Music Video of the Day: Destroyer by Saint Motel (2017, dir by Alan Smithee)


Much as I do with the video for their song My Type, I love the retro feel of this video for Saint Motel’s Destroyer.

The credited director is Alan Smithee.  Mr. Smithee has had quite a career in the world of music videos.  He has been credited with directing 73 videos and editing 19 more.  He also has 8 cinematography credits and 2 writing credits.  That’s quite prolific!

Of course, Alan Smithee doesn’t actually exist.  Historically, the Smithee named was used by film directors who felt that their creative vision had been fatally compromised by philistine producers.  Though it’s been a while since Alan Smithee directed a film, it appears that he’s found a second life in the music industry.

Good for him!

Enjoy!

Documentary Sidebar : “Future Shock! The Story Of 2000AD”


Trash Film Guru

Okay, fair enough, it took me awhile, but now that Paul Goodwin’s 2014 documentary Future Shock! The Story Of 2000 AD is available for streaming on Amazon Prime (and still easy enough to find on DVD and Blu-ray, should you desire to go that route) I had precisely zero excuse to delay watching it any further — and, truth be told, now that I’ve seen it, I’m kicking myself for having waited to long.

I’d heard pretty much nothing but good things, of course, and was fully expecting that the history of the self-appointed “Galaxy’s Greatest Comic” would make for the Galaxy’s Greatest Comics Documentary, but you know how expectations go — they’re lived up to so seldom that when it happens, it’s a damn pleasant surprise. I had another major concern about the endeavor, though, as well, one that was amplified by the fact that I saw no mention…

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Music Video of the Day: Favorite Transgressions by Sleigh Bells (2018, dir by Derek Miller)


My past is littered with the bones of men
Who were fools enough to sleep on me
A missionary in a sea of mercenaries, who knows what the past will bring?

My favorite transgressions
Lost track of the light
My favorite transgressions
Lost track of the light

From the edge of a life in the present tense
I need something that resembles a defense

My past is littered with the bones of men
Who were fools enough to sleep on me
No reprieve, no redemption
No reprieve, no redemption

No reprieve, no redemption
No reprieve, no redemption

Hideous words for hideous things
How dare you, how embarrassing
When I wanna get cut in the middle of the night, well, I know how to clip the wings

Hideous words for hideous things
How dare you, how embarrassing
When I wanna get cut in the middle of the night, well, I know how to clip the wings

(Favorite Transgressions by Derek E. Miller and Alexis Krauss)

Play it loud and enjoy!

4 Film Reviews: Bridge To Silence, The Chocolate War, Kiss The Bride, Wedding Daze


Last week, I watched six films on This TV.

Which TV?  No, This TV!  It’s one of my favorite channels.  It’s not just that they show a lot of movies.  It’s also that they frequently show movies that are new to me.  For instance, last week, This TV introduced me to both Prison Planet and Cherry 2000.

Here are four other films, two good and two not so good, that This TV introduced to me last week.

First up, we have 1989’s Bridge to Silence.

Directed by Karen Arthur, Bridge To Silence was a made-for-TV movie.  Lee Remick plays Marge Duffield, who has a strained relationship with her deaf daughter, Peggy (Marlee Matlin).  After Peggy’s husband is killed in a traffic accident, Peggy has a nervous breakdown.  Marge and her husband, Al (Josef Sommer) take care of Peggy’s daughter, Lisa, while Peggy is recovering.  However, even as Peggy gets better, Marge still doesn’t feel that she can raise her daughter so Marge files a lawsuit to be named Lisa’s legal guardian.  While all of this is going on, Peggy is starring in a college production of The Glass Menagerie and pursuing a tentative romance with the play’s director (Michael O’Keefe).

Bridge to Silence is one of those overwritten but heartfelt melodramas that just doesn’t work.  With the exception of Marlee Matlin, the cast struggles with the overwrought script.  (Michael O’Keefe, in particular, appears to be miserable.)  The film’s biggest mistake is that it relies too much on that production of The Glass Menagerie, which is Tennessee Williams’s worst play and tends to be annoying even when it’s merely used as a plot device.  There’s only so many times that you can hear the play’s director refer to Peggy as being “Blue Roses” before you just want rip your hair out.

Far more enjoyable was 1988’s The Chocolate War.

Directed by Keith Gordon, The Chocolate War is a satirical look at conformity, popularity, rebellion, and chocolate at a Catholic boys school.  After the manipulative Brother Leon accidentally purchases too much chocolate for the school’s annual sale, he appeals to one of his students, Archie Costello (Wallace Langham), to help him make the money back.  Archie, who is just as manipulative as Leon, is the leader of a secret society known as the Vigils.  However, Archie and Leon’s attempt to manipulate the students runs into a roadblack when a new student, Jerry Renault (Illan Mitchell-Smith) refuses to sell any chocolates at all.  From there, things get progressively more complicated as Archie tries to break Jerry, Jerry continues to stand up for his freedom, and Leon … well, who knows what Leon is thinking?

