Secret Agent Double-O Dino: THE SILENCERS (Columbia 1966)


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Out of all the James Bond-inspired spy spoofs made in the Swingin’ 60’s, one of the most popular was Dean Martin’s Matt Helm series. Based on the novels of Donald Hamilton, the films bore little resemblance to their literary counterparts, instead relying on Dino’s Booze & Girlies Rat Pack Vegas persona. First up was 1966’s THE SILENCERS, chock full of gadgets, karate chops, and beautiful babes, with sexual innuendoes by the truckload.

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Our Man Matt is a semi-retired agent of ICE (Intelligence and Counter-Espionage) living in a Playboy Mansion-style pad, and working as a globe-trotting photographer. He’s luxuriating in his bubble bath pool with sexy secretary Lovey Kravezit (“Lovey Kravezit? Oh that’s some kinda name!”) when former boss Mac Donald calls. Evil spy organization Big O (Bureau for International Government and Order) is once again plotting world domination, and the reluctant Helm is pulled back into service.

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Matt is teamed with his former partner Tina…

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Film Review: Jane Got A Gun (dir by Gavin O’Connor)


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Jane Got A Gun, which was released with little fanfare in January and is now available on Netflix, could just as easily have been called This Bishop Boys Are Coming And Who Gives A Fuck?

In fact, I like that title better than Jane Got A Gun.  As far as I’m concerned, I am no longer reviewing Jane Got A Gun.  Instead, I am going to tell you about a film called The Bishop Boys Are Coming And Who Gives A Fuck?

The film is a western, taking place shortly after the end of the Civil War.  (Isn’t it interesting how every western recently produced has taken place shortly after the Civil War?  Way to avoid awkward historical truths, Hollywood.)  Jane (Natalie Portman) lives on an isolated farm, with her daughter and her husband, Bill Hammond (Noah Emmerich, who is wasted both figuratively and literally).  Hammond used to be an outlaw but now, he’s a pretty good guy.  But the Bishop Boys are still after him!

Who are the Bishop Boys?

Well, John Bishop is Ewan McGregor.  He’s an evil businessman and a bounty hunter and he used to be in love with Jane but now it seems that he mostly just wants to collect the bounty that’s on Hammond’s head.  I love Ewan McGregor but, as we all should have learned from his performance in Haywire, he doesn’t make the most convincing villain.  McGregor is one of those actors who radiates an inner humanity.  No actor falls in love as convincingly as Ewan McGregor.  That’s what makes him a compelling actor but it also means that he’s totally miscast as a bounty hunting sociopath.

Anyway, the Bishop Boys end up putting five bullets in Hammond so he goes home to die.  “The Bishop Boys are coming,” he says and Jane has to prepare for the upcoming siege.  Fortunately, her surly neighbor, Dan (Joel Edgerton, who seems to be bored with the whole thing), just happens to be her former fiancée and he’s still in love with her, though he tries to hide his love behind bitterness and pithy one-liners.  It also turns out that Dan was a hero in the Civil War but he’s weary of violence.

Don’t worry, though!  Dan is still willing to kill.  After all, not much would happen in the movie if Dan wasn’t willing to shoot people…

Anyway, The Bishop Boys Are Coming And Who Gives A Fuck only lasts for 98 minutes but there’s a lot of hints that there was originally supposed to be a lot more to the movie than actually showed up on screen.  We get a few lengthy flashbacks, all of which hint at a story that actually explores what it means to be a woman in a patriarchal society and which, if properly handled, would have made The Bishop Boys Are Coming And Who Gives A Fuck the feminist western that it’s attempting to be.  Watching this movie, you get the feeling that a lot of the original storyline was either not filmed or left on the cutting room floor.

To be honest, I really wanted this to be a great movie or, at the very least, a decent showcase for Natalie Portman, who was one of my favorite actresses even before Black Swan.  However, I officially gave up on this film after 50 minutes.  That was around the time that Dan started to ramble about life, death, and doin’ the ratt thang.   It was all just so clichéd and the rest of the film wasn’t any better.

The Bishop Boys Are Coming And Who Gives A Fuck? did receive some attention because its screenplay was included in the Black List, which claims to be an annual survey of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood.  The Black List is one of the greatest con jobs ever perpetrated by the film industry.  While it’s true that American Hustle and The King’s Speech appeared on the Black List, a typical Black List screenplay usually turns out to be something like The Beaver, Broken City, or Cedar Rapids.  You can add The Bishop Boys Are Coming And Who Gives A Fuck? to the long line of Black List scripts that became utterly forgettable movies.

