Pre-Code Confidential #21: Wheeler & Woosley in DIPLOMANIACS (RKO 1933)

cracked rear viewer

Political satire in film ran rampant during the Pre-Code Era. Somewhere between W.C. Fields’s MILLION DOLLAR LEGS and the Marx Brothers’ DUCK SOUP  sits DIPLOMANIACS, Wheeler & Woolsey’s madcap take on war and peace, 1930’s style. It’s purely preposterous, unadulterated farce, and is guaranteed to offend someone, if not everyone.

Let’s get it out of the way right now: DIPLOMANIACS is not politically correct in any way, shape, or form. It’s loaded with racist stereotypes, casting Hugh Herbert as a not-so-wise Chinaman (“It is written that it is written that it is written that it is written”), lambastes Jews, Native Americans, and homosexuals, and portrays women as sex objects (spy Marjorie White is delivered in plastic wrap). A bomb tossed into the peace talks causes everyone to turn blackface, leading to a prolonged minstrel number! If you’re already offended, stop reading… but if you can take the heat, by all…

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Lisa’s Oscar Predictions for July

Well, here we are.  We’re more than halfway through the year and, to be honest, the Oscar forecast seems just as cloudy as ever.

To be honest, I’m starting to get the feeling that this is going to be a year where the Academy is more concerned with sending a message than anything else.  Just as the Emmy nominations were all about sticking it to Trump (as opposed to actually honoring the best that television has to offer), it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Academy try to do the same thing.  That doesn’t mean that the nominees aren’t going to deserve to be nominated, of course.  Instead, it just means that this might be a good year for films with a political agenda.

Anyway, here are my predictions for July!  They’re still pretty random, to be honest.  Be sure to also check out my predictions for January, February, March, April, May, and June!

Best Picture


Black Panther


Boy Erased

The Favourite

First Man

If Beale Street Could Talk

Mary, Queen of Scots

Old Man and The Gun


Best Director

Damien Chazelle for First Man

Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk

Yorgos Lanthimos for The Favourite

Spike Lee for BlackKklansman

Josie Rourke for Mary, Queen of Scots

Best Actor

Christian Bale in Backseat

Steve Carell in Beautiful Boy

Ryan Gosling in First Man

Robert Redford in Old Man and The Gun

John David Washington in BlackKklansman

Best Actress

Glenn Close in The Wife

Felicity Jones in On the Basis of Sex

Keira Knightley in Colette

Rosamund Pike in A Private War

Saoirse Ronan in Mary, Queen of Scots

Best Supporting Actor

Russell Crowe in Boy Erased

Sam Elliott in A Star is Born

Topher Grace in BlackKklansman

Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther

Sam Rockwell in Backseat

Best Supporting Actress

Claire Foy in First Man

Nicole Kidman in Boy Erased

Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk

Margot Robbie in Mary, Queen of Scots

Sissy Spacek in Old Man and the Gun

Music Video of the Day: I Wanna Sex You Up by Color Me Badd (1991, directed by ????)

For today’s music video of the day, we have the song that was ranked #40 on Blender’s list of the 50 Worst Songs Ever.  From Color Me Badd (which I guess earned that extra d by being extra bad), here’s I Wanna Sex You Up.

Let’s break it down.

0:01 — “To the tick tock ya don’t stop” is sampled from La Di Da Di by Doug E. Fresh.

0:03 — Now, we meet the band, who appear to be Kenny G and his roadies.

0:15 — Kenny G and the boys, out for a stroll.

0:22 — “Yes, I will watch my video cassettes.”  Are we watching Swedish porn now?

0:32 — This song was released in 1991, coming at the tail end of late 80s pop but before the start of the grunge revolution.

0:41 — “We’re dancing and we’re spinning!  And now, we’re spinning and we’re dancing!”

0:47 — When listening to the vocals, take a moment to consider that this song came out the same year as Smells Like Teen Spirit and you’ll understand why Nirvana saved the music industry from itself.

0:55 — Kenny G. proves the chivalry is not dead.

1:09 — “Did I ever tell you guys my limo story?”

1:32 — 1991 was also the year that Anita Hill accused her former boss, Clarence Thomas, of sexual harassment.

1:39 — “Are you guys sure you don’t want to hear my limo story?”

1:47 — Kenny G’s trapped in an elevator!

2:16 — The community college art show is always the perfect place to pick up chicks.

2:20 — Meanwhile, Kenny G is still trapped in the elevator.

2:31 — “Doesn’t anyone want to hear about my limo ride?  Anyone?”

2:42 — Where’s your sax now, Kenny?

2:54 — She secretly taped them!?  Where are they, Russia!?

2:58 — She’s not the most discreet voyeur.

3:08 — “Come on, guys!  Just like we practiced!”

3:12 — Kenny G doesn’t need his sax to make beautiful music.

3:17 — Vladimer will be pleased.

3:28 — Woo ew ooo ew!

3:48 — “Nirvana?  What’s that?”