The Chocolate War was an enjoyable and stylish film, one that featured a great soundtrack and a subtext about rebellion and conformity that still feels relevant.  John Glover and Wallace Langham both gave great performances as two master manipulators.

I also enjoyed the 2002 film, Kiss The Bride.

Kiss The Bride tells the story of a big Italian family, four sisters, and a wedding.  Everyone brings their own personal drama to the big day but ultimately, what matters is that family sticks together.  Directed by Vanessa Parise, Kiss The Bride featured believable and naturalistic performances from Amanda Detmer, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Brooke Langton, Monet Mazur, and Parise herself.

I have to admit that one reason why I liked this film is because it was about a big Italian family and it featured four sisters.  I’m the youngest of four sisters and, watching the film, I was reminded of my own big Irish-Italian family.  The movie just got everything right.

And then finally, there was 2006’s Wedding Daze.

Wedding Daze is a romantic “comedy.”  Anderson (Jason Biggs) asks his girlfriend to marry him, just to have her drop dead from shock.  Anderson’s best friend is afraid that Anderson will never get over his dead girlfriend and begs Anderson to not give up on love.  Anderson attempts to humor his friend by asking a complete stranger, a waitress named Katie (Isla Fisher), to marry him.  To everyone’s shock, Katie says yes.

From the get go, there are some obvious problems with this film’s problem.  Even if you accept that idea that Katie would say yes to Anderson, you also have to be willing to accept the idea that Anderson wouldn’t just say, “No, I was just joking.”  That said, the idea does have some comic potential.  You could imagine an actor like Cary Grant doing wonders with this premise in the 30s.  Unfortunately, Jason Biggs is no Cary Grant and the film’s director, comedian Michael Ian Black, is no Leo McCarey.  In the end, the entire film is such a misjudged failure that you can’t help but feel that Anderson’s ex was lucky to die before getting too involved in any of it.

Lisa’s Week in Review — 1/22/18 — 1/28/18


Another week has come to a close!  It wasn’t a bad week.  I did my annual “If Lisa Had All The Power” post, which is something that I look forward to doing every year.  On Tuesday, the Oscar nominations were announced with a minimum amount of drama.  The Sundance Film Festival came and went.  I watched and reviewed a lot of good movies.  I cut back on watching all of the true crime stations.  Somehow, I only managed to finish reading one novel this week.  I’m a bit disappointed in myself for that.  Still, tomorrow is another week and, overall, my January has kicked ass!

Here’s what I accomplished this week.

Movies That I Watched

  1. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
  2. Better Off Dead (1985)
  3. Blue Caprice (2013)
  4. Bridge to Silence (1989)
  5. Casino (1995)
  6. Cherry 2000 (1987)
  7. The Chocolate War (1988)
  8. Empire (1964)
  9. A Ghost Story (2017)
  10. Halloween (1978)
  11. Halloween (2007)
  12. Hugo (2011)
  13. Kiss the Bride (2002)
  14. The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane (1976)
  15. The Little Hours (2017)
  16. Marshall (2017)
  17. Maze Runner: The Death Cure (2018)
  18. Pride and Prejudice (1940)
  19. Prison Planet (1992)
  20. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  21. Rolling Thunder (1977)
  22. sex, lies, and videotape (1989)
  23. Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
  24. The Walk (2015)
  25. Wedding Daze (2006)
  26. You Are The One (1985)

TV Shows That I Watched

  1. 60 Days In
  2. The 60th Annual Grammy Awards
  3. The Alienist
  4. The Amazing Race 30
  5. American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace
  6. The Bachelor 22
  7. Bull — The Patron Saint of the Snarkalecs, actor Gerald Webb, was in last week’s episode!
  8. Dance Moms
  9. Degrassi
  10. Dr. Phil
  11. Flight of the Conchords
  12. Forensic Files
  13. Ghost Whisperer
  14. Hell’s Kitchen 17
  15. Intervention
  16. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  17. King of the Hill
  18. The Magicians
  19. Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD
  20. Mosiac
  21. Project Runway All-Stars
  22. Sabrina, The Teenage Witch
  23. Undercover High
  24. Wac0
  25. The X-Files

 

Books That I Read

(Oh my God!  I only finished one book this week!  Seriously, I am so embarrassed.  What the Hell was I doing!?  Oh well, I’ll pick up the pace this upcoming week and never again will I have such a paltry list to offer up on Sunday.  I’m reading From Russia With Love right now.)