Back to School Part II #18: Not My Kid (dir by Michael Tuchner)


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Not My Kid, a made-for-television from 1985, opens with 15 year-old Susan Bower (Viveka Davis) in a car with her friends.  They’re drunk.  They’re stoned.  They’re laughing.  And soon, they’re screaming as the driver loses control and the car ends up getting overturned!  (I’ve had that happen before.  It wasn’t fun but I survived with only a few cuts and bruises.)  Susan isn’t seriously hurt but, at the hospital, it’s discovered that she has alcohol and drugs in her bloodstream.

“NOT MY KID!” her father, surgeon Frank Bower (George Segal), declares.

“NOT MY KID!” her mother, Helen Bower (Stockard Channing, totally wasted in a thinly written role), agrees.

“Totally your kid!” her younger sister, Kelly (Christa Denton), says before then revealing where Susan hides her drugs.  This leads to Kelly getting beaten up by Susan and her drug addict boyfriend, Ricky (Tate Fuckin’ Donavon, decades before playing a hostage in Argo.).

Anyway, neither Frank nor Helen want to admit that Susan has a drug problem so instead, they go to see a smug family counselor who tells them that they are both being too hard on their daughter and that they need to just let Susan be Susan.  That sounds like a good (and easy) plan but then Susan runs away and disappears for two days.  After she’s finally found, stoned and hiding out in the family’s boat, her parents finally decide to send her to rehab.

The rehab is run by Dr. Royce.  Dr. Royce is played by Andrew Robinson and it took me a while to recognize him as being the same actor who played the Scorpio Killer in Dirty Harry.  Perhaps that explains why Dr. Royce came across as being such a creepy character.  As I watched this movie, I kept waiting for the big reveal where Dr. Royce would turn out to be a murderer or something.  That never happened, of course.  In the world of Not My Kid, the harsh and confrontational Dr. Royce is the only thing keeping the entire teenage population for shooting up heroin.

The majority of the film takes place at the rehab and it gets annoying pretty quickly.  This is one of those places where everything is done as a group activity.  Whenever someone says something, everyone in the group replies with, “We love you, so-and-so.”  When Susan doesn’t act properly ashamed of herself, the group gangs up on her.  “You’re a phony!” someone says.  “You’re full of crap!” another person adds.  “We love you, Susan,” the group chants.

AGCK!  Seriously, the rehab scenes totally freaked me out because it came across less like therapy and more like brainwashing.  I spent the entire movie waiting for Susan to escape and when she did, I was happy for her.  She may have been a self-destructive drug addict but at least wasn’t a mindless zombie like everyone else in the movie!  But then she ended up getting caught by her father and taken back to the rehab.

Meanwhile, her parents are going through therapy as well.  Again, it’s all group therapy.  When Frank tries to talk about how Susan’s behavior makes him feel, someone says, “You’re a phony!’  Another person adds, “You’re full of crap!”  And the group chants, “We love you, Frank.”  Okay, to be honest, I’m taking some dramatic license with the dialogue here but hopefully, you get the general idea.

I mean, seriously — I understand that I was supposed to be like, “Yay rehab!” while watching the movie but the rehab came across more like some sort of creepy cult.  It reminded me of both a Canadian film called, Ticket To Heaven and a Texas film called Split Image.  As I watched Not My Kid, I kept waiting for James Woods to show up as a cult deprogrammer.

Anyway, don’t worry.  Everything turns out well in the end.  This was a made-for-TV movie, after all.  Not My Kid is way too heavy-handed for its own good and it lacks a certain self-awareness.  On a more positive note, George Segal does a good job in the role of Frank.

You can watch Not My Kid below!

Music Video of the Day: She Bop by Cyndi Lauper (1984, dir. Edd Griles)


I think this music video can speak for itself, and doesn’t need my help.

I will bring up the crew though.

Director Edd Griles did some of Lauper’s most famous music videos including Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. He was also the executive producer on this one.

Roz Block was a producer on this video. This seems to be the only video Block did.

Mike Negrin shot the video. He seems to have worked primarily on Billy Joel videos, but did a few others as well. Since then, he has mainly done television, which included shooting The Spirit of Christmas (2015) that Lisa reviewed last year.

Norman C. Smith was the editor on this, and only seemed to have edited one other music video, which was Lauper’s Time After Time. According to IMDb he hasn’t done much, but that does include editing Central Park Drifter/Graveyard Shift (1987) that Lisa reviewed last year.

If you look closely then you’ll see wrestler “Captain” Lou Albano who played her father in the music video for Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. I’ll bet Catrine Dominique who played her mom in that video is in here somewhere too, but I’m not 100% sure.

Enjoy!