Blues On The Downbeat: ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW (United Artists 1959)

cracked rear viewer

Desperate men commit desperate acts, and the three protagonists of ODDS AGAINST TOMORROW are desperate indeed in this late entry in the film noir cycle. This is a powerful film that adds social commentary to the usual crime and it’s consequences plot by tainting one of the protagonists with the brush of racism. Robert Wise, who sharpened his skills in the RKO editing room, directs the film in a neo-realistic style, leaving the studio confines for the most part behind, and the result is a starkly lit film where the shadows of noir only dominate at night.

But more on Wise later… first, let’s meet our three anti-heroes. We see Earle Slater (Robert Ryan ) walking down a New York street bathed in an eerie white glow (Wise used infra-red film to achieve the effect). Slater’s a fish out of water, a transplanted Southerner drifted North, a loser and loose cannon…

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Scenes That I Love: Happy Birthday, Sam Elliott!

Today is the 73rd birthday of the perennially underrated actor, Sam Elliott!

Sam’s been acting for longer than I’ve been alive.  He’s been in a ton of good movies and he’s given some truly iconic performances and yet, with all that in mind, he still seems to be strangely underrated.  At the very least, he deserved an Oscar nomination for his performance in last year’s The Hero.   There’s some speculation that he might get one this year for his role in A Star is Born.

With all that said, most people seem to know Sam Elliott best for playing The Stranger in 1998’s The Big Lebowski.  So, with that in mind, here’s a scene I love featuring Sam Elliott from that very film!

Sam Elliott abides.

Music Video of the Day: Sacred Emotion by Donny Osmond (1989, directed by Michael Bay)

I don’t know what amuses me more about this video, the fact that it suggests Donny Osmond can bring rain to the desert or that it was directed by the master of bombast, Michael Bay?

This song was the second single to be released off of Osmond’s 1989 album, Donny Osmond, and it was a part of an attempt to rebrand Osmond as a contemporary rocker.  Despite the popularity of both this song and Soldier of Love, that attempt failed because once an Osmond, always an Osmond.

The video is pure Michael Bay.  Donny, several hot women, and a group of construction workers drive out to the middle of the desert.  While Donny looks over blue prints and gives orders, the models and the day laborers start carrying boards and hammering nails.  Are they building a house or a temple?  No, it turns out that they’re building a stage so that Donny can perform in front of an audience that spontaneously shows up.  Donny does such a good job performing that it starts to rain and the video goes from being in black and white to being in color.  Bay directs with the same style that he would later bring to Armageddon and the Transformers franchise, except that instead of meteors and robots, he’s showcasing Donny Osmond.

It would be easy to mistake this video for being the most wholesome beer commercial ever made.