill the seagull.


But in the dark, the seagull reminds him that he can just re-enlist within 90 days. That’s when the seagull checks off McGinty.


Now McGinty is back swabbing the deck when that damn seagull shows up again. That’s when the seagull drops the bomb on McGinty.


He works for the U.S. Navy! I always knew they were training talking seagulls in secret. Clearly, that’s why it said this video was “Restricted”.

And thus ends this short film with the message “Keep the Fleet to Keep the Peace”. I would love to know how successful this was. I know why they spend their time trying to make civilian life sound terrible because their audience was sailors who already knew how it actually was to serve in the navy at the time. However, notice that they make sure to show this guy being cast out of a family of sailors into a world where he is all alone. I would think that people who were in the navy because of the family and structure were probably already going to re-enlist. As for the one’s for whom family and structure were either not important or already in their civilian life, I can’t see this convincing any of them to stay. It just seems like a video that ultimately isn’t really for anyone. Still, it was fun to watch, and here it is if you want to see it yourself.

Artist Profile: William George (1930– )

William George is an illustrator who began his career in the 1950s, studying under Norman Rockwell and painting covers for magazines like Argosy and Cavalier.  He also painted a countless number of paperback crime and westerns covers.  He remains active, with his work hanging in art galleries around the world and doing covers for Hard Case Crime.

A Town of Masks

A Town of Masks

Haunted Lady

Haunted Lady

Poisons Unknown


The Bold Saboteurs

The Bold Saboteurs

The Canvas Coffin

The Deadly Mermaid

The Deadly Mermaid

The Natural

Under the Badge