  1. Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming (1956)

Music That I Listened T0

  1. Adi Ulmansky
  2. The Animals
  3. Avicii
  4. The Chemical Brothers
  5. Cloud Control
  6. Coldplay
  7. Cornelius
  8. Crud
  9. The Crystal Method
  10. David Bowie
  11. Fever Ray
  12. FLOODS
  13. Fun Lovin Criminals
  14. Goblin
  15. Great Grandpa
  16. High Contrast
  17. Jakalope
  18. Michael Fredo
  19. The Micronaut
  20. Muse
  21. Nat & Alex Wolff
  22. Phantogram
  23. Ponette
  24. Saint Motel
  25. Sally Dige
  26. Sleigh Bells
  27. Stars
  28. Taylor Swift
  29. The Ting Tings
  30. Tomoyasu Hotei

Links From Last Week

  1. Steven Spielberg is remaking West Side Story?  As proof of my new posititve attitude, just consider the fact that I’m not throwing a fit over this.  In fact, I’m actually kind of looking forward to seeing how Spielberg would handle directing a musical.
  2. Over on AwardsWatch, check out Erik Anderson’s thoughts on the Oscar nominations!
  3. In case you’re already making plans for the 4th of July, All of Beer offers up suggestions on How To Celebrate The Fourth of July When You’re Abroad And Bored AF.
  4. Check out this list of The Greatest Grammy Snubs Of All Time!
  5. At some point, in the future, I’m going to start a site where I’m going to review every episode of Degrassi.  Until then, check out Degrassi TNG Guy’s reviews!  This week, he reviewed one of my favorite episodes, season 4’s Mercy Street!
  6. From my sister’s photography blog, check out the fog!

Links From The Site

  1. I posted what I would have nominated for the Oscars if I had all the power!
  2. Erin took a look at the work of artist Carl Bobertz.
  3. Gary reviewed Million Dollar Legs, Ski Partyand Road to Morocco.  He also profiled character actor Jack Norton!
  4. Jeff paid tribute to the late Mark E. Smith.
  5. Ryan reviewed The Big Me Book and shared his weekly reading round-up.

Have a great week everyone!

(Curious to see how last week went?  Click here!)

Catching Up With The Films of 2017: The Little Hours (dir by Jeff Baena)


You don’t necessarily have to be from a Catholic background to find The Little Hours to be hilarious but it probably helps.  You also don’t have to be an expert in satirical Italian literature from the Medieval era but, again, it probably helps.  Of course, what helps the most is to have a good sense of humor.

Technically, The Little Hours is based on The Decameron, though not even that famously bawdy  book featured dialogue like, “Don’t fucking talk to us!” and “Stop fucking looking at us!”  Both of those lines are delivered by Aubrey Plaza, who plays a nun in a medieval convent.  The fact that Plaza is playing a nun tells you a lot about the humor in The Little Hours.  The sets and the costumes are meticulously accurate. It’s easy to imagine that, if you got your hands on a time machine and traveled back to the Fourteenth Century, what you would see would look a lot like The Little Hours.  But the dialogue and the attitudes are all straight from the 21st century.

The Little Hours tells the story of three nuns and the people who get in their way.  Aubrey Plaza plays Sister Fernanda, the sarcastic nun who is willing to beat up anyone who looks at her for too long.  Ginerva (Kate Micucci) is the repressed nun who can’t wait to get everyone else in trouble.  Alessandra (Alison Brie) is the nun who is only a nun because her father (Paul Reiser) is making her.

When you’re bored and stuck in a convent, you find interesting ways to keep yourself amused.  For instance, gossip is always a fun way to pass the time.  Or you can get drunk on communion wine.  If you get really bored, you can always join the local coven and dance around a fire.  Or you can lust after the new handyman, a handsome deaf-mute named Massetto (Dave Franco).  Of course, Massetto isn’t really a deaf-mute.  He’s just pretending because he doesn’t want to be executed for having sex with his former master’s wife.  Life was never easy in medieval Italy.

The film may be based on The Decameron but all of the dialogue was improved.  Whenever I hear that anything’s been improvised, I always know that the end result is either going to be hilarious or it’s simply going to be unbearable.  Fortunately, the cast of The Little Hours is full of comedic pros.  They all play off of each other well.  Each line of dialogue seems like a challenge being delivered by both the character and the performer.  Behind every joke is a subtext of “Try to top this.”  Supporting roles are played by everyone from Molly Shannon to Nick Offerman to John C. Reilly.  Fred Armisen plays the Bishop who has the unenviable task of trying to keep straight everything that’s happened and his display of exasperation is absolutely brilliant.

As you can probably guess, I enjoyed The Little Hours.  It’s probably not a film for everyone.  As I said, it helps to not only have a Catholic background but to also have a sense of humor about it.  But, for those in the right mood, it’s a hilarious film.